YMMV / Super Mario 64

  • Author's Saving Throw: Once you make it to the top of Peach's castle, the back of it looks entirely unfinished. This was fixed in the DS remake where they covered it with a green hill.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Bowser's levels, or any of the slides.
    • Once you get access to the Green Shell Block, Lethal Lava Land is by far the most fun level when it comes to getting a 100-coin star!
  • Breather Boss: The Big Bully and the Chill Bully, both of whom are simple Ring Out Bosses who can only damage you if they knock you out of the ring.
  • Breather Level: Wet-Dry World is overall the easiest of the upper castle levels thanks to the lack of Bottomless Pits (or freezing water in the case of Snowman's Land) surrounding the course, meaning less cheap deaths caused by platforming mistakes and bad camera. The fact that water is abundant there makes dying really unlikely (thanks to Mario healing himself when swimming on the water's surface).
  • Broken Base: While the game on its own is considered an all-time classic, there have been debates whether its focus on exploring large levels as opposed to linear platforming challenges make it a "true" Mario game. Some consider the formula an archaic Pragmatic Adaptation of Marionote  while considering games like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World to be better translations of the franchise's roots to 3D. Others want Nintendo to follow 64's blueprint in designing 3D Mario games, seeing it as an improvement over the original linear games. After Sunshine, the formula would not be revisited until Super Mario Odyssey, which itself re-ignited these debates.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • The boss fights against Bowser.
    • Also, probably any time you get the Koopa Shell. Mario is surfing with it.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: As you know, the franchise has quite a few good tunes, but some standout examples:
    • The theme tune for the "Bowser in the..." levels, with their guitar riffs.
    • And let's not forget the epic organ music that is played during the final battle with Bowser.
      • And the music for the first two fights with him.
    • Dire, Dire Docks. If nothing else, the most beautifully magical music of the game.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Here's one courtesy of Medibot and MyNameIsKaz that pinged while they were playing Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: The Princess' Secret Slide is an emergency escape hatch to be used when, say, Bowser attacks.
    • In the DS remake, when Wario obtains a Power Star (among other good things that happen to him), he will make a noise that almost sounds like he's about to throw up. The role of the hero was literally making him sick!
    • When Mario falls asleep long enough in the original 64 version, he dreams about Italian food. This was cut for the DS remake. At first, it may seem like it's because of the addition of more playable characters, but it's possible that Mario over time has realized how important Princess Peach is to him and doesn't want her to think he values spaghetti and ravioli more than her in this grand adventure to Save the Princess. This would also explain why he doesn't dream about Italian food in Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, either.
    • In the DS Remake, right after you beat the boss that lets you unlock Luigi, Mario jumps out of the well. "L is Real" indeed.
    • There were fan complaints when "Goomba King" was renamed "Goomboss" for his appearance in the DS remake. However, it's worth noting that Bowser has a piece of dialogue in the former's debut game claiming he begged him to make him a king. This seems to suggest he was originally Goomboss to begin with and only became "Goomba King" through Bowser's use of the Star Rod.
    • Similarly, King Boo being called Big Boo could have been a translation error... but if you believe all the fan theories of this being "all the trouble you've caused me in the past", this could also be a point in time where he wasn't king yet.
    • On the NTSC version, the default resolution is 320x224 as opposed to the full 240p you'd expect from a Nintendo 64 game. Now consider that the safe action area of a broadcast is 93% of the screen area, and 93% of 240, rounded up to the nearest whole number, is 224, and it's a subtle reference to the Lakitu Bros. keeping all action, at least on the vertical axis, within the safe action area of their broadcast of Mario's adventure.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The DS remake has a hidden White Void Room (containing a Secret Star) on the second floor. The Wham Episode of Super Paper Mario, released just a few years later, features a similar area (though for a much-darker reason).
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Luigi's backward somersault in SM64DS will get you practically anywhere.
    • Yoshi can make the 100-coin stars easier. Swallow an enemy that gives you more than one coin, wait for Yoshi to turn the enemy into an egg, throw the egg at enemies that only give one coin and they all give you the same amount of coins as the enemy Yoshi ate.
