Mario Builder 64 Setup Guide

Mario Builder 64 is a Nintendo 64 ROMhack of Super Mario 64 made by Rovertronic and Arthurtilly. It allows you to build your own Super Mario 64 stages inside the ROM, but it requires an emulator or original hardware to be played on. Additionally the .z64 ROM file itself can not be legally distributed, so the BPS file for the hack needs to be patched with the original game first to create the Mario Builder 64 ROM.

In this guide we will go through what emulator you should use, how to set up the Mario Builder 64 ROM to be playable, how to access your own levels and how to find or play levels made by others.

If reading isn't your thing you can also watch this video which has been based of this guide. It doesn't cover everything from here, though it should still be enough to complete a basic setup of Mario Builder 64 on Parallel Launcher.

Getting The Right Tools

1A. Emulator
If you want to use Mario Builder 64 on your PC properly you'll have to get an emulator that supports virtual SD card emulation. This is required as Mario Builder 64 needs to be able to store levels to some place.
Parallel Launcher is currently the only emulator usable by Mario Builder 64 thanks to the virtual SD card emulation support, though there may be other options in the future.

1B. Flashcart
You only need to follow this step if you want to play Mario Builder 64 on real hardware. To play Mario Builder 64 on a real Nintendo 64 you'll need to acquire a flashcart which supports SD Cards. Options for this currently are 64Drive, EverDrive-64 (Not in production anymore), EverDrive-64 X series and the SummerCart64.

2. Super Mario 64 ROM
Unfortunately links to any sites which have the Super Mario 64 .z64 ROM file can not be provided, though using the right search terms should easily lead to the right places. If the ROM you have acquired is compressed you need to unzip it with a tool such as WinRAR or 7-Zip to get the .z64 file. Make sure any websites you visit are trustworthy. It is also recommended that you scan any files you download with a virus scanner.

3. Mario Builder 64 BPS File
The Mario Builder 64 BPS file can be found on Romhacking.com or gamebanana.com. Simply download it and store it somewhere for now.
You can also check out the official public repository of Mario Builder 64 on github.com if you are interested and more on the tech-savvy side.

Creating The MB64 ROM

Now that you have both the Super Mario 64 ROM and the Mario Builder 64 BPS file you can patch it up to create the Mario Builder 64 ROM which can be played inside your emulator or on real hardware.

Patching in Parallel Launcher
If you are using Parallel Launcher you can patch the files by first clicking on the button with the 3 lines in the top right corner next to a button with a controller symbol, if you hover over the correct button it should say "Options". A drop-down with many options should pop up now. Click on the third option called "Manage ROM Sources", now head over towards "BPS Patches".

You should see two fields for entering files once you have clicked on the correct tab. The first is for the patch file, aka the one with the .bps file ending. The other field is for the Super Mario 64 ROM, which should have a .z64 file ending.
All that's left for patching the files now is to enter the right files for each field and then clicking on the big "Apply Patch" button.

The Mario Builder 64 ROM should now be available to play in Parallel Launcher, if it doesn't show up make sure to define a folder for the ROM Sources where the emulator will search for ROMs to play. This can be done in the "Manage ROM Sources" setting.

Patching outside of Parallel Launcher
If you are not using Parallel Launcher to patch your hacks you can also use other tools such as Romhacking.net's patcher or Hack64. For the "ROM" or "ROM File" field upload the original Super Mario 64 ROM .z64 file. For the "Patch" or "Patch File" field upload the Mario Builder 64 patching file you downloaded earlier, its file name will end with .bps. If one of the patchers requires you to enter a patch type, then select BPS.
Once you have patched the file put it in a folder where your emulator can access it and you should be able to play it then.

