2020 saw many gigabytes of internal Nintendo data leaked on the broader internet. Known as the “Gigaleak”, it contained source codes and assets from many games. Using data from this leak, a group of enthusiasts has put together high-quality renditions of the SNES Super Mario World Original Sound Tracks (OST).
The work was made possible when source code from the Gameboy Advance remake of Super Mario World was found in the leaked data. The source code included the names of the samples, which were the same as were used in the original SNES game. This allowed the team to find the original samples amongst the gigabytes of leaked files.
We wondered what would be done with all that code, speculating that it would be a poison pill for the emulator scene. This type of hack wasn’t even on our radar and we’re delighted to see the project come to light. The reproduced songs have an altogether different quality than the original SNES soundtrack. This is largely due to the samples not having to be compressed or cut down to fit on a cartridge and work with the console’s sound chip. Other variances in the sound also come from the fact that unlike in the game, the samples in these renditions don’t match the play lengths in the original game.
Regardless of the changes, it’s interesting to hear a more full, rounded sound of these classic video game tunes. It reminds us somewhat of the later CD console era, when sound designers were able to break free of the limitations of earlier hardware. Of course, we still bow at the alter of chiptune, though — and this MIDI Gameboy mod is a great place to start if you’re curious. Video after the break.