26 years after the launch of Super Mario 64, VHS tape footage has revealed that Luigi was a planned playable character in the game. The tape comes from a video spotted on YouTube which was uploaded last month. The video is a compilation of footage from the 1995 Nintendo Japanese Space World show where Super Mario 64 debuted for the first time.
If you blink you’ll miss it but there’s a very short shot of a TV screen where Luigi is seen as a playable character in the game.
The authenticity of the footage seems to be genuine. It also confirms what game director Shigeru Miyamoto said a while back. He confirmed that Luigi was originally intended to appear as a second playable character in Super Mario 64. In fact, Miyamoto claims Mario and Luigi were both playable at the same time suggesting Super Mario 64 featured a co-op game mode.
Miyamoto says Super Mario 64 features a room made of simple LEGO-like blocks where Mario and Luigi could run around in there, climb slopes, jump around etc.
The second time we caught wind of this statement was in a 2020 game leak which saw source code for Super Mario 64 leak online. The game files also suggested that Luigi had a game model and that it was fully functional.
Miyamoto says that he decided to drop Luigi as a playable character due to players only having one controller at the time. Super Mario 64 launched quite close to the release of the Nintendo 64 and he believed that not many players would own a second controller.
“We were going to include him in a Mario Bros. style minigame, but because most users probably only have that one controller when they first buy their N64, for that reason (and others) we decided not to,” Miyamoto said at the time. I think it would have been great if we’d been able to make it two-player, with Mario and Luigi. But if we had done it wrong, it would have turned into a fighting game or something (laughs), so we’re leaving that challenge for next time.”
The character was removed from the game right before the launch due to memory issues on the console.
We finally have a glimpse of what the early multiplayer mode for Super Mario 64 looked like! This is also the first time we have seen Luigi’s SM64 model outside of the Nintendo Leaks! Take a look! pic.twitter.com/Ev3R7NDBtp
— Marionova (@Marionova64) December 15, 2023