It’s been fifteen years since Super Mario Sunshine took the gaming world by storm and really gave the GameCube a solid start to its life. The game is remembered by many as a fun, light-hearted and classic entry in the Super Mario franchise and still stands as one of the greatest games the GameCube had to offer. While the game is nearly two decades old at this point, it still holds up and some would argue is better than a lot of the more recent Mario games we’ve received. While we pretty much know all we can about the game at this point, there’s plenty that might’ve gone under the radar.
From trivia to hidden files, unused content and strange glitches, there’s plenty of information out there about Super Mario Sunshine that you probably never picked up on. For example; did you know that there’s a quick nod to Super Mario 64 at the beginning of the game? Or that Delfino Plaza changed greatly between the time it was first shown and the date of release? Or that there’s a quick nod to Luigi’s Mansion in the game as well? That’s not even what we’re covering on the list! There’s plenty to know about Super Mario Sunshine. So here are 15 crazy things you had no idea about.
15 Isle Delfino
While most know it as the main setting for Super Mario Sunshine, Isle Delfino has quite a few interesting tidbits of information that some fans might not know about it. It really only goes as far as being trivia but it’s interesting stuff nonetheless, especially for fans of the game.
In the Japanese Version of the game, the island is known as Dolphic Island. But seeing as how both versions of the game use the English voice acting, the in-flight infomercial you hear at the beginning of the game still mentions Isle Delfino in the Japanese version.
Isle Delphino literally translates to Dolphin Island from Italian. This can be seen as a reference to the GameCube’s original name, Project Dolphin.
14 The Hidden Nozzle Box
One thing you’ll notice as we go further down this list is that there is plenty of hidden or unused content throughout the game. It’s only normal when you think about it, as not everything that’s thought up and worked on throughout the development cycle makes its way into the final product. In the years since its release, gamers have scoured through various corners of Sunshine in order to find all that they could. Inside one of the bell towers in Delfino Plaza, players can actually find a hidden rocket nozzle box. The box is otherwise inaccessible unless the player uses a cheat code and can only be seen by using camera glitches.
13 Hidden Dialogue
As previously mentioned, there are plenty of hidden and otherwise unnoticed things you can find in the game. Though most of these are restricted to enemies, textures and items, there is one interesting bit of hidden dialogue you might not have noticed at first. Well, it’s not so much hidden as it is obscured. In the Japanese version of the game, after Shadow Mario disappears from Peach’s sight, you can hear Mario say something like "Looks like Mario's gonna have to find a job." You can then hear Toadsworth say something along the lines of "Are you starting a new career?" and the dialogue goes back to what it was before immediately after. Funny enough, it was removed from international versions despite it being in English.
12 Unused Sound File
Out of all the unused content found in Sunshine this one has to be the most minuscule and otherwise unremarkable of the bunch. In the game you can find a sound file of Mario saying “Ciao,” likely a reference to his Italian heritage. The file is only a few seconds long and doesn’t really have any context attached to it. However, we can assume that it was meant to play when the game started up. Honestly, it isn’t all that much of a find but it’s still cool to think that things this minuscule can get left out of games when you have so many other important things like textures, maps and mechanics that never made the cut.
11 Human NPCs
The idea that any other human characters aside from Mario and Peach might’ve found their way into Super Mario Sunshine might seem a little odd to those who’ve spent countless hours with the game. That’s because we all know that Isle Delfino is inhabited by the strange yet lively Pianta – a sentient species that greatly resemble plant life, which is how they got their name. However, in the Space World 2001 trailer of Sunshine, you can see a human girl on screen. It’s a brief sighting but it caused some to speculate that Human NPCs might’ve been planned for the game alongside the Pianta, but were dropped sometime during development. We’ll never know exactly what that girl was doing in the trailer.
They’re not the most popular Mario enemy you can find, but Kug’s have a pretty interesting history. They’ve yet to make an official appearance in any real Super Mario title but were apparently intended to have been an enemy in Sunshine that didn’t make the cut. Kug’s greatly resemble Goombas in their appearance and going by the concept artwork that’s been made available, are pretty much identical save for some minor features. You can find it in the games files though it makes no actual appearance in the game. While you can’t access it normally it can be found if you use a glitch in Pinna Park by angling the camera a certain way or using a cheat device – though all you see is the concept art and no actual 3D model.
9 Removed Content
Though it probably comes as no surprise nearly halfway through this list, Super Mario Sunshine had its fair share of unused and discarded contentment that fans have managed to find gradually over the years. We’ve covered some of it so far, but there’s plenty more out there. While some warrant their own entry, others are just too vague or too little is known about them to dedicate an entire entry to it. The game had around 20 total test maps that were divided into two categories. Along with this various secret stages seemed to have either been planned and not completed or removed from the game. There were 13 of these found within the game. There were also a few cut scenes that weren’t included.