Accessing MB64 Levels

Virtual SD Card Inside Parallel Launcher
Now that you have started playing Mario Builder 64 you might be wondering where all your levels are stored. If you are using Parallel Launcher it should automatically create a virtual SD Card upon first booting up the ROM. It will likely have a name such as "AUTO0" and you will be able to see it above the "Overclock CPU (Recommended)" checkbox.
Click on the button with the two sliders next to the SD Card drop-down to open the options for it. On the right side you should see a button labelled as "Browse Files". Once you have clicked on it a folder with all your MB64 levels called "Mario Builder 64 Levels" will pop up. Here you can take levels out to share with others and you can also put others' levels inside to play them. Note that Mario Builder 64 level files all have the .mb64 file ending.
If there is an error message when trying to browse the virtual SD Card files check the FAQ at the bottom for further assistance.

Virtual SD Card Outside of Parallel Launcher
If you are using another emulator and you have to create your virtual SD Card manually make sure the format is FAT16 and the size is 255 MiB, otherwise there will likely be issues.

Physical SD Card for Flashcart
In case you are planning on playing Mario Builder 64 on a real Nintendo 64 you'll need to be able to read and write on the SD Card you wanna use for your flashcart. If your device doesn't have a slot for SD Cards you'll have to get an adapter which allows you to do so. Once you have connected your SD Card to your PC a notification may pop up that allows you to immediately go to the newly connected SD Card. If it doesn't then head over to where your PC usually displays devices and drives.
Now that you have found and opened your SD Card you should have a folder called "Mario Builder 64 Levels". Your levels are stored inside of here and they should all have a .mb64 file ending. You can take them out to give to others or insert others' levels there to play them later on.

Finding MB64 Levels Others Made

If you aren't much of a builder and would rather just play stages made by others then you can easily find Mario Builder 64 levels at places such as Level Share Square or the Rovertronic Roundtable Discord Server. Feel free to share your own courses there as well if you want others to play them and get feedback.
Note that you will need to create an Account on Level Share Square if you want to upload your own stages there, though this is not required as long as you only wanna download courses made by others on the site. If you want to share and find levels on the Rovertronic Roundtable Discord Server all you'll need is a Discord Account.

Alternatively you can also check out this MB64 Level Archive here where stages from both the above mentioned sources get compiled into folders so you can download tons of courses at once. It may tell you that you need to log in or sign up to download the files, though this is not actually required and you can simply click on "Or continue with download only" at the bottom of the pop-up.
If you want more info about each .mb64 file check out the "!ReadMe.txt" in the main folder. It will provide many details and it additionally also indexes each stage for easier navigation.
Keep in mind that this archive is being irregularly being maintained by one person only, so it will not be up to date with Level Share Square or the Rovertronic Roundtable Discord Server. If you want to play the newest current stages head over to those places.

Setup FAQ

Q: When I try to patch the ROM it doesn't allow me to, what can I do to fix this?
A: Make sure the SM64 .z64 file you are providing is USA Version 1.0. Another thing you should check is that you are entering the .bps patch file and the .z64 ROM file in the correct fields.

Q: I got the MB64 ROM in Parallel Launcher ready now, but I can't see any options for an SD Card, where is it?
A: Mario Builder 64 needs to be booted up at least once so that the virtual SD Card can be created and the options for it can appear in the ROM select menu of Parallel Launcher. To see them you need to close Mario Builder 64 again.

Q: When I try to browse the files of my virtual SD Card an error message telling me there may be unwanted software / a virus appears, what should I do?
A: No need to worry, just open your virus scanner and mark the perceived threat as "safe" or "allowed". After that you should be able to browse your virtual SD Card files with no further issues.

If you are on Windows and not aware of having installed any specific virus scanner then you probably have Windows Defender as it is installed by default. In that case open Windows Security and head over to the "Virus & threat protection" tab.

