Old VHS footage of Super Mario 64 revealed that the game initially had Luigi as a playable character with Mario.
Mario and Luigi fans have dug up some old bones with a special YouTube video capturing a special find in Super Mario 64’s early development stages. The video showed off footage from Nintendo’s Japanese Space World show in 1995, revealing that there was a multiplayer mode with Luigi that never got added to the final copy. Luigi did join Mario, Yoshi and Wario in the Nintendo DS version, though. While multiplayer/co-op games like Super Mario Bros. Wonder have become the norm, it was not so easy before.
VGC reported that the video shows Luigi doing a spin jump next to Mario in Super Mario 64, and this could be footage from the game’s early development. While the footage has yet to be authenticated, this would be the first documented moment that Luigi appeared in the famous game. As the major Nintendo game file leaked back in 2020, it was the only time a Luigi character model was revealed to be in the game.
Director Shigeru Miyamoto discussed in a 1996 interview how Luigi was part of the game, but was ultimately removed in the final stages of development. “Well… he was in the game until February. (laughs) Eventually, because of memory problems, we had to take him out,” Miyamoto said. He went on to explain, “Then we wanted to include it in a Mario Bros-style mini-game, but since most users probably only have that one controller when they first buy their N64, we decided not to do that for that reason (and others).
So this newly discovered footage may have been a glimpse of the mini-game that was planned for the game, but was eventually cut. In the same interview, Miyamoto also talked about how Mario and Luigi would be able to run around a room made of “simple Lego-like blocks,” and they could just run and jump around. The video clearly shows Luigi doing his iconic spin-jump move in some sort of red-and-white checkered room. Many fans on the Internet continue to speculate whether this footage is real and whether it was Luigi on the old CRT screen.
Later, in a 2009 Iwata Asks interview, Miyamoto again commented on the removal of Super Mario 64’s planned multiplayer mode: “The screen was split, and they went into the castle separately. When they met in the corridor, I was incredibly happy! (laughs) Then there was the mode where the camera was fixed, and we saw Mario running away, getting smaller and smaller. Super Mario 64 was such a groundbreaking game for the video game industry, proving why Nintendo and the Mario games continue to innovate.