You may remember me as one of the people who worked on translating VIP 4 recently, and long story short since then I've been working with Super Maks 64 and Ryrir on fixing and translating some more older hacks, which we'd like to present here.
Spoiler tags applied so that this post isn't absolutely huge to scroll through.
While impressive and groundbreaking hacks such as the early installments of the "VIP" series, the "Kaizo" hacks or the infamous "Brutal Mario" have been played and greatly enjoyed,
there are a couple of factors that we feel are causing them to be somewhat disregarded in recent times.
First of all is of course the language barrier itself. There have been occasional translations made for hacks, usually in the form of text documents, though occasionally integrated into the hack itself. Keeping a text file on hand while playing is a bit cumbersome, and I can imagine that they fall off many people's radar for that reason. Of course the gameplay can sometimes be sussed out even without being able to read what's onscreen, but there's plenty of occasions where hints that are presented plain-as-day might be missed.
Another factor that's probably very relevant now, and which is by no means limited to Japanese hacks, is that the majority of hacks made in the period of about 2008 to 2013 made use of tools for inserting custom content that were developed based on the inaccurate emulation of older emulators. There's a range of things that cause these hacks to break when played on anything more modern, the most common one being AddMusic tools made back in the day causing the sound to cut-out and the hack to lock up as a result of uploading music into a region reserved for echo data. These tools were fair for the time when ZSNES and SNESGT were the standard for playing SNES ROMs, but the fact that most people who have moved on to emulators with better functions and fidelity are unwilling to use these emulators now adds another barrier to playing these older hacks. Not to put ZSNES down, but I can't say I blame them.
Still, this is very regrettable, as we believe that there are some brilliant examples of SMW hacking history that are getting overlooked these days due to these two factors.
Basically, we're taking some of these older hacks and doing two things to them:
Firstly, we're fixing each hack so that they'll work on most modern emulators and even the original SNES console.
To this end we have prioritized the preservation of the way the original hack works internally. One way that hacks with broken music have been getting fixed recently is by gathering the original assets from various places on the net, and reuploading them into the hack with modern tools. However, finding the assets is not always easy or even possible, and it introduces some chance for inaccuracy, so Super Maks 64 came up with another method a couple of months ago, based on editing the data that was already in the ROM to work in such a way as to not crash the system. This method was first applied to VIP 4 for the sake of raocow's recent LP of it. Both during and after the work on VIP 4's fix and translation, we've also been doing a bunch of research into other aspects that cause emulation-based problems, and developed some methods for patching these up at a very low ASM level to make these hacks work properly even on a modern emulator. On top of that, I've been writing up some software to automate the grunt work of Maks' method. The result is that we can now start offering fixed hacks that should on modern emulators function 'almost' identically to their unfixed counterparts running on ZSNES (minus ZSNES' sub-par audio quality), and in some areas the music might incidentally even be a bit less glitchy than it used to be. I say 'almost' because of some minor caveats that will be fully explained in the readme of any hack where they're relevant.
Secondly, we have translated any Japanese hack shown here into English, (mostly) seamlessly integrated into the hack itself.
The more memey games like the VIPs also contain optional notes explaining some of the cultural references within.
You won't have to wonder anymore whether the solution to some of those completely obtuse puzzles are outright told to you by the game itself!
(Disclaimer: we're not responsible for any games that just flat-out refuse to give hints regardless.)
On top of that, most of the downloads below will also contain a couple of ASM patches you might be interested in applying to your rom.
Some of these are extras such as lag-reducing FastROM or the aforementioned translation notes, others have to do with some more ambiguous compatibility fixes which we would prefer to leave to the player's discretion.
In the interest of preserving the authenticity we've made all of these optional, but don't worry: we've set it up so applying the patches is a very simple and short process that requires no knowledge of ASM coding, and it shouldn't get messed up if you just follow a couple of basic instructions.
You will find more information about these patches as well as a step-by-step explanation on how to apply them to your game in the specific readme file of the hack.
And of course, even if you don't bother with the ASM patches the ROMs will still work fine.
Note however that despite the inclusion of these patches we are NOT primarily concerned with making any hack's game design 'better' or otherwise fixing bugs that would've been present when playing the original hack on ZSNES.
We simply thought a lot of people might enjoy or appreciate some of the extras that they provide, because I certainly did at least.
The contents of the ASM patches are basically up to our whims, so we're not really open to suggestions. If you want to write your own and share them, we're not stopping you of course!
Oh, and in case you didn't know, BPS patches can be applied using a program called FLIPS, found here:
https://www.smwcentral.net/?p=section&a ... s&id=11474
All BPS patches will need to be applied to a headered ROM of the USA version of Super Mario World.
I'm sure you know the deal: we can't and won't provide you with the SMW ROM itself, nor with any places to download it and all that jazz.
We would like to thank all original authors of the various ASM patches we applied and included in our works. Specific credits are included in the ZIPs.
Thanks go to the original authors; this is meant as a tribute, and we hope their works can live on this way.
Now without further ado, onto the hacks!
We would like to thank Horikawa for her efforts back then, but to say the least both she herself and I are of the opinion that her older translations have not aged well, and that these entries in the series are deserving of a complete localization revamp. Although Ryrir and I started and largely finished work on redoing the VIP 2 translation on our own before we got into contact with her, she's been aware of our project for a while now and been very supportive of it. We'd like to thank her for that as well, and we hope that the stuff we'll be putting up will be a suitable replacement.
As for why we decided to start with VIP 2...
...look, don't worry about it.
