MIPS (also known as M. I. P. S.) is a character in Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64. He's a rabbit that can be found in the basement of Princess Peach's Castle. Mario meets him twice (once when he has 15 Power Stars and again when he has 50 Stars) throughout the whole game and if he managed to catch the rabbit, he would obtain two Secret Power Stars. MIPS is not seen in the game after this. In the remake Super Mario 64 DS, MIPS doesn't appear, but various color-coded Rabbits based on him are in the game. They do not give up Power Stars. Instead, they give up keys to unlock minigames in the Rec. Room. Two of Mario's, one of Wario's, and one of Yoshi's Rabbits can be found in the same location that MIPS was found in the original game. In addition, there are also eight Glowing Rabbits which randomly appear in place of the normal ones and be caught as any character. Catching them unlocks the white door in the character selection room, containing a Secret Secret Power Star in a manner similar to MIPS.
Along with Mario, MIPS was the first character created for Super Mario 64. MIPS was used extensively in early Nintendo 64 test simulations and ultimately made it into the final game because the development team liked him so much.
MIPS also makes a cameo appearance in Mario Party 3 in Woody Woods, where several can be seen gathering near the item shop. MIPS appears in three colors: orange, yellow, and pink, which are colors matching the rabbits that replace MIPS in Super Mario 64 DS (the only absent color is green). The rabbits in Super Mario 64 DS are also internally named "MIP" with their key known as a "MIP Key", suggesting a connection.
MIPS was initially a character made for Nintendo 64 test runs, and wasn't intended to even be part of Super Mario 64. In fact, he was one of the first characters, along with Mario, that the developers created. They liked the rabbit so much, though, that they decided to include him in the game, even though it was a minor role.
His name is an acronym named after the measure of a computer's processing speed - Millions of Instructions Per Second. MIPS is also the underlying assembly language that the hardware of the N64 runs on. MIPS in this case stands for Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages.
In the game, the character says the following:
"Yeeoww! Unhand me, brute! I'm late, so late, I must make haste! This shiny thing? Mine! It's mine. Finders, keepers, losers... Late, late, late... Ouch! Take it then! A gift from Bowser, it was. Now let me be! I have a date! I cannot be late for tea!"
- MIPS is named after the MIPS (Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages) microprocessor, the type of processor used in the Nintendo 64.
- Mario was originally able to throw MIPS, but this was removed.
- Although not quoted directly, several of MIPS's lines reference the White Rabbit from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The tea portion could also be a reference to The Hatter in the same book, who had an unparalleled appreciation for the beverage.
- Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros. suggests that MIPS is Princess Peach's pet rabbit.
- Star Bunnies from Super Mario Galaxy and its successor are similar to MIPS as they both run away from Mario and can give up Power Stars. The rabbits from Super Mario 3D World behave like them too, but give Green Stars instead.
- MIPS can be picked up like a normal object when Mario collects the Star, but this was changed in the DS version, as if Mario tries to pick up one of the rabbits based on MIPS, they just tell him to leave them alone, same thing with the other characters.
- Shigeru Miyamoto Interview from Nintendo Power (October 1996) at Miyamoto Shrine
- Super Mario 64 DS internal object name (MIP)
- Super Mario 64 DS internal object name (OBJ_MIP_KEY)