Let's not get into a discussion about framerate caps on consoles and just enjoy this awesome achievement from the folks behind the GameCube emulator Dolphin. Using a couple of neat hacks, the Dolphin team has managed to get Super Mario Sunshine and a few other games running at 60 frames per second on the emulator and boy, does it look damn smooth.
Dolphin's JMC47 posted about the hack yesterday on the emulator's website and provided a video showing off Sunshine's unlocked, super-buttery gameplay.
For the more technically-minded, or just those interested in what's happening behind the scenes, JMC47 explains the details:
Super Mario Sunshine's current 60 FPS hack comprises of three (and an optional fourth) part. Firstly, the vbeam speedhack has to be turned on in order to modify the timings of the emulator. It's possible that simply flipping Dolphin's framelimit to run at 120 FPS would be fine, but the emulator stretches audio at non-standard framerates, blocking this possiblity for now.
Secondly, a small game patch is applied. This actually makes the gameplay run half speed at 30 FPS. Thirdly, Dolphin's audio timings are modified to run at half speed; so the game also sounds normal at double speed. Lastly, on some versions of the hack, the level select cheat is required to get into certain stages.
Sunshine isn't the only GameCube game where this hack (or at least, the idea behind it) allowed for faster framerates. Both Pikmin and Pikmin 2, along with Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, were valid candidates, with Pikmin 2 at 60fps shown below:
It's like some sort of retro-Nintendo Christmas. Except it's February.