When Nintendo was planning their Super Nintendo console they knew they had to do something to set it apart from the rival Sega Genesis, and to a lesser extent the NEC Turbo Grafx-16. Rather than just being a 16-bit version of their Nintendo Entertainment System with more colors and parallax scrolling, Nintendo went with something extra under the hood. That extra something was known as “Mode 7” and it was certainly something to throw in the face of the competition that had to use tricks to achieve similar results.
Mode 7 was used sparingly in the SNES pack-in, Super Mario World, mainly on bosses that scaled and rotated among other little effects that were so cool back in the day. Pilotwings was almost a $50+ demo cart of what Mode 7 was and what it could do. This being Nintendo there is a lot of play value in Pilotwings making it a worthy purchase for games wanting a little more than the usual run to the right and jump on enemies gameplay of Super Mario World (and surely hundreds more similar titles to come).
Other games that showed off the power of Mode 7 included Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, and HyperZone to name a few. Sure, you could experience some Mode 7 in certain areas of other titles like Contra III (overhead levels), Legend of Zelda III (overworld map), and Rock ‘n Roll Racing (planet transitions), those games did not rely on the effect as an integral part of the game.
What this mod does is basically handle the math processing of the ‘3D’ slightly differently than the SNES did natively. The graphics are upscaled using modern hardware power before any Mode 7 effects are applied to them resulting in a much truer to form visual effect that the Super Nintendo simply could not handle (maybe had Nintendo went with a faster CPU?). ArsTechnica has a slightly more detailed explanation of what is going on with this mod – the short version is, games using Mode 7 look a lot better.
Get ready because this mod will apparently join the bSNES in the next update.