Nintendo's a great company that has a long lineage of great video games, but for many people, their nostalgia lies in one specific title, Super Mario 64. Super Mario 64 released in 1996 as a launch title on the Nintendo 64. It was one of the first games to implement three-dimensional graphics and platforming. The big hook with Super Mario 64, outside of being a brand new gaming experience, was the ability to travel to multiple worlds via the painting in and around the castle.
Super Mario 64 can be looked at as the foundation for what we now refer to as collect-a-thon platformers. In order to complete the game and defeat Bowser players were tasked with collecting 100 stars from various areas and worlds throughout the game. It was a pioneer in terms of 3D character movement and traversal as well as camera controls. It was uncharted territory for most of the industry but Nintendo brilliantly tackled the new challenge head on. Super Mario 64 is a game in which people can refer to specific areas of the game and the person they're conversing with can also share in the memories. Everyone has their story about saving the baby penguin and returning it to the mother. Super Mario 64 is also a nostalgia fest that's responsible for numerous theories and plenty of hidden secrets.
According to Nintendo, players will be treated to a spiritual successor to Super Mario 64 in 2017's Super Mario Odyssey. There are plenty of hidden facts and stories inside the infamous Nintendo 64 platformer. Let's hop into 15 of them right now.
The primary focus of Super Mario 64 is to collect stars by going to multiple worlds and completing quests and puzzles. Of course, Nintendo would have the foresight to make star collecting and the information around it easily understood. When you're exploring the world looking for stars, there's an easy indicator as to whether or not you've collected said star. If it pops up and is a translucent dark blue —instead of the iconic shimmering gold— well you've found a star in which you've already collected. It turns out that these stars weren't always that dark blue color. In the pre-release build of the game, these collected stars were gray. Nintendo probably felt that it didn't mesh with the rest of the colorful world and decided upon dark blue being the color of completion.
Riding horses is a traversal mechanic that's regularly used in video games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Nintendo's newest masterpiece and showcases the usefulness of horses in a large open-world, which became iconic after 1998's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Originally horses were intended to be a part of Super Mario 64 in some capacity. Though it never made it into the game, rideable horses were heavily discussed early in development. It's safe to say that even though the didn't utilize this idea in Super Mario 64, it was enough of a springboard that led to the creation and implementation of Link's horse Epona in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. How weird would it have been if Super Mario 64 included the ability to ride horses?
Though the Nintendo 64 was touted as including an impressive 64-bits of processing power, many of the games on the system utilized only 32-bits. Super Mario 64 was one of the many titles that did this, even though its name would lead you to believe otherwise. The reasoning behind using 32-bits, instead of the full 64-bits the system was capable of, comes down to two key factors. The first of these factors is that 32-bit executed faster, meaning that there were fewer hiccups, and the game's overall performance benefited from it. Storage space was hard to come by in the mid-90s, and the simple fact that 32-bit took up less storage space was the other contributing factor in regards to choosing 32-bit over 64-bit. This is another tale of how marketing and messaging is more important than what actually happens in terms of development. It also didn't hurt that the game was phenomenal for its time.
Older games are notorious for including various glitches and bugs. Even though they're not as complicated in terms of scope and size in terms of today's video games, they weren't without their fair share of gaffs and exploits. An interesting glitch in Super Mario 64 happens when Mario picks up two hats in rapid succession and is often referred to simply as the double hat glitch. Upon picking up both hats in a short matter of time the game's solution to the problem at hand is to put one of these hats in Mario's right hand. The glitch is easily replicated in the Snowman's Land level by taking the warp under the tree after Mario has his hat blown off his head my the giant snowman's breath. After warping, your hat will be duplicate and simply picking them up will activate the hat hold.
By now everyone's familiar with Charles Martinet's famous portrayal of the mustached plumber. It's an iconic voice that's immediate recognized by millions of people — let alone video game players. Before Martinet's famous take, Nintendo used stock audio files of the Looney Tunes as placeholders for Mario's voice. Imagine playing Super Mario 64 and being treated to the famous "What's Up Doc?" line by everyone's favorite gray rabbit. Now, Nintendo would probably never use someone else's property as an official in-game implementation, but it's fascinating to see what's used during every part of game development. The next thing we're going to hear is that the Bernstein Bears were used as placeholder voices in the next iteration of Animal Crossing. What cartoon voices would you want as placeholders in a Nintendo developed game?
One of the many iconic parts of Super Mario 64 revolves around a mother penguin and her missing baby. As Mario, the player must carry the baby penguin from the top of the level and descend to the bottom to reunite it with its mother. Surprisingly, this is a difficult task that requires your full attention and a somewhat careful nature. After returning the baby penguin to its mother players receive a gold star in return for their efforts, but that's not where the penguin related fun ends. If you pick up the baby penguin after returning it to its mother, the mother will angrily follow Mario until you drop her child. The baby penguin was named Tuxie, but strangely enough, the mother never received an official name. Seems like she has something else to be angry about.
When it comes to Mario, there are few things a that are constant throughout the series. Everyone remembers playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time and completing the first level by jumping on the flagpole in hopes of obtaining a higher score, or possibly even an extra life. In Super Mario 64, considering the overall design of the game and its worlds, it didn't really make sense for Nintendo to include the familiar flagpoles. Initial plans in development were to include said flagpoles, but designers felt scouring the land for items played better with the overall design of Super Mario 64. Nintendo would later go on to include the flagpoles in future 3D Mario games, but knowing that they were originally intended to be a part of the Nintendo 64 iteration of Mario is intriguing nonetheless.
