Static Recompilation Brings New Life To N64 Games

Over the past few years a number of teams have been putting a lot of effort into taking beloved Nintendo 64 games, decompiling them, and lovingly crafting them into highly portable C code. This allows for these games to not only run natively on PCs, but also for improvements to be made to the rendering engine and other components.

Yet this artisan approach to porting these games means a massive time investment, something which static binary translation (static recompilation) may conceivably speed up. Enter the N64: Recompiled project, which provides a binary translation tool to ease the translation of the N64’s binaries into C code.

This is effectively quite similar to what an emulator does in real-time, just with the goal of creating a permanent copy of the translated instructions. After this static binary translation, the C code can be compiled again, but as noted by the project’s documentation, a suitable runtime is needed to get a functional game. An example of this is the Zelda 64: Recompiled project, which uses the N64: Recompiled project at its core, while providing the necessary scaffolding and wrappers to create a working copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask as output.

In the video below, [Modern Vintage Gamer] takes the software for a test drive and comes away very excited about the potential it has to completely change the state of N64 emulation. To be clear, this isn’t a one-button-press solution — it still requires capable developers to roll up their sleeves and get the plumbing in. It’s going to take some time before you favorite game is supported, but the idea of breathing new life into some of the best games from the 1990s and early 2000s certainly has us eager to see where this technology goes

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