The year was 1996, and a brand new console would hit the market known as the Nintendo 64. The Nintendo 64 would come into the market and be the first console to truly show us how 3D games were meant to be played. The launch games for the Nintendo 64 would include Pilotwings 64, which while fun was not the main attraction of the Nintendo 64 launch. Instead, that honor would go to Super Mario 64. It would be the first 3D platformer to do it right and set the standard for a new age of video games, as many series would later make the jump from 2D to 3D and look to Super Mario 64 as a guideline.
Super Mario 64 is one of the most poplar Mario games, if not the most popular, and is one of the most well-known and most played games of all time. The game is so beloved that tons of modded versions of the game exist, from online versions of the game to completely new games made using the Super Mario 64 engine. The game is immensely popular, and still active to this day. Super Mario 64 is one of the most common games to see in the speedrun community, due to just how much the game can be pushed to its limit. That is what we will be looking at in this list: 20 things in Super Mario 64 that you had no clue you could do. Some are useful glitches that are used to beat the game incredibly fast, while others are more fun and silly things.
20 Wait... Negative Lives?!
In the Japanese version of Super Mario 64, there is a bug in the game that allows Mario to obtain a negative amount of lives. It should be noted beforehand that it will take some time to do. During the Bowser fight in Bowser in the Dark World, the player needs to avoid Bowser's fire breath and pick up the coins that fall out of the flames. Once Mario collects 1,000 coins, Mario's lives will change to "M25." The "M" in this case stands for minus. This happens because in the Japanese version is programmed wrong, and the life counter will bug out since it was never intended to have more than 999 coins. In other versions of the game this was fixed by capping out the coin counter as it was intended to be.
19 That Hat's Gone Forever
Super Mario 64 was the first time in the entire series he could lose his hat. If Mario is cap-less, he will take more damage from enemies. It is generally fairly easy to get Mario's cap back, and it's as simple as going to the level Mario lost it in and it will be there (worn by an enemy if it was stolen by an enemy). However, there is a bug in Super Mario 64 that can lead to Mario losing the hat for good. In Snowman's Land, if Mario gets blown off of the icy bridge near the snowman at a particular angle, Mario's hat falls into the ice box with a star inside. If Mario tries to grab it he will instead grab the star and be unable to get the cap if the player saves the game.
18 Nobody Knows What's Behind These Doors...
In Super Mario 64, there are different rooms in Princess Peach's Castle known as the Black Room of Death. These rooms are a small space behind doors that normally warp Mario somewhere else. Mario can get trapped in these rooms and require a restart to escape. To access one of these rooms, go into the basement stairway and aim Mario to double jump to the right side (near a white support beam). Mario should grab a ledge and pull himself up. Mario will enter into a Black Room of Death. You will see the doorway as well as unloaded black areas in the room. To leave this particular Black Room of Death, Mario simply performs a backwards long jump, which is how you escape most of the rooms.
17 So Much More Fun Than Climbing Stairs
The Backwards Long Jump is perhaps one of the most useful glitches in the entire game, and is one of the most common techniques used to skip entire parts of the game. It is a way for Mario to advance up the various sets of stairs incredibly quickly. To perform it, Mario should face away from the stairs and perform a long jump. As soon as Mario jumps, hold backwards on the control stick. Once Mario lands, rapidly tap the A button and Mario will start flying backwards at super high speeds. The speed is so fast it can have Mario go through doors and even walls. It should be noted that this only works on the Nintendo 64 and emulated versions, as it was fixed in the DS release.
16 It's All About The Grind
Grinding is a fun thing you can do to see Mario glitch all over the place in a set area. This will work on any ledge that Mario can grab onto. It will happen if Mario is on the very end of an edge (the last possible part of holding it) and also an angle that is nearly parallel to the ledge. If you move forward, Mario will continuously swap between being on the ground and his falling down state, and it'll happen multiple times per second. While really there's no practical use for this, it is really fun to see. If Mario at any point presses A, he will perform a double jump. Who doesn't like to have fun with Mario?
15 This Rabbit's Got A Shortcut
Mips is the yellow rabbit that is seen in the area where you go to Lethal Lava Land, and catching him will provide you with a star. When Mario lets go of Mips, he will move forward just a bit. After obtaining the star from him, Mips will stay there and you be able to grab him like any object. If you position Mario on the right side of a door and let go of Mips (who should be angled to have Mips go into the wall), Mario will be stuck in the middle of the door. Mario can turn around by crawling and face Mips and grab him again, even if Mips is on the other side of the door. You can do this on the door that leads to Dire Dire Docks and glitch through the door you normally need 30 stars for.