When it comes to character voice overs, Nintendo is literally all over the map. The interesting part about Super Mario 64 is that players are treated to Princess Peach's voice at the beginning of the game as well as at the very end. It helps shape Mario's adventure and the specific stakes at hand. Hearing her voice at the beginning of the game allows players to obtain an immediate sense of despair, and only including her voice again at the end of the game allows the conclusion of the game to feel as though it was worth it. That being said, the Japanese version of Super Mario 64 included absolutely no voice acting for Princess Peach at release even though it was included in every other version.
Mario is a franchise that features some of the most iconic video game villain laughs of all-time. On numerous occasions, players are treated to both Bowser's deep bellowing chuckle, as well as Boo's creepy nightmare inducing laugh. It's never been an unfamiliar procedure to reuse assets in video games and re-purpose them for maximum efficiency. It allows developers and designers to focus on crafting a solid game, and the more creative a team is, the more efficient they can become with their assets. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Boo's creepy laugh is simply a souped up version of Bowser's fear inducing chuckle. It's amazing how a little manipulation can lead to a completely different, yet equally iconic Super Mario 64 sound effect.
We've already covered reusing assets, but it seems that it was a common practice for Nintendo — especially within Super Mario 64. Anyone who's ever played Super Mario 64 for an extended amount of time is familiar with the sound that plays when entering a new mission inside of a painting. Players hear Mario's familiar voice, accompanied by a catchy and eerily familiar tune. Now, many people would simply think that the same composer has done all of the Mario games, and thus there's a cohesive sound design throughout. Though that may be partially the case, there's another glaring reason why the level select tune sounds so familiar. It's actually the overworld theme from Super Mario Bros., but —like Boo's laugh— is simply played at a higher tempo and creates a unique and different sound.
Rideable horses are a feature that was talked about in the early development of Super Mario 64, but it seems it wasn't the only rideable creature discussed. Buried deep within the game data for Super Mario 64 is an unused animated texture for what appears to be a Yoshi egg. Does this mean that Yoshi was intended to play a bigger part in the game? If I was a betting man, I would assume that if the developers enjoyed the idea of including a horse, the only logical progression to implementing such a feature would be to include Mario's pal, Yoshi, as a rideable tool. Either way, it's a shame the green dinosaur wasn't a larger part of Super Mario 64 seeing as he's a huge fan favorite. Here's hoping Yoshi makes some type of appearance in the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey due out Holiday 2017.
A constant part of Super Mario 64 that's often brought up in nostalgia-fueled conversations is the yellow-haired hare named Mips. This rabbit is an interesting addition to the game, and even though chasing him is a blast, many people felt that he was an odd addition to this Mario world. It turns out there are quite a few secrets and little know facts about the golden hopper. The first of these facts is that his name, Mips, is an acronym for the microprocessor the Nintendo 64 CPU runs on. Seeing as Super Mario 64 was a launch title for the console, the name seems appropriate. The other secret is that during early development of character movement, and camera angles, the developers only used two character models, Mario and Mips. The developers developed a love for the rabbit and decided to include him in the game.
Through in-game code, we know that Yoshi was considered to be a part of this game at some point in the development cycle. Another familiar Mario face that seems to be absent from Super Mario 64 is Mario's better half, Luigi. It seems like the green plumber was also originally intended to be a part of Super Mario 64, as we learned from an interview with both Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto. In the interview, both creators discussed that in an early prototype of the game where, not only were both Mario and Luigi playable, but the game featured split-screen multiplayer. In terms of multiplayer, it seems that Nintendo chose best when focusing on making it a simple player adventure. That being said, everyone would have love traversing the world of Super Mario 64 with Luigi and his superior jump.
Super Mario 64 treats players to a bevy of powers and upgrades for the familiar plumber. The metal suit that changes Mario's weight and movement is a power that was actually first introduced in Super Mario 64. Mario acquires these powers in the game by simply placing the enchanted hat upon his head. Nintendo designed multiple instances where these hats and powers can be combined but strangely left some out. There's a texture in the game for Metal Mario wings, which seem to be a combination of the metal cap and wing cap. Unfortunately, there's not a single area in the game where these caps can be feasibly combined, but through the power of hacking players are treated to an in-game texture for a metal flying Mario that ultimately was never implemented in the final version of Super Mario 64.
Whenever you're at the end of a Super Mario 64 related conversation, it seems to always end with the same telephone game sounding rumor pertaining to a Super Mario 64 game that never saw the light of day. It turns out that a sequel for the game was indeed in development but was eventually canceled. The game —commonly referred to as Super Mario 64 2— was said to include Luigi as a featured character, and would possibly include a multiplayer function. Both of these aren't that surprising considering these were both ideas on the drawing board for the first game according to Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto. Fortunately, we were treated to these features (and more) on the Nintendo DS version of Super Mario 64. Many people feel that 2017's Super Mario Odyssey is set to be a sequel or spiritual successor of sorts to Super Mario 64, and here's hoping.