Hacksterpiece Theatre: The Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz, Part 1 (Mario Seasons)

June 6th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

VC&G's Hacksterpiece Theatre[ Hacksterpiece Theatre is a regular column devoted to fun, odd, and interesting retro game hacks. ]

Hello, friends. Welcome to my new regular column on VC&G, Hacksterpiece Theatre, where I hope to profile for you the best, worst, and most interesting retro game hacks in existence.

Mario SeasonsBack in March on Vintage Computing and Gaming, I profiled what I called “The Best NES Game Hack of All Time,” Mario Adventure. Shortly after the hack exploded across the Net, I tracked down the author of that masterful piece of SMB3 modification and conducted an interview with him. He goes by the name “DahrkDaiz” in the online retro hacking community, and it is my belief that he is likely the most talented NES game hacker out there today. After many conversations with him about hacking, he agreed to send me some of his earlier NES game hacks that have been relatively “lost” as of late. And by lost, I mean that they were once available for download on his site, but have not been for quite some time. In this inaugural column of HT, and the first in a series of “Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz,” I’ll be profiling one of his earliest hacks, Mario Seasons.

Mario SeasonsMario Seasons is a colorful, impressive overhaul of the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Notable changes to Super Mario Bros. in this hack include a new power-up, new levels, a new enemy (“Dry Bones” from SMB3, which even comes back to life when you stomp him), completely new graphics (most of which were taken from Super Mario Bros. 3), “slightly different physics” (according to DahrkDaiz), and the ability to save your stage progress between games. DahrkDaiz did such a good job with the graphics and animations that it’s often hard to remember that you’re not playing a Super Mario Bros. 3-based hack (Try to remember that you can’t pick up a stomped Koopa in this game like in SMB3!).

Mario SeasonsThe single coolest thing (pun intended) about Mario Seasons is the new “Ice Flower” power-up. The new ability is similar to the regular “Fire Flower,” but when collected, Mario turns a chilly blue and white and shoots painful-looking ice stars out straight ahead of him. Another good thing about the Ice Flower in this hack is that it doesn’t replace the Fire Flower power up. In fact, if you are “Ice Mario” and you get hit, you merely get knocked down to “Fire Mario” status. The innovative Ice Flower’s appearance in Mario Seasons serves as an accurate foreshadow to DahrkDaiz’s future ingenious power-up creations in his later release, Mario Adventure, and in the upcoming Mario Adventure 2.

Mario SeasonsMario Seasons is a lot of fun, but sadly, it’s incomplete. Somewhere during the process of making the hack, DahrkDaiz decided to move on to more ambitious projects (like the masterful Mario Adventure). But what we have left is an interesting start to what could have been a stellar SMB1 hack if completed. The game has at least four complete, new stages — DahrkDaiz tells me he completed seven stages, but the game always crashes for me in FCEU on the fifth board (which is 2-2). You’ll have to see if you can get farther than 2-2 in your emulator of choice (Update: DahrkDaiz sent me a new version of the game that fixes the 2-2 crash bug and lets you play all the way into world 3-2 — that’s eight new stages). Interestingly, the first world ends at stage 1-3, but world two has four stages as usual.

Let me Play it Already!

Mario SeasonsYou can download Mario Seasons here, no patching necessary. Remember that this hack is an incomplete work and that it crashes (for me) in the FCE Ultra emulator on stage 2-2. (Update: DahrkDaiz sent me a new version of the game that fixes the 2-2 crash bug and lets you play all the way into world 3-2).

Overall, Mario Seasons is far from the best NES or even SMB1 hack out there, but it served as a promising and worthy start for our rising NES hacker. Stay tuned for the next episode of Hacksterpiece Theatre to see what hacks DahrkDaiz cooked up next! And fear not — after I’m done profiling DahrkDaiz’s early years, I’ll be moving on to other hacks by different authors for different systems.

Have any cool, funny, or weird retro game hacks that you’d like to share? Send ’em along!

19 Responses to “Hacksterpiece Theatre: The Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz, Part 1 (Mario Seasons)”

  1. DahrkDaiz Says:

    I would just like to point out that my original intentions were to have each world go up to 1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, etc. If I can figure out the 2-2 bug, I will send Redwolf an update so that you can play through to world 3-1.

  2. Jakanden Says:

    Excellent new column RW and I look forward to more entries!

  3. RedWolf Says:

    Thank you, my friend. I actually look forward to more entries as well!

  4. RedWolf Says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I put up the fixed version of Mario Seasons that lets you play past world 2-2 (same download link as before). If you don’t play past world 2-2, you’re actually missing quite a lot! My favorite stages in the hack are 2-3 and 3-1. Check it out.

  5. Bjorn Nitmo Says:

    What are you guys using to play this game? I’m on a Mac running the latest version of OS X and I tried to run the game with both NEStopia and RockNES, neither of which worked properly (the video was all messed up). I really loved Mario Adventure so I’m eager to try Mario Seasons. Suggestions?

  6. RedWolf Says:


    Sorry about that — I haven’t used a NES emulator on Mac OS X recently (was never too fond of their performance), so I can’t help you there. Maybe someone else can. I personally use FCE Ultra on my Windows machine. Good luck.

  7. Jakanden Says:

    I myself am using a PSP so I am unable to help either =(

    Now that you have uploaded the fixed version I must say this hack is awesome.

  8. Bjorn Nitmo Says:

    I have an older, unused PC notebook running Windows around here somewhere so I’m going to dig it out and try the game with FCE Ultra. I would love to figure out why it doesn’t work with the Mac emulators though. Very strange because they work with every other game I’ve tried.

  9. RedWolf Says:

    Bjorn, I’m not sure, but maybe Dahrkdaiz is reading this and can provide an answer.

    Hehe.. I was just playing this again and on 2-3 I accidentally jumped over the flagpole. You know what happens when that happens. Running until the time runs out. 🙂

  10. DahrkDaiz Says:

    The main reason Mario Seasons wouldn’t work with most emulators is cuz it uses a mapper that a lot of emulators might not support all the way, or I may have implemented it improperly, one of the two.

  11. mehman Says:

    I played mario adventure and liked it, but this one does not work on nester, so I cant play it until I get a different emulator.

  12. Dan Edwards Says:

    Wow. I have felt that ever since playing Mario Adventure, Dahrk Daiz is one of the best rom mod creators around. And after spending much time looking, I still feel that is true. I can’t wait to see more of the upcomming articles and see upcomming work by Dahrk Daiz. Anyways, good article, and good day!

  13. JOE Says:

    im using nester and it says when i try to open Mario seasons thats mario seasons is an unsopported mapper. wat should i do? and if i need a different emulator can u tell me which one to get plz? Ty.

  14. Jimtoxicated Says:

    I had the same problem, Joe. I simply downloaded FCEU and all issues were solved.

  15. JV Says:

    SMB3 Bowser got a buzzcut. Nice job on that. I’m ROFLOL’d & impressed all at once^^

    ROCK THE 8-BIT!!!^^

  16. olivora Says:

    I’m using FCEU and i have two problems
    1st: the starting screen is really glitched up and

  17. dudekindjack Says:

    i fixed the rom to work with most emulators (still not working on nestopia) its a problem with a graphic. fixed with yy~chr. im using mapper 10

  18. farva Says:

    I’ve found that this rom doesn’t work properly (screen doesn’t scroll properly) on FCEUX 2.2.1 or above; older versions seem to work well enough (corrupted title screen but game still works)

  19. joe Says:

    Is there any way to fix this game to work with nestopia? what are the graphics doing to mess it up?

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