    • Because there isn't a separate "air" meter, you can completely refill your health simply by touching the surface of water. This one's especially useful if you've gotten most of the coins in the level.
    • Wario in DS is more of a situational one, but his strength is useful on multiple occasions: he can punch Bullies yards away, punch the giant cannonball obstacles out of his face, and punch Tox Boxes off the maze once he's inside them.
  • Genius Bonus: The skybox for Wet-Dry World is based on a location somewhere in Yemen, made to resemble an underwater city.
  • Genius Programming: The entire game used numerous cheats and clever technical knowledge to maximize the performance of the game. The entire game was extremely economical in memory; altogether, all the game data amounts to a mere 8mb, or the size of two average mp3s!
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Fly Guys, who have a range of attacks (dive, spit fire) and erratic AI, making it difficult to defeat them before they drain all of your health.
    • Bullies as well, who frequently appear in groups, which makes it very difficult to defeat them.
    • The Kuromame/Fire Chomps are hated for their fireballs, which cause Mario to lose control if hit.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The Backwards Long Jump, in which Mario can build up ludicrous speed and zip across the stage and through walls and doors in seconds, the key to speedrunning and Sequence Breaking. It famously allows players to completely bypass the Endless Stairs. This is due to a discovery that lead to players discovering that Mario actually has no speed cap while airborne, meaning you can move at blinding speeds if you can do the right tricks.
    • Theres another glitch that lets you bypass the Endless Stairs without the BLJ, but its a TAS only trick that is impossible for humans to perform. Its called the Hyper Speed Wall Kick.
    • Even the DS port has a few useful glitches. For starters, theres a new glitch called the Dive Reset, which lets you bypass the Endless Stairs. And then another glitch was found to bypass the stairs without the Dive Reset.
    • In the Vanish Cap course beneath the moat, Mario can inexplicably crawl along the very steep slope.
    • Inside the volcano of Lethal Lava Land, there is the lava equivalent of a waterfall. Jumping into it will get Mario's butt burned as usual, but with some precise jumping, Mario will somehow stick to it and continue going upwards. Doing it just right can save a big part of the track upward to the star. Doing it deliberately wrong can end up catapulting Mario towards the very top of the level which looks hilarious.
    • Trying to TAS the game with as few A-presses as possible? QPU movements can be this. If Mario moves fast enough, his position will be rolled over when checking for ground at that location. This lets the player move Mario out of bounds to where the game thinks other parts of the level are, all without jumping. The only problem is that you might have to build up speed for at least 12 hours to pull this trick off.
    • Also related to TASing in few A presses as possible: Scuttlebug raising! By luring a Scuttlebug to a door and going to the other side of it, you can "raise" the Scuttlebug by getting close enough for it to lunge and then moving away to freeze it mid-jump, only to repeat the process and get the Scuttlebug to ladder up. Scuttlebug is a badguy but he can be a huge help this way, so he's literally a Good Bad Bug.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "The cake is a lie!"
    • Around the time Super Mario 64 first came out, there was a Got Milk? commercial that showed Mario in Wet-Dry World, having trouble jumping, whereupon he hops out, drinks some milk, grows extremely large, and then hops back into the level, plowing through everything in sight. Almost 10 years later, you can now kinda do it for real.
  • Memetic Badass: Ever since the "0.5 A Presses in 'Watch For Rolling Rocks'" video became a meme, the Scuttlebug has become really popular.
  • Memetic Molester: From the DS version we have Wario's star selection screen... which shows his face with a rather creepy grin and underneath him are the words "Touch Me". Granted all the characters have the same interface, but it's the creepy grin that really drives it home for Wario.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "It's a-me, Mario!"
