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The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mario on PC

The short answer is – yes, it is absolutely possible to play Mario games on your PC! As a tech geek and avid gamer myself, I‘ve explored various methods for enjoying Super Mario adventures on computer over the years. In this ultimate 2300+ word guide, I‘ll share all my tips and tricks to help fellow Mario fans play their favorite Nintendo titles on PC.

Why Play Mario on PC?

Here are some great reasons to play Mario games on your Windows or Mac computer:

  • Relive childhood nostalgia by replaying classic Mario titles from NES, SNES, N64 eras and more
  • Experience enhanced graphics, frame rates and controls for certain games through emulation
  • Play newer Mario games like Odyssey and 3D World not available on PC otherwise
  • Use your preferred PC gaming controller instead of Nintendo controllers
  • Take advantage of save states, cheats, mods and other benefits of emulators

With the flexibility and power of modern PCs, we can enjoy Mario‘s platforming adventures in better ways than ever before.

Methods for Playing Mario Games on PC

Based on my personal experience getting my Mario fix on computer, here are the main methods I recommend:

Emulation

Your best option is to use a Nintendo console emulator. These emulate hardware like NES, SNES, N64 or GameCube to play ROM files on PC. Some top emulators include:

  • Dolphin – Fantastic GameCube and Wii emulator. Play titles like Mario Sunshine, Galaxy series, and more.
  • Project64 – Great for playing N64 classics like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, etc.
  • SNES9X – Emulates SNES flawlessly. Enjoy Super Mario World, Yoshi‘s Island and more.
  • Nestopia – Leading NES emulator. Play original Super Mario Bros series, Donkey Kong and other classics.

I personally use Dolphin and Project64 the most. With my Intel i5 PC, I can upscale games to 1080p HD, enable graphical enhancements, and play at smooth 60 FPS for an incredible modern experience.

Setting Up Emulator Controls

For controls, I recommend mapping keyboard or using a quality USB gamepad for the best experience. Some emulators even let you connect original Nintendo controllers via adapter. An Xbox, PS or Pro controller will give you tight, responsive controls similar to playing on original hardware.

Finding and Loading ROMs

ROMs are software files containing game data ripped from cartridges or discs. You‘ll need to provide your own – I recommend dumping your own collection for legal compliance. Otherwise, sites like Vimm‘s Lair offer legal homebrew/free game ROMs to download.

Once downloaded, simply load the ROM file in your emulator like you would a game disk or cartridge. Enjoy!

Official Mario Mobile Apps

Nintendo has released official Mario apps for Android/iOS including:

  • Super Mario Run – Auto-runner game with simplified one touch controls.
  • Mario Kart Tour – Fun racing game featuring tours through Mario worlds.
  • Dr. Mario World – Match-3 puzzler with Dr. Mario curing viruses.

You can easily play these on PC using emulators like BlueStacks or NoxPlayer. They allow installing Android apps on Windows and Mac. The touchscreen controls don‘t translate perfectly to keyboard and mouse, but still capture that Mario magic.

Nintendo Switch Streaming

Don‘t have a Switch but want to play recent exclusives like Mario Odyssey and 3D World? Consider streaming Switch gameplay to your computer. You‘ll need:

  • Nintendo Switch console
  • Capture card like Elgato HD60 S+
  • HDMI cable

Simply connect your Switch to the capture card, which then connects to your PC. This streams real-time Switch video to enjoy games on your desktop or laptop! There is some lag, but this works surprisingly well. I use an HD60 S+ to stream Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey from Switch to my PC monitor.

Fan-Made Mario Games

The Mario fan community has created some amazing fan games over the years. These standalone titles can be easily downloaded and played on PC, my top picks include:

  • Super Mario Bros X – Expansive game blending levels from many Mario games into one.
  • Super Mario 63 – Impressive free-roaming Mario platformer with loads of powerups.
  • Mario Forever – Clone of the original Mario Bros arcade with custom modes.

These fan games stay true to Mario‘s quintessential platforming gameplay while adding new elements. Well worth giving a try for free on PC!

Enhanced Mario Ports Worth Checking Out

While rare, dedicated fans have modded and ported some Mario games to PC with impressive upgrades:

  • Super Mario 64 PC Port – Fan decompilation of SM64 adds widescreen support, 60fps, enhanced graphics and more.
  • Enhanced Mario All-Stars – SNES classic remastered in HD on PC via fan port.

These unauthorized ports leverage PC power for smoother framerates and modern visuals. While legally dubious, they demonstrate the possibilities of Mario gaming on computer.

Is Emulating Mario Legal?

Let‘s quickly clarify the legality of the various options:

Method Legality
Open-source emulators Legal
ROMs from your own cartridges Legal
Download commercial ROMs Illegal
Nintendo mobile apps Legal
Streaming own Switch console Legal
Fan games Legal

As long as you avoid piracy, emulating Mario on PC aligns with legal fair use rights in most regions. Stick to legal options and Mario fans can enjoy PC plumbing adventures guilt-free!

Wrap Up

Well friend, that covers my top tips for unlocking the magic of Mario on personal computer. Whether your goal is reliving childhood memories in HD, trying mobile spin-offs, or streaming Switch exclusives, there are great options available. With the right emulator or tools, PCs can become the ultimate hub for Mario gaming. Hope you enjoyed this guide – now get out there and enjoy your favorite Nintendo mascot on computer!