Super Mario 64 was a massive hit when it first released on the Nintendo 64 console back in 1996, as is evidenced by the fact that it was the best-selling title for the console. Many players were experiencing 3D gaming worlds for the first time. Mario 64 was one of the best games of that generation to show off the new capabilities of this larger exploration space.
As popularity for the game boomed, so too did the myths and conspiracy theories surrounding what could be discovered in-game. After all, the internet wasn't nearly as helpful as it is today, so Super Mario 64 became the subject of playground lore.
To help keep you informed, we've listed the most popular and most likely myths and conspiracy theories and explanations for each.
Super Mario 64 Myths, lore and conspiracy theories
A popular meme known as the Super Mario 64 Conspiracy Iceberg shows just how many theories there are with the most likely ones appearing at the top of an iceberg and the more far fetched ones sinking further and further into the depths below it.
L is real 2401
THEY ARE FINDING LUIGI 24 YEARS AND ONE MONTH AFTER SUPER MARIO 64 CAME OUT
L IS REAL 2401 pic.twitter.com/8Uu7LSeSn7THEY ARE FINDING LUIGI 24 YEARS AND ONE MONTH AFTER SUPER MARIO 64 CAME OUT
L IS REAL 2401 pic.twitter.com/8Uu7LSeSn7— 🌟SpotArt🌟 (COMMS CLOSED)🌟 (@SpotartStation) July 25, 2020July 25, 2020
At the back of the castle in the garden area, there's a sizeable star-shaped statue with a sign on it. The text on this sign is blurry, but players came to believe that it read "L is real 2401." This launched a million myths about how Luigi was waiting to be discovered and unlocked within the game.
It turns out these theories were kind of true. We learned with the 2020 Nintendo Gigaleak that the source code for Mario 64 included models for Luigi. The title had been intended to be a two-player game, but the constraints of the console prevented this from becoming a reality.
However, several people have created mods and hacks that allow players to play as Luigi while running around Super Mario 64. And then, when the Super Mario 64 DS remake hit stores, it included the ability to play as Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi.
SpaceWorld '95 beta
Several demo builds were created before arriving at the final version of Super Mario 64 we know today. One of these prototypes was shared with the public at E3 and other trade shows during the game's development in 1996. There were several elements and features not seen in the end product.
This may be where the image of Wario's ghostly head, known as "The Wario Apparition," came from. Many also think this version might include Luigi. As such, die-hard fans have been dying to get their hands on this older build, but it seems to be lost to the universe.
Whomp's Fortress Tower 1-up
One of the big things tossed around during playground gossip was that there was a hidden 1-Up in Whomp's Fortress Tower. It turns out this was, in fact, true, though players had to punch down a section of the tower's wall to get to it, which made it harder for many players to find.
Suffice it to say that Mario can get thrown into a Parallel Universes (PU) when players move him out of bounds and activate a collision glitch in certain areas of Super Mario 64. If this is something you'd like to learn about from a more technical angle, the video above explains the math behind PU glitches in Super Mario 64.
In 2016, pannenkoek2012 uploaded several videos to YouTube that show him exploiting the "Half A-Press" method. Basically, his goal is to use the A button as few times as possible to make it through each level. To do this, he starts the level by having the A button already pressed down. You can learn more about this from his own lips in the video above.
Bob-omb Battlefield bridge hanging
If Mario goes underneath the first ramp/bridge in the Bob-omb Battlefield course, he can hang around monkey bar style. It doesn't give players any advantages but its a strange little thing included in the game.
This refers to a Coin that pannenkoek2012 found within the ground of Tiny Huge Island. It drove the internet mad, trying to find ways to get it but was eventually deemed impossible to reach unless players used cheats.
Once again, we owe this Impossible Goomba discovery to pannenkoek2012, though he refers to it as the Mystery Goomba. In 2016, he discovered that a Goomba spawns at the bottom of the Bowser in the Sky level at the point where Mario dies if he falls that far down. The thing is, this Goomba only appears for one single frame.
This, of course, lead people to try to figure out how to kill it and acquire the Coin inside of it. However, pannenkoek2012 determined it was impossible to kill.
Super Mario 64 Myths, lore and conspiracy theories
There are hundreds of other myths surrounding the original Super Mario 64, but the ones listed above are the most commonly circulated. Do you have any theories that you'd like to discuss? Any myths that we didn't cover that you think are important? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.