    • I suppose you're wondering about Scuttlebug Raising – but first, we need to talk about Parallel Universes. note 
      • TJ "Henry" Yoshi: "an a press is an a press. You can't say it's only a half" note 
      • One big Scuttlebug jamboree.note 
      • QPUs. note 
      • Build up speed for 12 hours.note 
      • Unfortunately, all of the above enters into "Funny Aneurysm" Moment territory when you learn that all the memes, especially the half-A-press denials particularly coming from TJ "Henry" Yoshi, are discouraging pannenkoek2012 from making more videos for his main channel, particularly following the mental tax imposed on him by the Watch for Rolling Rocks video alone.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Tuxie's (the baby penguin) crying has tested the nerves of many players. The other baby penguins in the level cry as well, making the sound even more annoying if you bring the wrong one to the mother.
    • Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HAAAA! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HAAAA! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HAAAA!
    • The long jumping "Yahoo!" voice clip can be this when watching speedruns. The backwards long jump, which sounds like "Y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-" ad infinitum when being charged up, is even more so.
    • King Boo's laugh in the DS version.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The "correct solution" sound.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Countless kids have been scared by Unagi, the eel hanging around Jolly Roger Bay. To add insult to injury, one of the Stars is attached to his tail.
    • The endless staircase, especially with the music.
    • The Mad Piano.
    • There's also that creepy calliope music that plays in the basement of Big Boo's Haunt. The first time falling into the basement can be a fright because of it. It turns into Nightmare Retardant when you find its source, though.
    • The... music... to Big Boo's Haunt is rather disconcerting.
    • Have any of you even seen the Grindels, with their constant Slasher Smiles? Thankfully, they're only found in one level (within a level), but still.
    • After Bowser's submarine leaves, a huge black hole is shown on the wall. If you get too close, it will suck you in and there's nothing you can do about it. It leads you outside Peach's Castle, but it can creep you out in the first run.
    • The DS Port's King Boo level. Aka the one that couples both the creepy calliope music and the Big Boo's Haunt music with an absurdly chilling laughter as you venture a Lost Woods–like maze level.
      • "Eee hee hee... There are no exits. You may as well wander in here forever... Listen carefully. Can you hear me? If you find me, you're history. Eee hee hee..."
    • The sight of Mario drowning in the original version, because of how realistic it is. The DS version makes it more cartoony.
    • Perhaps owing to being the first major three-dimensional platformer of the franchise, the game has some pretty terrifying drops. If you're acrophobic, do NOT play Rainbow Ride.
  • Older Than They Think: This game was not Charles Martinet's first time voicing Mario, that honor goes to Mario's FU Ndamentals, released a year earlier.
  • Polished Port: The DS Port had a better camera system, improved graphics (on a portable, no less), 30 (25% more) extra missions including entirely new stages, and Yoshi, Luigi and Wario as playable characters. However, the controls were not as good due to the DS d-pad and touch screen not being as precise as the N64 analog stick; this issue alone ruined the game for some people. (This issue becomes somewhat mitigated if you play the game on a 3DS, whose circle pad emulates the analog stick much more faithfully.)
  • Porting Disaster: The initial Wii U Virtual Console port of the N64 version suffered from dark screen filters and input lag that can deter some players, even making the game outright unplayable for them.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The controls for swinging Bowser around have been criticized for how janky they feel, since it requires constantly rotating the (already easy-to-wear-out) joystick to maintain speed, which also makes it harder to line up when to throw him in time. The DS port improves this by allowing you to use the touch screen to swing Bowser.
    • The 100-coin stars. Having to collect 100 coins in each of the 15 regular courses to get a star slows the pace of the game to a crawl, and dying at any point resets your coin collection to zero, forcing you to start over. Some courses are plentiful in coins if you choose the right mission, but some courses like Dire Dire Docks are scarce in coins no matter what.note  Not helping things further is that you only get one chance to get coins from enemies and blue coin blocks, forcing you to start over if you miss them. Yoshi can make these stars easier to get in the DS remake.
