Nintendo is synonymous with some of the greatest and most revolutionary video games ever made, but, for whatever reason, they’re also synonymous with some of the most wild rumors and intriguing mysteries to ever captivate the digital world.
Perhaps it’s their family-friendly veneer that makes players think that they’re hiding something beneath the surface, or maybe it’s just the fact that the worlds are so deliberately crafted that it seems that anything is possible, but no matter the reason, there is an unprecedented amount of fascination with Nintendo’s products and the mysteries that surround them.
Along with the unintentional intrigue that plagues some of their games and franchises, there are also entirely intentional mysteries that plague players, and with our list of Nintendo’s 20 Craziest Unsolved Mysteries, we’re diving deep into the rich worlds crafted by the Big N and their best contributors, dissecting the most mysterious rumors and unanswered questions from their most famous games.
We’re covering a whole slew of console generations, but most of our entries stem from older systems and titles, most likely due to the fact that it is the more classic eras, without the benefits of documentation and data-mining, that produced the most unanswered questions and thrilling mysteries.
We’ll be covering everything from the mysteries of the original Pokémon games, the wild rumor mill from Super Mario 64, the fate of beloved characters and, even the most perplexing, infamous and mind-boggling mystery of all…
Get your magnifying glasses and hunting cap, because we’re about to get started.
20 The Clawmark At Lake Hylia
Ocarina of Time has a slew of mysteries surrounding it, but this is one that’s hardly ever talked about.
In the middle of Lake Hylia, players can find a dead tree that has three deep slashes in it.
What could have done this? A Wolfos, or some other unknown beast, perhaps?
No one in the game makes a reference to this, and there doesn’t seem to be any other object that has this same kind of destruction.
The most likely explanation is that it’s a remnant from a scrapped idea during development, yet no one knows for sure.
Perhaps the strangest part about these claw marks is that they are entirely absent from the remake, which only adds another layer of mystery.
19 The Crimes Of The Green Thwomp
Within the haunting halls of Bowser’s Castle in Mario Kart 64, there lies an incarcerated green Thwomp.
Those that dare drive past the jail will cause the maniacal, living block of stone to cackle condescendingly.
We have a question, though: why is this here?
It’s such an oddly precise detail, and it makes you wonder why the developers were driven to include it. There’s gotta be a story.
More importantly, what crime did he commit? As a member of Bowser’s sinister army, what act could be so awful that he needed to be locked in a cell? Is it because he’s... green?
Overall, it’s surprisingly creepy to see this jailed Thwomp, but even creepier to watch him maniacally laugh at those foolish enough to visit.
18 The Truck In Pokémon Red And Blue
One of the most legendary and iconic mysteries to ever exist in the world of not just Nintendo, but video games at large, is the infamous truck in Pokémon Red and Blue.
The subject of multiple myths about catching Mew, just off-screen from the SS Anne’s port is an incredibly conspicuous truck that appears nowhere else in the game.
It’s just… there. Why is it there?
It seemingly has no purpose, and yet this unique object remains more-or-less prominently on display, despite being somewhat hidden.
We’d love to know the reasoning behind this unnecessarily detailed truck and its incredibly suspicious placement, but we fear we never will.
17 Is James McCloud Alive?
There’s only one thing for certain regarding Fox’s father, James McCloud: he’s not around.
His fate is debatable in just about every entry, with the earliest being that he “disappeared” near a black hole.
Most prominently, though, various allies and enemies claim that James is deceased, with a few implying they actually witnessed it.
Despite this reliable evidence, the actual truth is far more complicated.
James has occasionally appeared “in the flesh” to help Fox, but only his son seems able to see him. Standard ghost stuff, right?
In Star Fox Zero, though, James appears as per usual, but not only can Andross see him too, James physically attacks the big head. Definitely not standard ghost stuff.
The truth is out there, we guess.
16 The Identity Of The Mysterious Body In Super Metroid
The Metroid series is already kind of creepy with its dark caverns, bleak plots, and the lonely atmosphere.
Coupled with the above, players were disturbed to find a body in Super Metroid, and, most importantly, no one has any idea who (or what) it’s supposed to be.
Not only does it look exceedingly humanoid (unlike the other creatures and characters, excluding Samus), it’s just sort of… there, and there’s nothing else like it.
It bears a minimal resemblance to the “Space Jockey” in Alien, a film which had a heavy influence on Metroid, but it’s hardly definitive.
Other than whatever explanation your imagination affords you, there’s simply no explanation as to who the “deceased soldier” is… or was.
15 The True Nature Of Majora And The Fierce Deity
All of Majora’s Mask is nebulous and mysterious, but the one question we can’t stop trying to answer is what exactly Majora itself is all about, and what the Fierce Deity really is.