Vip & Wall Mix 1
Let's be honest: When going back to hacks created in the early 2000s, very rarely will you find one that still holds up to this day. Most of them seem very, very dated by today's standards, as they appear to be based on the assumption that the player is going to use savestates, featuring antiquated level design tropes such as item babysitting or enemy spam. While I'm certainly not saying that VIP 1 is free of these issues, I will go out and say that they're less appalling here, as flawed levels and ideas are placed right next to ones that are interesting and exciting to play, even today. Even independent of the fact that this hack is an important piece of SMW hacking history, I say that if you are going to play a hack from this era, you might want to make it this one.
This Eye o' Mine:
Of all the VIP games this one probably has the fewest memes in it, which made translation quite a bit easier than the other entries I've worked on so far, though there was still some wordplay to deal with. Something to keep in mind is that this one was originally developed without all of the ASCII art sprite swaps, and the version with them was added later on. Just in general levels in the VIP series tend to go back and forth on whether they're taking the vanilla (Mario) graphics or the ASCII (Boon) graphics to be 'canon', but the levels in this entry make practically zero assumptions about the player character being Boon, and any time the text refers to the PC as 'Boon' it was made that way by us for the sake of consistency and avoiding confusion (it's not like there's any plot points that hinge on this issue anyway). Still, all of this is something to keep in mind when a joke in the hack seems confusing, specifically the moment where
Boon actually makes an appearance in the hack as a seperate character from the protagonist (Boon's Trick House).
Anyway, this hack has nothing wrong with it technically as far as we know. This is basically just a version that was retranslated and is known to be compatible with the ASM patches we provide.
The second installment of the VIP series, and the first to include custom sprites! This hack mostly expands upon the foundation laid by the first one: Innovative level design ideas, never-seen before exploitations of the SMW engine as well as diving deeper into various 2chan memes and injokes truly make this hack a milestone for all further works of the series.
While the custom sprites do mix things up nicely, this hack is widely regarded as one of the hardest of the bunch. Be sure to bring a good deal of patience and resilience with you while you set out to find just who might be behind the mysterious Shrinking-Jello...
This Eye o' Mine:
This hack was still largely vanilla, so there weren't many things to fix in terms of emulator compatibility. I don't think the original hack has any major problems running on newer emulators, but I did find a couple of things in the custom sprite code that didn't take real hardware behavior into account, so I went ahead and fixed those. For all we know that code's never actually run in-game, or perhaps the error wouldn't have any noticable effect, but better safe than sorry!
The third installment of the VIP saga, widely regarded as somewhat of a turning point for the series. The hack has noticeably more custom elements than its predecessors, including one of the first ever instances of custom music in any SMW romhack! On the level design front, things have been moving as well: A lot of levels on the main path through the game are shorter and easier compared to VIP 1 and 2, even though you'll encounter difficult and somewhat unreasonable levels on some of the sidepaths and especially the endgame as well. Make sure to check out the patch folder for this one, as some game-crashing bugs were ironed out!
This Eye o' Mine:
The system used to insert custom music into this hack was very simple, which ironically made it one of the more involved ones to fix. As a result this hack required a bit more ASM trickery than usual to make it work, but I think the result should work pretty well. Although we've tested it thoroughly to make sure it works, please let us know if anything goes wrong anyway. Like Ryrir said, there's a couple of optional crash fixes (they were present on ZSNES as well), as well as a patch to make a certain infamously broken level work the way the author (likely) intended when designing it, so you can beat it without cheesing it. If you're interested, the details are in the zip file.
Note: The fixes for this aren't technically finished yet, but there's an incomplete version (0.99) up in raocow's LP thread for it here. It'll work, though it still has some bugs/inaccuracies due to the shortcuts taken to get it out on time, so please hold on a bit longer while those are sorted out.
It's everything the former hacks in the series did, but cranked up to eleven! More ASM gimmicks, more custom music, more awesomness! Catching your breath is hard while playing this one, as the game gets more and more demanding as it goes on.
Considered by many to be one of the best of the series, VIP 4 combines puzzly aspects with traditional platforming challenges, as well as innovative ideas and trusty 2chan humor to create a truly memorable experience.
This Eye o' Mine:
Thanks go to lion for doing a translation of this before I came along and (hopefully) improved upon it with Ryrir's help.
A little known hack created by the solo author Mizuno in 2012. While the game is easy-going early on, it cranks up the difficutly bit by bit as it goes on, without ever posing an overly difficult challenge. Standout features include an interesting overworld map that lets you choose your own path, as well as a vast assortment of custom bosses. This hack might be a nice challenge for people who find the more well-known hacks a bit too difficult for their taste.
This Eye o' Mine:
I started work on translating this way back when I first joined the talkhaus, because it was on raocow's coming-up LP list. Didn't really imagine at the time that I'd get this involved in fixing it up as well though.
Also, thanks go to vgperson for doing a translation of the WIP version that raocow played back in 2012. Not that I based my work on it (since I initially didn't even remember that it existed), but getting translations out like that in time for the LPs back then is always admirable, so I thought it was worth an acknowledgement.
Also thanks to Xeno DX for doing some additional testing.
Translation nearing completion.
This Eye o' Mine:
This is a little hack that I fixed up for Pholtos, who was going to LP it. It was suffering from crashes in some levels due to the use of Romi's AddMusic. Overall, the hack works fine otherwise, so no optional ASM patches for this one. Just apply the BPS and it's ready to go.
If I had to give my opinion on it, it's a somewhat difficult but quite enjoyable hack if you like that sort of thing. As long as you don't try to beat a certain optional section legit that is. The biggest sticking point of this hack for most people is going to be its lack of checkpoints combined with somewhat long levels.
This Eye o' Mine:
Another hack I fixed up for Pholtos. It's a one level hack with a Zelda and Christmas theme. This one was broken, but overall not suffering any technical problems besides that.