Towards A Cleaner Mario Kart

I have a long history with Mario Kart; after Super Mario World, it was the second computer game – on any platform – that I bought. A cutting edge title, it used the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 to scale and rotate 2D graphics to generate a sudo-3D play area. It was – to my pre-teen eyes – a visually stunning game combined with fantastic gameplay.

Returning to it years later I have to wonder what I was thinking. The game play remains fun – it’s fast and furious (though not as tricky as I remember) – but the landscape visuals rapidly descend into a flickering, distorted mess as soon as you try and play it.

Fortunately there is a solution: the latest version of BSNES contains a new scaling and rotation algorithm. Instead of performing the rotation with the original sprite (as performed on the original SNES), it upscales the image, rotates and then reduces it back to the original size – and looses far less detail in the process as it does so.

And the results look fantastic:

Pilotwings, a game I got towards the end of my SNES ownership and long after I had started sliding into the darkside that that was PC gaming, also benefits from the Mode 7 cleanup work. Just look at the quality of the airfield in this footage.

Now all I need to do is to find the time to go back and replay these games in their new 2019 glory!