Before engaging in the final battle, the Lunar Child wearing Majora’s Mask gives you the Fierce Deity’s Mask, and then explains that you will be playing the role of the bad guy and that bad guys “just run.”
Couple that with the description of the Fierce Deity Mask asking if its “dark powers [are] as bad as Majora.”
Does this mean Majora is some neutral (or possibly good and misunderstood) figure, and the insanely destructive powers the Fierce Deity wields makes you the real villain?
14 Mario And Luigi's Actual Origins
It’s commonly accepted that Yoshi guided Baby Mario to his parents during the course of Yoshi’s Island, which more-or-less served as the plumber’s backstory… but even Nintendo itself seems to be confused as to what the actual origin is.
In fact, there are multiple origins and backstories, and none of them can really coexist.
The arcade game Mario Bros. makes it very clear that Mario and Luigi were plumbers in the real world, while the sequel comes from the duo working on the pipes and then being sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom. This origin is echoed in the ill-fated film adaptation and a Japanese animation.
Now no one knows what’s going on, but that’s okay, because neither does Nintendo.
13 DK64's Ominous Pillar
Donkey Kong 64’s Creepy Castle already lived up to its name, but a certain mysterious pillar did more to add to the chilling atmosphere than anything the developer’s intended.
An ornate pillar stands prominently in one of the level’s many chambers and became a fixation for players.
Folks tried everything they could with every character to make something happen, but no matter what they couldn’t trigger even the slightest reaction.
It’s likely that this has something to do with “Stop ‘n’ Swop” (which we’re covering later) but we can’t say for sure.
Still, this is an awfully conspicuous object to just do nothing, and it’s strange to see it left there, especially if its actual use was cut from the final game.
12 What Exactly Was "The Unicorn Fountain?"
While many of the locations and dungeons in Ocarina of Time are memorable (for better or worse), there were a few of places that didn’t make the final cut… at least not entirely.
One example is the Forest Temple, which, in some earlier version, was to be wind-themed. This is obvious with the wind-like design on the medallion, and the fan puzzles in the related room within Ganon’s Castle.
Another remnant of… something… is the “The Unicorn Fountain” seen in pre-release footage.
This eerie chamber resembles Fairy Fountains but has statues of unicorn heads and a trippy-looking water effect.
This played into the “find the Triforce” hoax/hysteria, but the sad truth is we really don’t know much about the location at all.
11 Where Did Captain Falcon's Powers Come From?
Captain Falcon’s debut in Super Smash Bros. was fantastic, despite the legion of younger fans that had no idea who he was, with most thinking he was a superhero. Even after learning that he was a bounty hunter/race car driver combination, there was still a question that couldn’t be answered: what is the “Falcon Punch,” and how did he learn to do it?
And not just the punch, either: all of Captain Falcon’s flame-based powers seemingly come from out of nowhere.
Nintendo doesn’t seem interested in answering this question, and both Super Smash Bros. and F-Zero fans haven’t had much luck in rationalizing it, either.
Maybe the kids were right. Maybe Captain Falcon is also a superhero, and we should just deal with it.
10 How Did Shy Guys Get Into "The Real World?"
Spoiler alert for an ancient game: Super Mario Bros. 2 was a dream the whole time!
Within this sub-conscious world of Subcon, Mario and Co. had to do battle with many odd creatures, the most iconic of which were Shy Guys.
Since apparently nothing about the experience was real, how on Toad’s green earth did Shy Guys and the rest of the Subcon cast get into the reality of the Mushroom Kingdom?
The main antagonist, Wart, seems to be stuck in subconscious worlds, but the rest of his subjects don’t.
Perhaps Mario was dreaming about real creatures, or perhaps the denizens of Subcon found a way to escape. Either way, we’ll never know for sure.
9 The Invisible Bridge In Bomberman 64
Bomberman 64 featured an awesome twist on classic Bomberman gameplay by moving the franchise into 3D and incorporating inventive puzzles within large levels with varying objectives.
One of these levels in Red Mountain contained a few odd details: a mysterious doorway and an invisible bridge.
As kids playing through the game for the first time, catching a glimpse of an area like this was pulse pounding. At an age were anything felt possible, it wasn’t difficult to think that some incredible secrets were waiting to be found.
In reality, it’s likely that the door and the bridge were leftover from a scrapped concept, but the mystery as to what their true purpose was still remains.
8 What In The World Is "Fire Fox?"
Fox McCloud being in Super Smash Bros. was a mind-bending experience for dedicated fans of Star Fox back during the reign of the Nintendo 64.
Sure, you could play as him on-foot in multiplayer, but it was more awkward than cool. In Smash, he actually moved and played like a real character.
His blaster was self-explanatory, and his Reflector could easily be justified as fitting in with the sci-fi world of the Lylat System… but what was “Fire Fox?”
