Super Mario 64 is a three dimensional platformer launch title for the Nintendo 64, and the Mario series' first full foray into the third dimension. Super Mario 64 is considered one of the most influential games of all time, helping bring the platformer genre and gaming as a whole into the third dimension, and is regarded as one of the best Mario games.
The game starts with the protagonist, Mario, getting a letter from Princess Toadstool inviting him to her castle for cake. Upon arriving, he finds that the castle has been emptied as is threatened to leave by his arch-enemy, Bowser. From then on, Mario must journey to save Princess Toadstool by entering the many paintings that lead him to levels so he can collect as many stars as he can, while freeing the Toads from the castle walls.
As of recently, the game has received a cult following with the interest of speedrunning the game, and the glitches and exploits found with it. With it has come the discovery that almost every copy of Super Mario 64 has been personalised for everyone whose played it.
Super Mario FX
- Main article: Super Mario FX
Before the existence of Super Mario 64, the idea of a Mario game in the third dimension was hypothesised by Shigeru Miyamoto. This idea was thrown around with the existence of the Super FX chip, a component of the Super Nintendo which allowed for advanced polygon graphics and was prominently used in Star Fox and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. With the limitations of hardware at the time though, the game never took off very far and likely never entered development.
Ideas associated with Super Mario 64 were conceptualised as early as September 7th, 1994. The game predates the existence of the Ultra 64 itself, with most of the testing being done on computers using keyboards as controllers. In this phase, the game was named Ultra 64 Mario Brothers, which can be seen in the iQue leak.
Super Mario 64, as well as many other Nintendo 64 games, was developed on a Silicon Graphics computer. Many stock assets from these computers would be used for the game's textures and pre-release sounds. For instance, the texture for Metal Mario is a low-quality metal reflective texture that has been rotated.
Perhaps the earliest build of the game, known as the Sombrero Build unofficially, is known to exist using Nintendo 64 testing assets including the model of a man wearing an oversized sombrero. The origins and even date of this build is unknown. This also seems to be the origin of Bob-omb Village. It's unknown if this game was actually a build of Super Mario 64, or rather a completely seperate test build.
A ton of ideas were thrown around for Super Mario 64, either on paper or with official testing. One of the many ideas thrown around about Super Mario 64 was the involvement of Luigi in a multiplayer mode. Many modes were experimented on. One mode had Mario and Luigi start ingon opposite ends of the map, and were expected to meet each other part way. This mode would've let the two brothers experience the game simultaneously, while also doing their own things. Another mode was more focused on co-operative play, with a camera that would zoom out to have both players on screen. Due to problems arising with how the camera would work and how levels would be built around it, this mode was eventually scrapped with Luigi in tow.
- Main article: Super Mario 64/July 29th 1995 build
An apparently anomalous build of Super Mario 64 was made on July 29th, 1995. This dates back to before the original patent for the Ultra 64. Most information of this build comes from rumours of its existence, where it supposedly induced seziures and other effects to playtesters, all thanks to a texture bug which caused the textures to erratically flash and change colours. This build is also the one to supposedly hold the infamous Personalisation A.I. in its rawest form. The verasity of this build is up in the air, and its ties to Nintendo are also tenuous. While Nintendo was developing Super Mario 64 long before the existence of the Ultra 64, some claim that the build wasn't created by Nintendo at all and was instead given to them by an unknown Japanese developer.
The official decompiliation of Super Mario 64 dates September 1994 as when the game truly began development. A build of the game was pictured in the November 22th, 1995 patent for the Ultra 64. Although the contents of this build would go unknown, greyscale images of the castle from this build were shown in the Ultra 64 patent.
Super Mario 64 would release in Japan on June 23th, 1996 to critical acclaim and admiration. Super Mario 64 is commonly cited as revolutionising gaming into the third dimension with its controls and, at the time, excellent camera system. The game would go onto inspire many other games such as Banjo-Kazooie, and incite competition with Crash Bandicoot and Sonic X-treme. The game would release in other countires shortly after, starting with releasing in America on September 29th of the same year.
- See: Super Mario 64 DS
One of the games developed to show of the power of the Nintendo DS system was a remake of Super Mario 64, labelled as Super Mario 64x4 at the time. This build of the game featured four playable characters: Mario, as well as Luigi, Wario and Yoshi. This game was originally going to focus on multiplayer gameplay, but the feature was sized down as the game progressed in development and released as Super Mario 64 DS.
With the introduction of Virtual Console on the Nintendo Wii, many old games would be brought to the console. As one of the first Nintendo 64 games put on the console, Super Mario 64 was brought onto the Wii in America on November 19th, 2006. It would also be brought to the Wii U on April 1st, 2015. Both of the ROMs used in these rereleases supposedly have the personalisation watered down with the intent of hiding the A.I., however illegal emulation has been suspected to potentially revive the A.I..
As many users recount their experiences with Super Mario 64, a few stories start to contradict each other as users see that they remember Super Mario 64 in different ways. This discovery was first relayed on 4chan, with the explanation being that "every copy of Super Mario 64 is personalised". With this relevation, the shady past of Super Mario 64 would be reopened up as discussions about shared nightmares, the hidden 1-up in Whomp's Fortress or others would start to crop up. This led to the creation of the Super Mario 64 Iceberg, and by the end of Spring 2020 the conspiracy theory had spread far and wide on the internet.
In May 2020, a select few users online managed to reverse-engineer Super Mario 64 and manage to recode it in its original language, C. With this, they were able to natively run the game on PC. This is the creation of the infamous PC Port, which allowed for widescreen play, higher poly models and simpler mod support. Soon, the port would be taken down by Nintendo with only launchers requiring a Super Mario 64 ROM remaining.
On July 25th, 2020, a portion of an earlier version of Super Mario 64 was leaked as apart of the Nintendo Gigaleak. This leak revealed many unused levels and assets, many of which were just speculation for the longest time. The most infamous of these revelations was the model of Luigi, found disassembled with unique textures and colour codes still intact within the files.
On September 3rd 2020, Super Mario 64 was announced to be apart of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. This version of the game, which is built off the Shindou version of the game, features higher resolution textures. Super Mario 64's soundtrack will also be present in the game's music player. The collection released September 18th.
- Main article: Personalisation A.I.
Discovered and theorised recently, every copy of Super Mario 64 is personalised. Nintendo implemented an experimental procedure into Super Mario 64 which slightly alters the game to suit the player whose playing it, which is why some players report that there's always something off when playing somebody else's copy of Super Mario 64.
This personalisation at minimum will change the game minorly to suit the player, basing it off of the player's inputs. It will also try to mess with the player by implementing roadblocks unique to their playthrough. This most notably happens with more skilled players. However, the A.I. can change the game in major ways resulting in anomalies. The most infamous of these is the Wario Apparition, an event that interrupts the midpoint of the game with an encounter against the disemboided head of Wario.
Some of these anomalies are actually unused content in the most circulated ROM for the game. It's not truly unused, rather the elements are in place for the A.I. to adapt if it deems it necessary. This includes the mysterious dancing flowers, the unused keys in Big Boo's Haunt or even older enemies like Blargg or Motos.