Super Mario 64 (JP), often abbreviated as SM64, is a platformer action-adventure game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. The game is considered to be one of the most influential titles from the fifth generation of video games, and was released in 1996 as a launch title for the Nintendo 64 alongside Pilotwings 64, which helped drive initial sales of the console. As of January 7, 2017, it has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, and is the best-selling Nintendo 64 game of all time. It is also the second most popular game on the Wii's Virtual Console after Super Mario Bros.
The first Mario game to feature 3D graphics, Super Mario 64 introduced many moves that would be used in almost every later Super Mario title, such as triple-jumping, ground-pounding, long-jumping, diving, and somersaulting. Punching and kicking were also introduced, but would not be used in any later main titles. Though not the first 3D platforming game, Super Mario 64 codified many of the controls and designs conventions of the genre. It is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest and most important games of all time. In 1996, there was a Nintendo 64DD disk version of the game shown at Shoshinkai 1996.
Due to its immense success in the general gaming market and its substantial legacy, an enhanced remake of the game was released as a launch title for the Nintendo DS nearly a decade later in 2004. The remake features extra content such as the introduction of three protagonists to accompany Mario with a twist on the story plot. The original game had also unsurprisingly, made its way on the Virtual Console service of the future-gen consoles over the next decades. There was also a sequel called Super Mario 64 2 planned for the Nintendo 64DD in 1999, but it was canceled due to the 64DD's commercial failure. A Shindo Taio version of the original game was released in Japan on July 18, 1997, that included Rumble Pak support. This game is the same as the International release of the game, as it retains all of the glitch fixes as well as graphical and sound changes (except Mario calling Bowser by his name in the "So long-eh Bowser" voice clip, which was changed to "buh-bye"). The only differences other than one voice clip are the language being changed back to Japanese, a new title screen Easter Egg, fixing of the "backwards long jump" glitch and the Rumble Pak support.
Super Mario 64 was re-released digitally on the Wii's Virtual Console service on November 19, 2006, and again on the Wii U's Virtual Console service on April 1, 2015, making it and Donkey Kong 64 the first two Nintendo 64 games to be released on the Wii U. It is also one of the launch titles for the Nintendo Switch Online. Super Mario 64 popularized Charles Martinet's portrayal as Mario and Princess Toadstool's name as Peach in the West, and made them both series standards.
The 2017 Nintendo Switch entry, Super Mario Odyssey, borrows some inspiration from Super Mario 64 by featuring a platforming style returning to the Mario series' roots, of exploring a world in a non-linear fashion.
Super Mario 64 was part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars for the Nintendo Switch, along with Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, and was released on September 18, 2020 for a limited release and ended on March 31, 2021 as part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Event.
The player controls Mario in a variety of open environments of varying size and complexity, ranging from a small cubic room to large self-contained worlds populated by enemies, items, and friendly NPCs who can either provide limited assistance to Mario or are subject of one of the game's tasks.
To progress, the player must collect Power Stars by completing a variety of missions, ranging from tasks such as defeating a specific enemy, completing a puzzle, collecting a set amount of items, or besting a NPC in a friendly competition. There are a total of 120 Power Stars in the game, though only 70 need to be collected in order to complete the game. The Power Stars are split between the fifteen main courses, nine secret courses, and other objectives. The main courses contain six numbered missions each plus a hidden Power Star for collecting 100 Coins. Though missions for a level are numbered, most missions can be performed out of order. Other missions, however, can only be completed by selecting a specific scenario from the course selection screen, as to prompt the appearance or disappearance of a character or object needed to complete the task.
The game is primarily set inside and around Peach's Castle, itself divided in multiple rooms containing portals (most represented as paintings) that lead to the game's courses. Initially, the player can only access one of the paintings and a limited section of the castle, but as the player collects Power Stars, the player will be able to unlock doors leading to the other courses and open up other sections of the castle by collecting a certain number of stars and completing a Bowser level.
Also for the first time in a Mario platformer (excluding Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which is usually considered more of a Yoshi platformer), there is absolutely no time limit at all. With the exception of a few minor challenges, you're able to take your time on the stages, which are essentially non-linear compared to the previous titles which always have a set course.
