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Super Mario 64 is one of the most iconic videos games ever made, a major milestone in the history of the medium, and now that it’s available for the Switch as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a whole new generation of Mario fans can jump into its landmark polygonal worlds. It also means they’re now able to solve one of gaming’s longest-running mysteries for themselves: the mystery of whether Luigi is actually in the game.
Any Mario fan who’s been on the internet long enough has probably heard the phrase “L is real 2401.” This is the message that many believe is written on the star-shaped statue in the courtyard of Princess Peach’s castle, and according to one of gaming’s oldest urban legends, it’s evidence that Luigi can be unlocked in the N64 classic somehow. Alas, 24 years of searching in the game and its code have failed to turn up solid proof of Mario’s leaner, greener brother.
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That changed this summer with the massive “Gigaleak” of internal Nintendo files, where dataminers found Luigi in pre-launch versions of Super Mario 64. Better yet, he came with character model and texture assets that were developed enough that modders have been able to import them into the game itself, making L real at long last.
It’s believed that Luigi was ultimately scrapped from the final release due to time constraints, but in light of the discovery, fans have been hoping that Nintendo might finally add Luigi to the game for its Super Mario 3D All-Stars re-release. That’s unfortunately not the case, since the compilation’s version of Super Mario 64 is just an upscaled port of the 1996 original, meaning nothing new has been added gameplay-wise.
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On the bright side, Luigi is actually playable in Super Mario 64 and has been for a long time, if one counts its Nintendo DS port. More than a mere re-release, 2004’s Super Mario 64 DS expanded upon the original with extra levels and stars, plus additional playable characters like Luigi, who came with his own unique controls and abilities. In many ways, that beats out being an optional character in the N64 version.
Even without Luigi in the game, the Switch port of Super Mario 64 has plenty of secrets for new players to discover. They should be able to find most of these easily enough with enough time, but given that some of the game’s trickier challenges can get in the way, it helps to know how to get Super Mario 64’s most helpful items.
Super Mario 64 is now available as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.