In the room of the castle where the endless stairs lie, the developers used what is called a "shepard's tone" with the background music, where the tones of the notes are repeated in a specific manner so as to create the illusion that their pitches are consecutively getting higher, even though they're really not. This is, of course, in reference to the fact the stairs themselves are also endless, and this effect is no longer present by the time you get enough Stars to progress up the stairs normally.
In an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto about Super Mario 3D Land, he mentioned that Super Mario 64 was originally to have a flagpole in each stage which would signify the end of the level. However, he wanted players to be free to explore the world however they wanted and forge their own nonlinear paths instead and the idea was scrapped.
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Super Mario 64 is the best-selling Nintendo 64 game of all time, selling over 11.6 million copies, which is about 4% of all N64 games ever sold.
MIPS the Rabbit is named after MIPS (Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages), which was used in the Nintendo 64. Most of his lines reference the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland.
Super Mario 64 marks a first for the Mario series: the first 3D Mario game.
Boo's laugh in this game is actually just Bowser's laugh played at a higher tempo.
During development, Super Mario 64 was actually intended to be the series's first 3D co-op game. The idea was eventually scrapped due to hardware restrictions, leaving Super Mario 3D World many years later to claim that title.
Luigi was originally going to be in the game, but was cut. For years people believed Luigi was hidden in the game, which was false.
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Contrary to popular belief, this was not the first time in America where a Mario game called the princess Peach, it was in fact Yoshi's Safari. However this is when her named changed to Peach in the US.
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The game took less than two years to develop.
Development of the game's depth perception was difficult for developers. To solve this problem, the team added shadows directly beneath each of the game's objects, regardless of source lighting. Developer Yoshiaki Koizumi called this "an iron-clad necessity which might not be realistic, but it’s much easier to play."
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was being developed at the same time as Super Mario 64. Because development of Ocarina was taking longer, some of the puzzles from that game were instead used for Mario 64.
During development, Shigeru Miyamoto designed upwards of 40 different courses for Super Mario 64, but the final game contains only 15 courses due to space limitations.
Charles Martinet auditioned for the voice of Mario at a trade show at the last minute when the crew were putting away their equipment. He asked if he could read for the part. They allowed him to audition and instructed "You're an Italian plumber from Brooklyn." Martinet read his part in a low, raspy voice very similar to Mario's voice as heard on the cartoon series for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. He changed his voice to be more soft-hearted and friendly after thinking to himself that the previous voice he was using would be too harsh for children to hear.
Leaving Mario idle for an extended period of time causes him to fall asleep. If the player does not input any controls for several minutes, Mario can be seen flopping down onto his side and, eventually, mumbling in his sleep about pasta.
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Super Mario 64 was a worldwide launch title for the Nintendo 64.
The game was first proposed for the Super Nintendo under the working title: Super Mario FX. It would've made use of the Super FX chip used for the original StarFox game. The decision was made to move development to the Nintendo 64 because the controller had more buttons for gameplay.
According to game programmer Jez San, Mario 64 was influenced by a prototype of a cancelled 3D platform game starring Yoshi, which was being developed by Argonaut Software. That game later became Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.
The design of the camera and controlling its movement took most of the game's development time to complete. Free-roam areas allow the player to control the camera while fixed, linear paths lock the camera in set-positions.
The highest priority for the game's development was Mario's controls and movements. The development team was working on Mario's movements on a simple grid with no graphics. The levels had not yet been designed until Mario's movements were perfected.
The first test for Mario's controls and physics involved Mario interacting with a golden rabbit called "MIPS", named after the Nintendo 64's MIPS architecture CPU. This rabbit was included in the final version of the game.
Mario 64 was originally being developed as 2-player game and would feature Luigi. The 2-player mode would've been split-screen and both players would start at separate points in the castle and work their way through the game together. The 2-player feature and Luigi were both later removed from the game as the developers could not get the gameplay to work properly.
It is publicly known that the "Boo" ghosts are based on assistant director Takashi Tezuka's wife. Shigeru Miyamoto commented on this: "She is very quiet normally, but one day she exploded, maddened by all the time Tezuka spent at work. In the game, there is now a character which shrinks when Mario looks at it, but when Mario turns away, it will grow large and menacing."
The first Mario game to feature the voice of Charles Martinet was actually Mario's Game Gallery released for PC and MAC computers in 1995, though only in the US. Super Mario 64 on the other hand was the game that players identified Martinet's voice with the titular character.
Mario: Mama mia!
Mario: It's-ah me, Mario!
Peach: Dear Mario, please come to the castle. I've baked a cake for you. Yours truly, Princess Toadstool (Peach).
Bowser: Welcome! No one's home. Now scram - and don't come back! Gwa ha ha!
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Mario: So long, Bowser!
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So Long-eh Bowser!
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Bob-omb Buddy: Hi! I'll prepare the cannon for you!
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Connection to Other Media
"The Pit And The Pendulums" star is named after a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.
The "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" star is named after the famous song from The Wizard of Oz.
If you look carefully on the pillars in the final level, you'll notice that they have an 8-bit engraving of Mario fighting Bowser on them, referencing the first Super Mario Bros. game on the NES.
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