PC-based emulation of video game consoles is a complicated practice with a long history. It serves many purposes, the most noble and important of which is to help preserve old games by removing our reliance on aging and temperamental physical media. Historically, though, it’s been hobbyists and not the game studios themselves who are at the forefront of emulation. And when the development of a complex computer program that plays Super NES games (for example) is just your unpaid side gig, it can be hard to dedicate the time required to keep a project alive and up to date.
That’s why Sergey Lipskiy, known as Gonetz in the emulation community, has started an Indiegogo campaign to help support him while he works full-time on a new piece Nintendo 64 emulation software. He’s building something called GLideN64, a graphics plug-in that will work in tandem with existing emulators to make N64 games look way better than they have any right to—smoother and crisper than they looked even on the original hardware. This is great news because Nintendo 64 emulation is not as simple as something like the NES, and some games have trouble running just right on today’s emulators.
Lipskiy is no novice. He previously developed Glide64, a precursor to this new project that became a standard graphics plugin in popular N64 emulators like Project64. And while Lipskiy doesn’t expect the new project to be ready for public release until next January (provided his campaign raises the $6,000 he’s looking for), the screenshots and video he’s provided are already stunning. Below, you’ll find some footage from various N64 games running on GLideN64.
There’s a good reason why Mario Tennis gets a lot of attention in this campaign. Not only is it one of the best Nintendo 64 games, but it has also proven difficult to emulate. It’s notorious for bizarre graphics glitches (seen in the video embedded below). Running on Lipskiy’s new plugin, though, the game looks amazing, with well-defined shadows and even some newly added touches like motion blur around the ball.
The GLideN64 campaign has 28 days of funding remaining, and as of this writing it has raised $705 of the $6,000 sought. There are more screenshots and explanations on the Indiegogo site, and Lipskiy is also writing a development blog that goes into extensive technical detail.