Super Better World 2

So, after starting a sequel in 2015 to a Super Mario World ROM hack I made when I was just a preteen, it has finally been finished two years later.

Some familiar faces in this level from Super Better World 2.

I have spent a hell of a lot more time on this than I ever would have wanted to, but it is finished now, so I can finally reap the rewards of releasing it and moving on. Let me provide some context of how this all came to be…

When I first discovered Super Mario World hacking, probably at around age 11 give-or-take, I was absolutely blown away by it. Lunar Magic was (and is) a fantastic editor. Very user friendly and expansive, even for someone as young as I was at the time. I dabbled around in it for a while, and I created a lot of poorly-made and barely-complete hacks. They were bad, obviously, but it was an absolute blast to create something like it. At the end of this initial stint with Super Mario World ROM hacking, I made my most well thought out game to that point: Super Better World. The name refers to how it was “better” than other ROM hacks I released around that point, specifically one that I gave to a Let’s Player who tore the game a new one. I wanted to make something more complete, fun, and not too difficult. Compared to my other works at the time, I feel I accomplished that. However, it was still quite a bad game when looked at from an objective viewpoint. But hey, it was a lot of fun to make, and I was proud of it at the time. Can’t be upset with that.

The original Super Better World. Looks harmless in screenshot form, eh?

Another reason for the creation of Super Better World was a friend of mine. He had a PSP that he would run emulators on, and he was able to play Super Mario World ROM hacks on it. So, when I made the hack, I created it with the intent of him being able to play it on his PSP for his entertainment.

Fast forward to 2015. Super Mario Maker is coming out, and I am with that same friend who I made the original hack for. I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if I made a sequel to that old ROM hack I made all those years ago?” Then, Mario Maker comes out, but it encourages (and only supports) single level experiences. I was hoping it would let you stitch together  multiple levels into a world, but that was never the case. Then, a grand idea popped into my head: make a full-fledged sequel hack using Lunar Magic. It is something I kinda regret now, to be honest. I started it not too long after, and I spent two years on-and-off in my free time making it. There was a lot of work involved for such a rudimentary hack, and I can’t help but want that time back for use on a project more practical, more worth my time. There are so many more impressive SMW hacks out there, so who cares if I made some maybe average hack? I started realizing that the further I got into the project, the more time I sunk into it. But now, it is all over, and the best I can do is hope that I can enjoy watching friends play it.

Title screen for Super Better World 2. Look at all of those fancy graphics I didn’t make!

Since this project was originally made for the same friend mentioned previously, I wanted to tailor it to his experiences. I included a lot of music from other games he has played (Pokémon, Super Mario Land), and tried to make the game reasonable enough for anyone good at Super Mario World to be able to complete with enough practice. Also, because I wanted this to feel special, I wanted to put the hack on a physical cartridge for play on an actual Super Nintendo. Fortunately, I was able to realize this goal.

Physical cartridges for Super Better World 2 that I commissioned. My friend took the golden one on the left, and I kept the silver one.

So, with all that said, I want to mention a personal note. I have started becoming more distant the past few years with the friend I have been mentioning. I thought that creating this ROM hack would be a fun way to rekindle some of that great chemistry we used to have years ago, but it just hasn’t been the same with him. He is at this point in his life where all he does is watch Twitch streams of DOTA and sleep. As far as I’m aware, he struggles with depression and motivational issues, and can’t keep a job (or hobby that isn’t DOTA, for that matter) for any extended period of time. His life kinda sucks, and I don’t know what his future is going to hold, but it probably isn’t going to be good. I still want to be his friend, support him, and all that good stuff, but I feel like now it is at this point where that is now next to impossible. A few days ago I got the physical cartridges for Super Better World 2 in the mail, and I ordered one for me and one for him. I went over to his house that day to surprise him with it, hoping we could enjoy it together. When I gave it to him, not much reaction. He thought it was kinda cool, but didn’t want to play it, and I went home. I know it may sound selfish, but it is emotionally draining to work on a ROM hack for two years and receive no more than a halfhearted “thanks” from a consistently emotionally devoid friend who I specifically made this for. But… whatever. At this point I’m just rambling about personal issues.

The download for Super Better World 2 is on the “Completed Works” section of this blog. I have included a lot of stuff in this package, including the original Super Better World, the label art for the physical release of Super Better World 2, and a modestly thorough readme.

Nothing feels better than running a hack you made on the physical hardware.

I really, really hope you can enjoy it (I need people to for me to feel this was worth it).

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About Tpcool

Gamer and modder.
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