6. There was a fan-created remake
For fans who have spent two decades loving Super Mario 64 and have longed for an updated version, that dream somewhat came to fruition in 2015 when one fan released a remake, titled Super Mario 64 HD. Created on Unity, a platform that allows anyone to make their own video games provided they have the skills to do so, this version of the game was much smaller than the original. It featured just one level, but it was available to download at no cost.
However, Super Mario 64 HD was also unauthorized and when Nintendo got wind of the game’s existence, they issued a copyright claim and the game was taken down.
While this fan created version of the classic is no longer available to download or play, gameplay footage can still be found on YouTube, if you’re interested in watching a small part of the iconic Super Mario 64 world be explored in high definition.
5. The planned sequel
After the great success of the first game, Nintendo planned to release a Super Mario 64 2, which they hoped would feature the multiplayer mode with Luigi that was planned for the original game. Miyamoto confirmed at the 1997 E3 convention that the game was in the early stages of development and its release was reportedly planned for late 1999. However, the game was intended for use with the Nintendo 64DD, which ended up being a flop.
A disk drive that could be added to the Nintendo 64 and connect to the internet, Nintendo referred to the N64DD as “the first writable bulk data storage device for a modern video game console”. Nintendo sold roughly 15,000 units and had another 85,000 remaining when they decided to pull the plug. As a result, very few games were released for the N64DD and those already in development had to either be transferred to the N64 or other consoles, or – as was the case with Super Mario 64 2 – canceled altogether.
4. The beta version featured a higher-pitched, screechy-voiced Mario
After having a mostly silent Mario in previous games, Nintendo set out to find a new voice for the character and eventually the role went to Charles Martinet, who has been a mainstay in that position ever since. However, the original, beta version of the game did not feature Martinet’s voice. Instead there was a higher-pitched, screechy-voiced Mario who is much more difficult to listen to. Why this hard-on-the-ears voice was initially chosen is unclear, as Martinet had already been voice the stout plumber at trade shows for several years by this point.
It may be as simple as Martinet had not yet done his recordings and this alternate voice was simply chosen as a placeholder for the beta version. Whatever the reason for using this voice initially, Nintendo ultimately pulled it and went with Martinet’s voice for the final version and all our ears thank them for it today.
3. Hidden features after collecting all 120 stars in the game
Another one of the benefits of the open concept of this game was that it allowed users to revisit different areas after completing the game and unlock small features that previously were unavailable. After collecting all 120 of the game’s stars, users are able to go up to the roof of Princess Peach’s castle. Here they can meet and have a brief chat with Yoshi, who rewards Mario with 100 free lives. That isn’t the only unlockable feature, though. If you go and defeat Bowser a second time, you’ll notice that he gives you a different message this time around.
Another small feature involves the penguin that users raced down the Cool Cool Mountain. If users confront him for a rematch with all 120 stars in hand, this time they’ll notice that he is much larger in size and thus much harder to defeat. These and other small intricacies made it so that game could still be fun, even after you thought you had accomplished everything.
2. The true meaning of “L is real 2401”
One mystery that has surrounded this game for the past twenty years involves a message that appears on a statue in Princess Peach’s Castle. The blurred lettering, which from one angle reads as “Eternal Star”, can also be read from another as “L is real 2401”. This has led to much speculation from fans about what the message could possibly mean.
Some have speculated that it was a key to unlocking Luigi and that if a player collected 2401 coins they could play the game as Mario’s brother. Meanwhile, others have suggested that the message was a reference to Luigi’s presence in the Paper Mario game and its release date of 2/4/01 (the actual release date was 2/5/01).
Fans finally got an answer to this mystery a few months ago, when one fan shared a letter on social media that they had received from Nintendo in 1998 after writing to them to inquire about the obscure message. As it turns out, it was just a meaningless joke by the game’s programmers, intended to confuse gamers.
1. The actor who voiced Mario had no prior knowledge of the character
As previously mentioned, Charles Martinet was chosen to be the new voice of Mario and portrayed the role and various trade shows prior to recording the voice for Super Mario 64. What may surprise you, however, is that Martinet was not a huge Mario fan prior to landing the role and, in fact, had never even heard of him.
A former law student turned actor, Martinet had been told by a friend about an audition in which you “talk to people as a plumber”. Martinet arrived for the audition at the last minute and was told to read the part as “an Italian plumber from Brooklyn”. His first thought was to go with a stereotypical, deep voiced, Italian accent, but instead decided to channel the William Shakespeare character Petruchio whom he had portrayed in a production of Taming of the Shrew.
Martinent read for the part until the producers ran out of tape and was immediately given the job. Martinet’s first recording of the voice in a video game actually came in Mario’s Game Gallery, but it was his portrayal in Super Mario 64 that first brought his voice to the mainstream public.
Are there any secrets from Super Mario 64 that we missed? Share them in the comments!