Super Mario Statue

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Fun Super Mario 64 Facts

Super Mario 64 may have lifted design ideas from an obscure PlayStation game.
The world is full of winners and losers. Marios and Crocs.

As we discussed in our article about Star Fox, a small independent British developer named Argonaut Software was largely responsible for Nintendo’s move towards 3D gaming in the mid-’90s. They taught Nintendo how to make 3D games, designed the Super FX chip, and were the programming muscle behind Star Fox. Super Mario Statue

After working successfully with Nintendo for years, Argonaut pitched the idea to take 3D gaming to the next level by creating an ambitious 3D platformer, the likes of which had never been seen before. The game would have starred Yoshi, and, according to Argonaut founder Jez San, the proposed game’s look and structure was very similar to that of Mario 64. Surprisingly, Nintendo rejected the pitch, which lead to the end of the fruitful Argonaut-Nintendo relationship.

Argonaut would shop their Yoshi game around to other publishers, and, ultimately, it would be appear on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn as Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. Unfortunately, the time it took to find a new publisher meant that Nintendo beat Argonaut to market with Mario 64 by around a year, so Croc ended up looking like an imitation, even though the exact opposite was true. Now, obviously, Nintendo infused their game with their own special magic, and Mario 64 is overall a much better game than Croc, but still, it’s interesting to know that original spark of inspiration came from outside Shigeru Miyamoto’s sprightly noggin. Super Mario Statue

Super Mario 64 wasn’t just the Italian plumber’s first 3D adventure, it was also the first time we heard the guy’s voice. Sure, Mario spoke in cartoons and commercials, where he was usually given a husky Brooklyn accent, but he’d always been the strong silent type in-game. Eventually, Nintendo went with a sort of mama mia-version of Mickey Mouse, courtesy of voice actor Charles Martinet, which some Nintendo fans weren’t crazy about. Little did they know what they were almost subjected to. Mario’s original voice, which you hear in the above beta footage of Mario 64, was ear-poppingly shrill. Basically, he sounded like Toad dialed up another half-dozen notches on the unbearableness scale. We dodged a major bullet, folks.

Mario 64 was initially going to focus on split-screen multiplayer.
Mario has a nasty habit of leaving his brother at home when it’s time for a 3D adventure.

Mario 64 packed in a lot of impressive stuff for its time, but one thing it definitely lacked was Mario’s dorky green brother Luigi. Well, it turns out the game was going to be a true Super Mario Bros. experience, with two players being able to play as Mario and Luigi split-screen style. There were even plans to make stages where the two players would start in different parts of the stage and have to find their way to one another. Ultimately, though, just getting one bro up and moving around smoothly proved to be enough of a challenge, so multiplayer was chopped. In the end, it was 13 more years before co-op Mario platforming became a reality with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Super Mario Statue

The game was going to feature a rideable horse for Mario.
Mario got on his horse in one of those Mario & Sonic Olympics games, but obviously they don’t count.

Yes, that’s right, the were plans for Mario to ride a goddamn horse in Super Mario 64. No, not Yoshi, a horse. It didn’t end up panning out for Mario 64, but Miyamoto was apparently so stuck on the idea that he insisted horse-riding be a thing in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. So yeah, it turns out Epona was actually a Mario hand-me-down. Super Mario Statue

The classic Mario Bros. flagpoles were also going to be present.
Super Mario 64 actually broke with Mario tradition in a lot of ways. Unlike past games, there were no time limits, Super Mushrooms, and no flagpoles to mark the end of a stage. Well, initially, the flagpoles were in the game. Eventually, the designers decided to take the poles out, because that one specific goal would encourage players to rush to the end, and they wanted Mario 64 to be about exploration and collecting doodads. Super Mario Statue

Mario 64 was originally designed using Sega controllers.
Sega’s “hubcap with buttons” 3D pad controller.

Mario 64 began development around two years before its release in mid-1994. Back then, the Nintendo 64 was still a glint in Nintendo eye, with neither the system’s final hardware or controller being decided on. Early on, Mario 64 was developed on Onyx computers, and because the N64 controller hadn’t been finalized, the developers used modified Sega controllers (likely a version of the Sega Saturn 3D pad used for Nights Into Dreams) to control the game. Eventually, after nearly 100 prototypes, the N64 controller would be finalized, but the fact remains: One of the quintessential Nintendo games was originally controlled by a Sega game pad. Super Mario Statue mario bowser figure

The original plan was for Mario 64 to contain as many as 72 different stages.
The Princess’ castle was originally going to require a lot more rooms.

Mario 64 is a meaty game, particularly considering it all fit on an 8 MB cartridge, but it was supposed to be much bigger, or at least more varied. During the development of Mario 64, Miyamoto and co-director Takashi Tezuka claimed to have 32 stages in the works, with plans for at least 40 more. And those numbers didn’t even include bonus stages! Unfortunately, Nintendo ran head-first into that 8 MB cartridge limit, so the final game only had 15 stages, as well as a handful of Bowser courses. In order to pump up the game’s length, Nintendo instead focused on exploration, and tasked players with tackling different missions within the same level, and thus Mario 64‘s then-unique structure was born. Super Mario Statue

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