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26 years after its release, the first ever footage appearing to show an early Super Mario 64 multiplayer mode with Luigi has been discovered.
The footage was spotted in a video quietly uploaded to YouTube last month, which contains rare VHS footage showing Nintendo’s 1995 Japanese Space World show, where it showcased the Nintendo 64 for the first time.
One seconds-long snippet of footage appears to show off-screen gameplay of both Mario and Luigi in an early version of Super Mario 64.
If authentic, it’s the first documented time Luigi has been seen in the classic N64 game, outside of a high-profile 2020 leak of classic Nintendo game files, which included a model for the character.
Luigi was originally intended to appear as a second playable character in the launch game, according to a 1996 interview with director Shigeru Miyamoto.
Speaking via an official strategy guide, Miyamoto described “a room made of simple Lego-like blocks” in which “Mario and Luigi could run around in there, climb slopes, jump around, etc”. This seems to match the YouTube footage.
According to Miyamoto, Luigi remained in Super Mario 64 until the final year of development, after which he was removed due to memory issues.
“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.”
In a 2009 Iwata Asks interview, Miyamoto commented again on the canned Mario 64 multiplayer mode, saying: “The screen was split and they went into the castle separately. When they meet in the corridor, I was incredibly happy! (laughs) Then there was also the mode where the camera is fixed and we see Mario running away, steadily getting smaller and smaller.”