Despite the existence of functioning N64-to-PC ports with ray tracing, the ambition of homebrew software developers to target original hardware remains resolute, even 28 years after the release of Nintendo 64. From devs like Kaze Emanuar, pushing Super Mario 64 ROM hacks with ambitious 60 FPS engine rewrites, to the Smash Remix team expanding the first Smash Bros title into a glorious 30-character FFA, there's no shortage of new games to run on real hardware in 2024.
It turns out Nintendo's first 3D console is something of a sleeping giant, since it was the most powerful console of its age (graphics, storage speed) but plagued by limited cartridge capacity compared to CD-based consoles of the same era. Meanwhile, Sony PlayStation games could be played across multiple CDs, which ultimately led to the most ambitious multi-disc titles being limited to PS1 and PC despite less refined 3D graphics on Sony's hardware.
Below, we've embedded a recent video from Kaze Emanuaur detailing key N64 texture limitations, and how working with them properly can net dramatically higher performance. Evidently, lots of performance was left on the table with Mario 64 at launch, but of course it was a launch title. Later N64 games like Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and Majora's Mask make better use of the hardware, but ultimately can't come close to decades of mod development.