Fighting bosses are once again included, with Bowser being the primary antagonist, appearing three times with each fight similar to the previous one, though slightly more challenging. There are many other bosses as well, with some being more notable than others. Major ones that are well known to this day include Big Bob-omb, Eyerok, and Whomp King.
Obstacles that occur throughout most of the stages include enemies and environmental hurdles that will attempt to halt your progress. For example, the fire-based levels will feature fire based obstacles including flaming projectiles and molten lava that will dramatically and quickly reduce your health.
|Mario||Mario, the only playable character in this game, has many new moves in this new game as well as some moves from the previous games. Since this is his first ever 3-D platformer, he can wall-jump, triple-jump, and do a whole lot of other things that he now uses in the current games.|
|Dorrie||This friendly sea dragon helps Mario out by getting across the water in the Hazy Maze Cave area to get a Power Star and even a secret course.|
|MIPS||Appears when Mario gets 15 Stars and gives Mario an extra Star if he catches him in the castle basement. He also appears in the same place and does the same thing again when you have 50 Stars.|
|Princess Peach||The Princess has gotten trapped inside the castle walls, now Mario will have to save her by collecting Power Stars to defeat Bowser.|
|Toad||Toads will give Mario a handful of hints along the way and will also give him a secret Power Star sometimes.|
|Yoshi||After you collect 120 Power Stars, Yoshi will give Mario one hundred 1-Up Mushrooms atop the Castle and an upgraded Triple Jump and then jump into the waterfall. Yoshi makes an error "Mario!!! It that really you???" instead of "Mario!!! Is that really you???|
- Bill Blasters
- Big Steelies
- Big Boos
- Bullet Bills
- Chain Chomps
- Fire Guys
- Fire Spitters
- Giant Goombas
- Heave Hos
- Killer Chairs
- Klepto the Condor
- Koopa Troopas
- Mad Piano
- Micro Goombas
- Monty Moles
- Mr. Blizzards
- Mr. Is
- Piranha Plants
- Pushy Walls
- Tox Boxes
- Venus Fly Traps
|Big Bob-omb||Big Bob-omb, also known as King Bob-omb. This huge Bob-omb is at the top of the mountain in Bob-omb Battlefield. You'll have to get behind him, pick him up, and slam him into the ground three times before he gives his Power Star up.|
|Big Boo||A gigantic boo in Big Boo's Haunt that has to be hit 3 times (getting smaller after each hit) before he'll give you the Power Star.|
|Big Bully||Big Bully appears in Lethal Lava Land as a Boss that you have to hit to knock over the edge and into the lava, a certain amount of times, like the regular-sized Bullies.|
|Bowser||Bowser, the main antagonist of the game and series, has trapped Princess Peach inside the walls and he spreads the Power Stars throughout many of Mushroom World's lands. Now Mario will have to stop Bowser and save Princess Peach, along with the Power Stars. Mario will fight Bowser three times, once in "Bowser in the Dark World", again in "Bowser in the Fire Sea", and one more time in "Bowser in the Sky".|
|Eyerok||A pair of giant stone hands with an eye in each of its palms appearing only in Shifting Sand Land. Mario has to hit each eye three times to earn a Star.|
|Whomp King||This big Whomp is the king of all Whomps. He waits at the top of the fortress in Whomp's Fortress. The way to defeat him is to wait until he slams down, then you ground pound him on the back.|
|Wiggler||A giant, angry caterpillar that appears in the huge side of Tiny-Huge Island and must be jump on three times to defeat it.|
|Princess Peach's Castle Courtyard||A small, grassy area behind the castle filled with regular-sized Boos. You must defeat the Boo larger than the others in order for it to drop a cage, leading Big Boo's Haunt. In the DS version, if you kill 8 regular Boos you can a Star and a new secret area on the right called Battle Fort was added and is accessible to anyone, but Yoshi, as the entrance is under Brick Blocks which he can't break.|
|Bob-omb Battlefield||A big battlefield with the only Chain-Chomp, King Bob-omb, a big mountain, and more.|
|Whomp's Fortress||A huge tower with King Whomp at the top. Once he's defeated, a tower will replace him. Bill Blasters, Whomps, and Thwomps are here as well, so try not to get squished.|
|Jolly Roger Bay||A bay of a sunken pirate ship at the bottom. Unagi the Eel also lives here. After completing the first mission, the sunken ship reaches upwards again.|