    • The Wing Cap controls are not the most flexible for Video Game Flight on either version of the game and thus gets its share of scorn because of it.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Zigzagged; the game is still universally considered a milestone of video game history and very fun to this day. But from a technical perspective, the game is really showing its age now, due to its very simplistic, low-polygon models and now-rudimentary and barren-looking stage design, not to mention the abundant amount of exploitable glitches. And many of its once-unique features (a fully controllable, free-roaming 3-D character and world, with a controllable camera and analog stick controller) are now considered the bare minimum of acceptable game design. Alongside the modern video game blockbuster titles that constantly push 3D graphics to their limits (i.e. God of War, Grand Theft Auto), including this games' own follow-ups like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, it just seems rather quaint. The wobbly movements and unintentional Camera Screw don't help much.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The game saying "It's a me, Mario!" upon booting up.
    • Bob-Omb Battlefield and Whomp's Fortress are the most famous levels in the game, to where Super Mario Galaxy 2 remakes the latter level as Throwback Galaxy.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The flat, two-dimensional trees that always face you, no matter where you look – using a technique called "billboarding" common to many 3D games. In the DS version, the low resolution masks this a bit, and the trees have a nice fade-out when the camera goes through them.
    • Peach's castle having no back to it wouldn't matter so much if you couldn't easily just turn the camera around and have a clear view right through the back of the hollow castle.
    • When you fall into a bottomless pit that isn't black, you can still very clearly see Mario's shadow below him.
  • That One Level: Has its own page.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Wario is on the low end of the scale, as he has mediocre jumping and running abilities in comparison to the rest of the playable cast, and good speed and jumping ability is a must for a platform game like this. His only real advantage above everyone else is his raw strength that's required for certain stars, though that doesn't really mean much, as other characters can take out enemies just as fine, making him very situational.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Being a launch title for the N64, the game doesn't take full advantage of the console's hardware, leading to some rubbery, almost-transparent textures that give the models a stretched appearance. Coupled with the camera allowing full view in most directions, you can easily see through parts of the models.
    • Pretty much all the models look slightly creepy due to being so low-poly and often strangely textured compared to modern-day appearances. Practically all instances of this were mitigated in the DS version, though.
      Cracked: Even Mario himself looks like a maniac with these graphics. They probably weren't going for a "guy who breathes heavily as he stares at you in the subway" look, but there you go.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Unfortunately, the Metal and Vanish Caps suffer from this. The Metal Cap does make you near-invincible, but since platforming takes precadence over combat, it's basically just used for the odd puzzle here and there. The Vanish Cap is even more underutilized and basically just serves as a key to get a handful of stars, and it shows up in areas where its own invincibility properties are basically useless.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: If Mario jumps into and destroys all the bombs before throwing Bowser into them, it's impossible to defeat him. Subverted in the DS remake – a bomb will appear at a random area if all of the bombs are destroyed.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Dorrie the sea monster. Despite having a feminine-sounding name and a cutesy appearance, Dorrie is officially a male. But then the description of one mini-game in Mario Party 3 refers to Dorrie as a "she".
    • Many people assume Tuxie is a boy, when actually Tuxie is a girl. In fact, both baby penguins are girls.
  • Vindicated by History: The DS remake has become this, thanks to the 3DS and its Wii U release. On release, some hated the DS version for being supposedly unplayable due to the DS's lack of a control stick (although many didn't really mind the D-pad). But with the 3DS's circle pad and Wii U's control stick, many have found it to be much more enjoyable and playable (despite the inability to walk by tilting the pad), thanks to it being a far more suitable alternative to a control stick.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Yeah, the visuals look very primitive and outdated now, but they were nothing short of jaw-dropping for their day, and the appealing cartoon art has helped take the burden off the aging graphics, which is more than what can be said for many other 3-D games of the time period. And even today, it's a fantastic use of the N64's color palette. It might not have been as sharp as stuff today, but it certainly looked nice regardless. On top of that, Mario was probably one of the most elaborately animated CGI characters for video games of the time, featuring very smooth and incredibly varied, context sensitive animation that would only be matched by fellow developer Rareware—even developers of more realistic games like Shadows of the Empire looked up to Mario 64 as a milestone to follow.

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