14 Beating The Game In Minutes
It's no secret that Super Mario 64 is by far the most popular speedrunning game. It would start with being able to beat the game with 16 Stars instead of the usual 70 that the game requires you to have. The envelope would then be pushed to beating it with just 1 star, and now you can beat the game without ever getting a single star. To do it, perform a backwards long jump in the lobby near the staircase on the far right, and jump into the tower with coins on top. You will go into the Bowser fight right after. Do this again to the star door in the basement. Lastly, perform it one last time at the final staircase, and you will go all the way to the top. It is possible to beat the game in mere minutes.
13 No Cannons Here
Another useful bug in the game would be something known as "Cannonless." This is used in Whomp's Fortress, and involves the star that's inside the wall. Normally you have to shoot Mario into it via a cannon, which is first used to open up the wall, and then again to claim the star itself. However, it is possible to clip Mario into the the wall and claim the star without ever needing the cannon. To perform consistently, have Mario grab the ledge next to the still wood platform (next to the Piranha Plant). Backflip and have Mario slowly walk off (towards the wall) until he grabs the ledge. Pull Mario back up, and move forward slightly then run towards the wall. If done right, Mario should slide off the wall and get the star on the way down.
12 Whomp, There It Is
The Cannonless glitch in Whomp's Fortress isn't the only part of the level where you can do the task you are required to do for the star incredibly fast and even easier than the game wants you to. There is an odd bug that happens when the Whomps collide with Mario in the middle of a ground pound animation. Before a Whomp throws itself onto Mario, if you jump and start a ground pound, they will go straight through Mario and he will continue the ground pound un-interrupted. This means Mario will kill the Whomp without having to dodge them at all. This is also true for the boss of the level, the Whomp King, and makes the fight one of the easiest boss fights out there.
11 Even Usain Bolt Isn't This Fast
In Bob-Omb Battlefield, the second star involves a race with a large Koopa known as Koopa the Quick. The goal is to simply beat him in a race, but it is possible to beat him in zero seconds. To perform, Mario needs to obtain the wing cap and triple jump in front of Koopa the Quick (he can not be too close). Then, ground pound into the first cannon and shoot Mario towards the floating island. Ground pound into the cannon on the island again, sending Mario towards the goal flag on top of the mountain. Once Mario lands on the island, the dialogue to start the race will begin. The race starts and if Mario is close enough to the flag pole, it'll end right away. Once you do this, though, be warned: you won't get the star from him.
10 Throwin' Those Bob-Ombs
Bob-Omb Battlefield is full of tricks, and one of them involves skipping another boss fight, although on a much smaller scale. You can avoid freeing the Chain Chomp by ground pounding the peg to get him to escape and break the fence. However, by using a Bob-Omb, you can clip through the fence without having to do that and skip the rather long and tedious cutscene that plays upon freeing the Chain Chomp. To perform, grab a Bob-Omb and throw it, grab it again once it lands, and then you can redirect Mario. Upon doing so, he will move back with greater speed. Travel to the bars holding the star and simply throw the bomb, and you will be on the other side.
9 I'm The King Of This Castle
Bowser aside, Super Mario 64 has very little in terms of bosses. They are only present on a small handful of levels such as Whomp's Fortress (which was previously mentioned) and another on Bob-Omb Battlefield. Nearly all the boss fights in Super Mario 64 have a trick to make them much easier than intended. The Bob-Omb King on top of the mountain in Bob-Omb Battlefield is one of these. Normally, Mario must run around the King to grab his back. However, Mario can quickly get behind him without needing to do this. Mario can jump with his back turned to King Bob-Omb and kick while holding back to keep backwards momentum. Mario will land right behind the King and be able to grab him right away.
8 This Corner Is Killer
There is a spot in the game that has some... interesting properties to it. Mario needs to have all 120 Power Stars to be able to get to the top of Princess Peach's Castle in order to get to what is called the Killer Corner. Have Mario walk to the far right side of the roof of the castle. Mario will fall a little and grab onto a ledge. Upon pulling Mario back up, Mario will die as soon as he gets back up. It gets stranger, as Mario will also instantly lose his hat. Bowser's face will also travel across the screen as if he died normally. The reason for this is Mario is on a layer that, in the game's code, dictates Mario is dead.