8 The Unused Train System
One of the most interesting scrapped ideas for Sunshine has to be the train system that was discovered via unused text that hinted at some sort of transportation system. According to the text, Mario could apparently buy tickets and get them stamped which would potentially give him access to different parts of Isle Delfino. Some Japanese dialogue hinted at 15 possible stations which players could visit once they got the appropriate stamp. It lists Pinna Park as a location, which means that the train was either an underground system or Pinna Park started off at a different location than it was in the game. It also hints at possible unused areas called "Battleship Island," "In front of Flame Temple," and "Lighthouse Island."
7 Italian Island Names
If it wasn’t clear at this point in the list, there are a lot of references to Mario’s cultural heritage in Sunshine, mainly having to do with how most places and things are named. One of the most striking examples of this is how each location on the island contains an Italian word. We’ve already covered Delfino Plaza, but there are so many others in the game as well. Bianco Hills translates to White Hills, Noki bay is actually Shell Bay, Sirena Beach is Siren Beach ect... It might’ve seemed natural as a kid to hear and read things that didn’t make sense, but now that we’re older, having the proper context makes it all the more enjoyable.
6 The Study
Did you know that there was actually a study conducted involving Super Mario Sunshine as one of its focal points? An American study found that playing the game actually made people more helpful in real life. Sunshine, along with another game (Chibi-Robo!), were assigned to players and those players were later asked to help others solve puzzles. Of 30 possible puzzles, 11 of which had to be solved, 10 were easy, 10 were hard and 10 were somewhere in between. The study found that those who played the previously mentioned games were more likely to help their partners by assigning them puzzles with easier difficulties, while those who played more violent games were more inclined to give their partners the harder puzzles.
5 Mystery Book
There’s a strange little book just lying around in Noki Bay that has stumped players for years. No one knows what it’s for and at this point it’s pretty obvious that it doesn’t do anything, yet there it is. Once you’re inside the bottle in the Red Coins in a Bottle level you should fall all the way to the bottom and find a small rock formation. In a small square opening you can find a door that’s impossible to open. If you maneuver the camera properly, you can see the little brown book lying on the floor. It might be a reference to the level’s theme music which was originally called “The Book in the Bottle.” It’s also been theorized that the mission was supposed to be different and that Mario was supposed to collect the book instead of the 8 red coins.
4 Sirena Beach
There are a couple of interesting bits of information regarding Sirena Beach. The first bit is that in Episode 6, the US version requires the player to clean up about 95% of the beach while the Japanese version requires the player to clean up 99% of the goo. Then there’s the layout of the beach, as it greatly resembles the GameCube controller. One of the pools looks like the grey analog stick while the others are the A, B, X and Y buttons. The flame is the START button and the chairs are where the GameCube logo would be. The two cabana huts are the D-pad and C analog stick respectively. It’s a tough little Easter egg to notice but pretty fun nonetheless.
3 There Was Supposed To Be A Multiplayer Mode
As great as the game is, it might’ve been even better had Nintendo stuck with their initial plan to insert a multiplayer mode into Super Mario Sunshine. Sadly that never stuck and it’s a damn shame it didn’t too. The presence of a multiplayer mode was brought to light by something found in Sunshine’s coding called “SMS_isMultiplayerMap." One player would take control of Mario while the other would control Shadow Mario, and the camera’s behaviour would be altered, with it zooming further away from the map when both characters were present. It’s tough to imagine just how this would work and what the multiplayer mode would’ve looked like when finished, but it seems like it could have been a cool idea.
2 Tramplin' Stu
Another enemy that never made it to the final version of the game was Tramplin’ Stu. There are two other Stu’s in the finished product, Swoopin' and Strollin' Stu. Each would’ve been spawned by Tramplin’ Stu as Mario fought it. Tramplin’ Stu would’ve been one of the most terrifying monsters in the game had he made it in. The only way to defeat him would be to fill it with water so the outer shell pops. Then you’d stomp on the eye on top of it. It can be found in a test map though it doesn’t have its shell. It does, however, have its shell when moved to the Delfino Plaza map.
1 Unseen Pollution Maps
Like many of the things we’ve discussed on this list, this was found by digging through a bunch of files. You can see a ton of different pollution maps from Sunshine if you go online and, while it might be mundane to some, some of these are pretty interesting – especially those that just look like they’re there to scare the hell out of you. Some of these look like they belong in a creepy pasta rather than an actual game. They look incredibly eerie but to be honest some have pretty cool designs and look great. It’s too bad they weren’t included in official art book, but it’s understandable considering how abstract and strange some look.