HD Mode 7 Emulation Mod Brings Smooth New Life to Jagged SNES Graphics

HD Mode 7 Emulation Mod Brings Smooth New Life to Jagged SNES Graphics

Mode 7 graphics and steak knives no longer occupy the same branch on their family tree.

The SNES' "Mode 7" graphics inspire nostalgic feelings, but we're darned if those jagged edges aren't serrated enough to cut your finger on. That's why one resourceful programmer developed an "HD Mode 7 mod" that smooths out those nasty jaggies. The result is seriously impressive.

The mod is engineered by "DerKoun," who posted it yesterday on the Emulation subreddit. It's still in beta, so expect bugs. It works with bsnes, a "clean code" SNES emulator by "Byuu."

You can take a look at an Imgur gallery that compares standard Mode 7 screenshots with the "HD" Mode 7 screenshots. The difference is impressive, especially with Super Mario Kart, Pilot Wings, and F-Zero. Fans of the SNES' classic JRPG library will also appreciate the mod's effect on the chunky overworld maps belonging to Final Fantasy 6 and Terranigma.

Named for the SNES' seventh background layer which is capable of being scaled and rotated, Mode 7 graphics are unique to the SNES. The mode can be used to create a "faux 3D" effect that propelled the popularity of games like Super Mario Kart into the stratosphere.

Mode 7 wizardry isn't restricted to 3D trickery, though. Super Castlevania 4 uses Mode 7 to implement backgrounds that spin, including an entire room that rotates on a single pixel and forces Simon Belmont to hang on for dear life lest he be skewered as a spiked wall becomes a spiked floor. You also see massive, swinging chandeliers and towering bosses that come to life thanks to the SNES's seventh background layer.

Mode 7's effects still look cool, and it's good to see a mod that takes Nintendo's graphics option one step further.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

Read this next

Captain Falcon was Originally the SNES' Mascot and Other Super Nintendo Facts You Didn't Know

Interviews with key Nintendo staff unearths a treasure trove of rare game trivia.

Super NES Retro Review: Super Mario Kart

Join us as we review every Super NES Classic game. Next up: "Super Mario Kart funny car madness!!"

What Do You Drift For?: Meeting the Fastest Mario Kart Racers in the World

All across the decades Mario Kart, there are dedicated players racing to be the fastest they can be.

This Week's USgamer Stream Schedule: Racing Down Old-School Lane

It's a smorgasbord of classics this week! And we're not even really sure what "smorgasbord" actually means.

Video Highlight: Mario Kart 8 Goes Retro

We put together a side-by-side comparison of Mario Kart 8 and a recent retro demake. Check it out!

Starting Screen: Google Stadia is Gaming for No One

Google's first foray into the console space manages to alienate both causal and hardcore gamers alike.

More News

Street Fighter 5 is Getting a Champion Edition With Every Fighter So Far

Also, Gill is back, both buff and almost in the buff.

Guilty Gear 2020 Has a Name and a Release Window

It will Strive onto the scene later next year.

More on SNES

Bart Simpson and Godzilla Were Almost in NBA Jam

Or at least, toy-like facsimiles.

A Thank You From USgamer For Extra Life 2019

We beat our goal, and it's thanks to all of you.

Starting Screen | Three Classic Letters That Show How Much Easier It Is to Be a Video Game Fan in 2019

The gaming community knew nothing in the '90s, and frankly, neither did a lot of publishers.

The Blood God Recommends: Dragon Quest 3 for the Switch

A 30-year-old RPG that's aged to near-perfection.

Zelda A Link to the Past: How to Get the Book of Mudora

You’ll need the Book of Mudora to get into the Desert Palace. Here’s where to find it.

Street Fighter 2's Creator on Why Blocking Was Once a Controversial Issue

A creator and a pro sit down to talk blocking in fighting games.

More Driving Games

How to Unlock and Beat High Heat Races in Need for Speed Heat

High Heat Races offer big challenges and some of the best rewards in the game.

How to Farm Rep in Need for Speed Heat

Here’s how to make reputation quickly and easily.

Need for Speed Heat Complete Car List

Here’s every single car available in NFS: Heat.