Fox is just kind of engulfed in flames, screams “FIYAA!!” and launches upwards. And it’s weird.
The prevailing theory is that this move took inspiration from Fox’s fiery kitsune origins… but that doesn’t explain why Falco does it, too.
7 Who Put The Pot Roast In The Walls?
Truthfully, we could have put any number of video games where food is randomly found in the most obscure of places, but the original Castlevania is seemingly the game that’s the most iconic when it comes to this bizarre concept.
Dracula’s castle is filled with monsters and traps, but it’s also got finely-prepared pot roasts (on plates!) hiding inside brick walls.
Who put this here? More importantly, who prepared it so delightfully?
The series went as far to explain what the candles were and why they give items (the answer being that they are actually souls of people Dracula destroyed, and they’re giving you thanks for freeing them) so surely someone can explain these hidden feasts!
6 "Metroid Dread"
“Metroid Dread” was (is?) a game from the beleaguered Metroid series, but there’s next to no information regarding it, with its existence barely being acknowledged by Nintendo.
Teased in magazines and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Metroid Dread was apparently going to be a DS title, but that’s essentially where all information regarding the project ends.
An insider named Liam Robertson would later reveal more supposed info from the game and claim that IGN’s Craig Harris had read the storyline but couldn’t recall any details.
Unfortunately, that’s where the trail seems to end, at least for now, but perhaps Nintendo’s next side-scrolling Metroid will be built from the pieces of what “Dread” was intended to be.
5 What The "L Is Real" Sign Actually Says
Super Mario 64’s rumors weren’t nearly as rampant as others, but it still had its fair share of “secrets,” the most prominent of which being how to unlock Luigi.
Of course, that was all one big lie, but it didn’t stop players from trying everything to get him, no matter how absurd.
This all stemmed from a plaque beneath the statue of a star in the courtyard.
Supposedly, the highly-pixelated writing reads “L is real 2401.”
It almost certainly did not, but it leaves a more intriguing question in its wake: what does it say?
This texture appears in both SM64 and Ocarina of Time, and it’s probably just nonsense, but we’d love to know what the uncompressed version looks like, if it even exists.
4 The Mysteries Of Gruntilda's Lair
Banjo-Kazooie’s vast hub world, Gruntilda’s Lair, was not only stocked with puzzles and secret passages around every turn, but also its fair share of tantalizing mysteries.
In the chamber where Tooty would have been turned into an ogre (with Grunty becoming uncomfortably attractive in the process), there are two giant doors that can’t be opened. Frustratingly, early screenshots showed that they were accessible at some point.
Likewise in Tooie, although Grunty’s Lair is more or less destroyed, text that reads “Gruntilda’s Lair – Tower Room” exists in the data, making it seem that there used to much more than fan service to this location.
Unfortunately, no real information exists about what’s beyond the locked doors or within the “Tower Room.”
3 What Happened To Mike From StarTropics?
Less of a mystery and more of a missing person’s report, we can’t help but wonder where Mike from StarTropics has been for so long.
While the two NES game in the StarTropics series weren’t extremely popular, they’ve retained a legendary cult status due to their hilarious writing and crazy gimmicks (such as having to dip a letter into water in real life to find a secret code).
Not to mention the fact that games are also some of the best on the NES, and are actually first-party Nintendo games.
The lack of acknowledgment is upsetting, but if we’re lucky, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s DLC will give us Mike as a playable character.
It’s time, Nintendo. Pull the bananas out of your ears.
2 The Haunting Evils Of The Game Boy Camera
The Game Boy Camera is one of the weirder peripherals that Nintendo felt the need to manufacture (though the unproduced “vitality sensor” for Wii likely takes the take), so it only seems fitting that one of their more unusual ideas would also have one of the greatest (and honestly creepy) mysteries about it.
On the “Shoot” menu, clicking the “run” option triggers THIS face.
Making matters worse, this monstrous abomination demands an answer to your foolish choice: “who are you running from?”
While these are likely the distorted faces of the peripheral’s developers, a single question regarding their implementation remains: “why?”
1 Stop 'N' Swop
The ultimate unsolved mystery is no surprise, especially for Banjo-Kazooie fans.
Those who collected every Jiggy were treated to a special ending that showed secret items and locations regarding “Stop ‘n’ Swop.”
Among them was the notorious Ice Key that teased players in Freezeezy Peak by hiding behind an impenetrable window.
All of it is accessible with cheats, but Stop ‘n’ Swop’s actual scope was much larger, connecting BK with DK64 and Tooie.
Unfortunately, other than the wacky cartridge-swapping method, we don’t know anything about what the rewards would have actually done or accessed.
That said, we’re kind of okay with having this mystery staring us in the face, reminding us of a time when we couldn’t just look something up in an instant.