7 No Interviews, Please
Super Mario 64 is so widely popular it has become one of the most optimized games out there. New ways to beat the game faster and faster keep popping up, even when we as a collective think we've discovered everything there is to discover about the game. One of them is skipping the Lakitu cutscene that plays at the very start of the game. It's one of the only cutscenes in the game as a matter of fact, since there's only one at the start and one at the end of the game. It's long as well, so the want to skip it is there. Luckily, it is possible. If you perform a long jump on the exact edge of the bridge, Mario will land in front of the door and see Lakitu there without its cloud, meaning you've succeeded.
6 It's All A Slippery Slope
There are many slippery slopes in the game, meaning a slope Mario can walk up on slightly before sliding down it. However, it is possible to do in many different ways. One of them will not work on all slopes, but some such as the one in Bob-Omb Battlefield. You should continuously tap the control stick in desired direction, and Mario will slowly climb it without sliding. Another technique that works on most slopes (and is significantly faster) has the player press A to jump but not let go of it. Hold the control stick in the direction of the slope and tap b repeatedly. If you've done it correctly, Mario should jump and kick all the way to the top of the ramp.
5 Fly High And Die
Super Mario 64 has a fair amount of failsafe mechanics built into it, however it is still very possible to break these open and cause all sorts of bugs and glitches to happen to the game. Many of these are extreme, and will kill Mario is he enters certain areas of the map or level. An example is the Killer Corner we mentioned earlier. This one happens on any level. If Mario flies too high up on any given level, he will simply die. The reason isn't fully known, but is heavily theorized to be the aforementioned failsafe ceiling. Mario needs to be flying at high incredibly high speeds, the best way to do this would be by performing a backwards long jump before flying.
4 Make It Stop Spinning!
It's no secret that Super Mario 64 has its fair share of silly glitches and exploits you can do. Some, such as the Killer Corner, can be fairly hard to pull off, and others not so much. One of these is incredibly silly but always entertaining to see. Mario has to activate a homing 1-Up mushroom. If you press Z before you collect it, rather than it going into Mario, it will simply circle around the top of his head until the player lets go. This glitch would also be present in the Nintendo DS remake of the game. The exact reason why this happens is not known, but can be assumed the 1-Up will gravitate towards Mario's standing hitbox and won't adjust when Mario crouches.
3 Cloning Items Has Never Been Easier
Super Mario 64 has 240 slots to process items and enemies at a time. In order to save memory, the game will unload an object on screen to load a new one on screen. The cork box, for example, unloads if no activity happens to it in 30 seconds and it then returns to its original position. When Mario grabs an object, it will take two frames to send a signal to prevent it from unloading in Mario's hands. However, if the cork box unloads in these two frames while Mario holds it, Mario will be holding nothing, which will be filled by any objects that load when Mario approaches them. This can also be done with a Bob-Omb. This can lead to Mario holding coins, goombas, and even parts of a Chain Chomp.
2 Rewarding Your Coin Collecting With A Star
In every level of Super Mario 64, there is a bonus star that is not listed in the star select screen. Collecting it won't end the level. To obtain these stars, you simply have to collect 100 coins on the level, regardless of star selected. If Mario collects the 100th coin above a bottomless pit, the star will still appear as normal, but if Mario collects said star, he will fall straight down. Mario still performs his victory dance upon getting the star while suspended in the air. After the animation, Mario will fall into the pit as per usual and lose a life.
1 The Walking Dead Of The Mushroom Kingdom
The early Nintendo 64 games seem to have a common theme with the protagonist being able to be turned into a zombie. It was doable in Ocarina of Time, and just as doable in Super Mario 64. It is possible to do it in any level that has a cannon or Bob-Omb, but should be noted it is easiest to do in Bob-Omb Battlefield. You must have only 1 or 2 slivers of heath left, and grab a Bob-Omb and run in front of a cannon so Mario has his back facing it. The Bob-Omb will explode, and Mario will fall into the cannon and lose the rest of his health. Mario won't die and be able to use the cannon as normal. He will be in the air and live until he touches the ground. Upon landing, Mario will actually die.