|Cool, Cool Mountain||A big, snowy mountain where the Penguin lives. There are Spindrifts as well in which when you step on them, Mario starts spinning.|
|Big Boo's Haunt||A haunted house where Big Boo and regular Boos live. There are also household items such as Mad Piano, Bookends, Moving Chairs and more.|
|Hazy Maze Cave||A cave with a toxic cloud floating in its maze. Dorrie also lives here.|
|Lethal Lava Land||A lava-covered world with a volcano in the middle, infested with Bullies and two Big Bullies.|
|Shifting Sand Land||A desert with 4 pillars surrounding a pyramid. Eyerok is found in the pyramid. Klepto the Vulture fly around here too.|
|Dire, Dire Docks||Docks where you find Bowser's Sub. The area is also full of marine life, and a whirlpool. There are also sharks, Bubbas, and treasure chests.|
|Snowman's Land||A snowy land full of snowmen. It also has a giant snowman in the center. Moneybags are here as well and the Chill Bully lives here.|
|Wet-Dry World||A world with varying levels of water. There are Skeeters, Heave Hos, and a Chuckya at the top of the tower and a secret downtown area.|
|Tall, Tall Mountain||A very tall mountain with a long winding path to the top. Ukiki the Monkey lives here and steals your cap when you speak to him. There is a secret slide as well.|
|Tiny-Huge Island||An island that can be tiny or huge, which can be changed by entering a warp pipe. It is also Koopa the Quick's home.|
|Tick Tock Clock||A level that's full of shifting gears, rotating cubes, and turning platforms that changes time depending what time the painting is entered at.|
|Rainbow Ride||The 15th and final regular level in the game. A level in the sky, with flying carpets in the color of rainbows leading from one platform to another.|
|Bowser in the Dark World||A dark world where Bowser is first fought. There are fire traps, Amps and Goombas.|
|Bowser in the Fire Sea||A fiery sea of lava where you fight Bowser for the second time. Bullies, Goombas, fire traps, and many more traps are here.|
|Bowser in the Sky||A large series of platforms in the sky where you fight Bowser for the last time. There is one pillar that has a picture, Mario, fighting Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros.|
|Tower of the Wing Cap||A tower where you find the Red ? Switch that activates the Wing Caps.|
|Cavern of the Metal Cap||A cavern where you find the Green ? Switch that activates the Metal Caps.|
|Vanish Cap Under the Moat||An area under the moat outside the castle where you find the Blue ? Switch that activates the Vanish Caps. You must drain the moat first.|
|The Princess's Secret Slide||A secret slide hidden in Peach's Castle.|
|The Secret Aquarium||Located in the room with the Jolly Roger Bay painting, this is a secret aquarium full of fish where you must collect 8 Red Coins.|
|Wing Mario Over the Rainbow||A free flying stage set in the sky, opposite the entrance of Rainbow Ride, consisting of nothing, but clouds. It's one of the hardest levels in the game. If you fall, you'll have to end up in the lake outside the castle and climb all the way back up to the third floor instead of losing a life.|
Note: The Castle Secret Stars missions have no official names.
Super Mario 64 received critical acclaim, garnering a score of 9.8 from IGN, 9.4 from GameSpot, and 9.75 from Game Informer. Although it was criticized for its camera system and difficulty, it was praised for its graphics, level design, soundtrack, and the Mario series shift from 2D to 3D. Sometime after the game's release, rumors about secret glitches, Stars, and hidden characters circulated. Among the most famous is the widely publicized hoax that Luigi was hidden and fully playable, causing bogus rumors to circulate on how to unlock him.
Super Mario 64 is the best-selling game for the Nintendo 64, selling 11.62 million copies worldwide, as of December 31, 2009.
Super Mario 64 not only maintained the Nintendo precedent of releasing a Mario game at launch, but it also provided the system with one of the greatest games in video game history. It was Nintendo's first foray in 3-D and a game without precedent, and the successful translation of the quintessentially 2-D Mario gameplay mechanics into a 3D world was considered a huge triumph.
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- Alongside Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Odyssey, it is the only game in the 3D Mario series, to actually take place in the Mushroom Kingdom (Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel take place in outer space, Super Mario 3D World takes place in the Sprixee Kingdom and Super Mario Sunshine takes place on a tropical island).
