I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve played through Super Mario Bros, but never quite like this. I just became Mario himself; I hopped over Goombas, travelled down pipes, and grew bigger after eating mushrooms. No, I’m not on drugs; I just played 3DNes with my HTC Vive.
You’ve probably heard of 3DNes before. When it was released over a year ago now, it transformed many of the classic 2D games available on Nintendo’s beloved first home console into 3D experiences. Created by Vietnamese indie developer, Tran Vu Truc, the emulator is able to detect 2D images inside NES games and covert them into 3D objects. The pipes Mario descends into, for example, turn into circular objects, and you can see the fronts and back of a Goomba. For 3DNes’ latest release, 1.4, you can now see all of that inside a VR headset.
It’s a pretty cool feature; I was able to lean into Mario’s world as I ran along stage 1 – 1, though a fog of war kept me from looking further beyond the traditional limits of a TV screen. This wasn’t the nicest aspect of 3DNes’ VR support, though. That accolade belongs to the first-person view.
Yes, by clicking on Mario with Ctrl held down, I actually became the Italian plumber, and could make my way through the first level in first person. I used a gamepad and shot through the level at rapid pace (which is about as comfortable as it sounds). It’s not entirely optimised; pressing left and right would cause stomach-churning 180 degree camera turns and I’d miss messages like the game over sign, but it’s just as cool an experience as digging into DolphinVR. It should work with a lot of the Roms out there.
3DNes Pro’s VR support is limited to the $4.99 Pro version, but it’s a really cool feature to experiment with using your favorite NES roms. If you need me, I’ll be on Zebes hunting for Ridley.