  1. If it isn't showing the recently blocked threat there leave the Windows Security window open, head back over to Parallel Launcher and try to browse the virtual SD Card Files again. The threat you need to mark as safe should appear below "Current threats" now, its name will most likely be called something like "Trojan:Win/Casdet!rfn". Simply click on it, then select the action option "Allow on device" and click on the "Start actions" button.
  2. Alternatively you can also try clicking on "Protection History" and restore the threat which has the name mentioned above. To do this just click on it, then in the bottom right you should get the options to "Remove" or "Restore", just select the second option here and see if this helps with browsing the SD Card Files now.
  3. A third option for potentially solving this issue in Windows Defender is to go to "Manage settings" below the Virus & threat protection settings header, then going to "Add or remove exclusions" below the Exclusions header. Now select process and enter the path to the process that got blocked. The path will be displayed on the initial error message from Parallel Launcher when trying to browse the SD Card files and also in the "Protection History" menu when you click on the threat. The affected file with the path you need to copy should be found below "Affected items:" and right next to "file: ". It should look something like this: "C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\parallel-launcher\ext64\mount-sd-card.exe" though this may differ depending on your device. Once you have found the blocked path just copy it and add it to the exclusions under the "Process" option.

Once you are done with one of these three steps there should hopefully be no further issues including the virus scanner.

Q: When I try to browse the files of my virtual SD Card it tells me the operation failed, what does this mean?
A: If this pops up and there is no other error message which accompanies this then it could have many causes. One reason could be that you still have the Mario Builder 64 ROM or any other ROM running in Parallel Launcher. In that case you should close the ROM and try to browse the virtual SD Card files again.

Another reason could be that one of the sneakier anti-virus programs has blocked access without notifying you. Avast and ESET Security are known to do this. If you have an anti-virus program other than Windows Defender go check on it and see if it may have blocked something from Parallel Launcher. In the event this is true try to see if the steps of the FAQ right above this one are applicable in your anti-virus program as well.

Sometimes the mount-sd-card.exe file can be corrupted as well so you should try letting Parallel Launcher reinstall it. To do this go to "%LOCALAPPDATA%\parallel-launcher\ext64" and delete the mount-sd-card.exe file. Now when you try to browse your virtual SD Card files again it will reinstall it. If it still gives you an error after this try turning off your antivirus and / or firewall temporally and reinstall the mount-sd-card.exe once more.

If none of this helped follow the instructions in the initial "Operation Failed" message and press F7 on the main window to check on the error logs. In case you can't make any sense of these either join the RomHacking.com Discord Server and head over to the "PARALLEL-LAUNCHER" category to ask for assistance. People will be more likely to be able to help you if you provide as much info as you can about your problem. So take a screenshot of the error log and any additional error messages that may appear outside of the common "Operation Failed" one.

Q: Parallel Launcher immediately crashes when I try to boot up Mario Builder 64, how can I fix this?
A: It is likely that the selected default graphics plugin does not work on your device. Try going though all of the ParallelN64 graphics plugins and see if Mario Builder 64 runs on one of them. Do not switch to the Mupen64plus-next core. It may allow Mario Builder 64 to run on your device, but it does not have virtual SD Card support so saving levels or loading stages from others will not be possible.

Q: Mario Builder 64 tells me that there is no SD Card detected even though it should be, what can I do?
A: The settings for your SD Card might be wrong. Make sure the format of it is FAT16, the size 255 MiB and the save type SRAM-32.

Game FAQ

Q: I have a lot of levels in my "Mario Builder 64 Levels" folder and some of them won't show up inside the game, why is that?
A: Mario Builder 64 can only load 250 levels at once. If you have more than 250 .mb64 files inside your SD Card consider moving or deleting some which you don't need anymore.

Q: How do I make a thumbnail for my level in Mario Builder 64?
A: Hover over the "Level Settings" icon at the very right, then press DPAD Right or DPAD Left to cycle to the "Take Screenshot" option. Once you have taken a screenshot in this mode it should appear as a low resolution thumbnail for your level. If it doesn't for some reason go check if you have the "Emulate Framebuffer" checkbox ticked. It can be found above the graphics plugin options inside Parallel Launcher.


This guide has been written by Vortoxium. If you want to suggest additions, changes or report misinformation for this guide then contact Vortoxium on Discord.

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Pub: 15 May 2024 03:18 UTC
Edit: 24 May 2024 04:57 UTC
Views: 49246