Get ready to not jump on Goombas! Under a cloudless sky! Because there is no sky! Because there isn’t anything! Enjoy your time off!
Super Mario Nothing is kind of a ROM hack of Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Except the hack is to delete everything while making sure the game still runs. There are two versions available. The (D) version (for Deleted) is a Super Mario Bros. ROM where all the data has been removed. The (Z) version (for Zeroed) is a Super Mario Bros. ROM where all the data has been zeroed out. Why? Because I needed an easy project, give me a break. Also I think it’s a way to think about destruction as creation, the copyright status of erased data, the relationships between process and outcome, and stuff like that.
I started making Super Mario Nothing because I was feeling depressed about the state of my own practice of making games regularly. Although I’d been making a couple of secret things for Google, I felt that I wasn’t really getting at that need to just make small stuff and put it in the world. For some reason this led me to think about the minimal game I could make, which was nothing. I’ve pursued a version of this idea in The Nothings Suite but I wanted to be even more ridiculous and simplistic. That’s when I thought about just deleting an existing game instead of making my own.
At that point, it seemed obvious to choose something iconic, and hence Super Mario Bros., a common target of ROM hacks, and famously the target of Cory Archangel’s Super Mario Clouds, another act of deletion-as-creation (maybe). Thus, the project became to figure out how to delete Super Mario Bros. while leaving it still running, and the project ran on from there. The full story is in the process documentation.
Super Mario Nothing was created using VS Code to edit the hex code in a ROM of Super Mario Bros.. I referred to the NesDev.org wiki for an explanation of the header information in NES ROMs.
Would I like to make an actual cartridge version of this game? Yes I would.