Super Mario Kart Hacker Restores Long-Lost Level Editor

Super Mario Kart Hacker Restores Long-Lost Level Editor
Screenshot: Nintendo / Moby Games

Last year’s massive Nintendo data breach, dubbed the “Gigaleak,” revealed a trove of Nintendo secrets including human characters in Animal Crossing, alternate versions of the fourth-gen Pokémon games, and an F-Zero character model that bore shocking resemblance to Beavis and Butthead’s Beavis. Nearly a year later, the leak is still bearing fruit. As VGC reports, one hacker used Gigaleak data to restore a long-lost level editor from Super Mario Kart.

Super Mario Kart, released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is the first game of the wildly popular Mario Kart series, kickstarting decades of drinking games for the dorm rooms of the world. The game did not launch with a level editor. But, buried in a leaked 1991 prototype of the game, a modder — who remains anonymous but goes by the screen name MrL314 — found code for one.

Super Mario Kart makes use of SFX-DOS, which is essentially Nintendo’s proprietary development state for the SNES. This allows, as VGC puts it, “developers to read and write data directly to the console and use PC peripherals such as a keyboard and external floppy disk.” Over the past several months, MrL314 has worked on cracking the code for the files, and plans on releasing it publicly over the next few weeks.

The discovered level editor allows you to place various objects, including walls, oil patches, and speed boost panels, on the levels of Super Mario Kart. According to MrL314, there are two other level editors, which allow the placement of “‘3D’ objects like Pipes, Monty Moles, [and] Cheep Cheep,” although it’s not yet clear if they’re to be included.

But there remain some limitations. “You can’t directly edit the track itself, since that would have been done in a tile editing program, and the objects you place down (in the later editors) can only be the objects that fit with the theme of the level,” MrL314 told VGC. That’s probably for the best. Otherwise, let’s be real, how long until players used the feature to draw a bunch of maps shaped like dicks?

For a more in-depth look, including all of the technical babble, read VGC’s interview here. Cool stuff.

Log in to comment on this story!