- The game was featured on the cover of two volumes of Nintendo Power: Volume 85 and Volume 88.
- Super Mario Odyssey didn't physically feature Luigi until the February 2018 update, save for the Luigi Hat and Suit for Mario to wear.
- Some of Mario's voice clips in this game were later reused in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee with enhanced pitching, as well as Luigi's voice clips in the first two Smash games, but sped up.
- As the best-selling game on the Nintendo 64 with 11.91 million copies sold globally, Super Mario 64 is the only game to surpass the 10 million-mark.
- It is also the best-selling game in the fifth generation.
- Super Mario 64 was one of the games featured at The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012. The game won voting in the "action" category for the Nintendo 64, beating out Banjo-Kazooie and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.
- Like most Nintendo 64 games at the time, Super Mario 64 does not use the full 64-bit capabilities of the console, but actually runs in 32-bit.
- The music which plays while climbing the endless stairs is a Shepard tone, a sequence of notes which are made to sound as if they are infinitely ascending in tone when in fact they are looping.
- Super Mario 64 is one of the few mainstream Mario games, along with Super Mario Sunshine, to not have a single reference to Luigi and Wario. However, they are unlockable playable characters in the game's DS remake.
- Super Mario 64 marks the first time that Mario, Peach, and Bowser receive a revamped appearance from the original 2D artwork to the N64 3D art direction of the Mario franchise.
- Mario's method of defeating Bowser in this game is identical to the one he used in The Great Mission To Save Princess Peach. He also used this technique during their battle in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode Mario Meets Koop-Zilla.
- When Super Mario 64 was being localized for the English speaking countries, many small changes were made. For example, Princess Toadstool Peach never reads her letter aloud in the Japanese version of Super Mario 64. In 1997, Super Mario 64 was re-released in Japan as the "Shindou edition", along with Wave Race 64. It featured all the changes from the English game, plus the Rumble Pak support and minor glitch fixes.
- In the original (non-Rumble) Japanese version of the game, the portrait for Jolly Roger Bay depicts several bubbles, while the international and Shindou versions show the sunken ship at the bottom of the level. Super Mario 64 DS reverts to the original bubble painting for all the regions.
- If a second Nintendo 64 controller is connected to the Nintendo 64, the second player can control the camera while Peach congratulates Mario, as well as during the credits.
- This is one of the two games that marks the first time Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Toad receive a revamped appearance from the original hand-drawn era to the N64 3-D art direction of the Mario franchise. The other being Mario Kart.
- In North America, Super Mario 64 was released three days before the launch of the Nintendo 64 system itself, much similar to Luigi's Mansion which was released one day before the release of the Nintendo GameCube.
- In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Wrinkly Kong is sometimes playing Super Mario 64 as heard from the Nintendo 64.
- The title screen of the game features the ability to grab Mario's face with the hand cursor and distort it in various bizarre ways.
- In the beta level, Mario's third jump in his triple-jump would cause him to do his helicopter spin which was eventually only available to when he jumped on certain enemies.
- Boo's voice in this game is just Bowser's voice sped up at different rates for each size of Boo, respectively.
- This is the very first Mario game that the Super Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, and Invincibility Stars did not make any appearances.
- Two textures in the game are reused in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. The perpetually locked doors in Wet-Dry World appear as common doors throughout Hyrule, and the plaque that appears in the gardens of Peach's Castle also appears Dodongo's Cavern.
- Super Mario 64 was originally planned for the SNES, but it was moved to the Nintendo 64, as Shigeru Miyamoto said that it was not because of the SNES limitations, but because the Nintendo 64 had more buttons for gameplay.
- Super Mario 64 for Wii U Virtual Console on the Nintendo of Japan website. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Nintendo Direct Presentation - 01.04.2015. Posted to YouTube by Nintendo of Europe on April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- GameSpot - 15 Most Influential Games of All Time
- GameFaqs - The top 10 games Ever
- Edge Online - The 100 Best Games to Play Today
- Official Nintendo Magazine - 100 Best Nintendo Games
- Wikipedia article
- Super Mario 64 (Wii U) at Nintendo.com
- Super Mario 64 DS (Wii U) at Nintendo.com
- Super Mario 64 at Virtual Console Reviews
- Super Mario 64 at Wdell.com's Beyond 120 Star section
- Official Super Mario 64 Japanese website