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Historical Event | Ultra 64 Patent's Super Mario 64 Images

Historical Event: Ultra 64 PatentYou might be surprised to learn that the fun and vibrant world of Super Mario 64 wasn’t first accessible to the general population in an equally fun and vibrant way. In fact, it’s a matter of law and technical specifications that lay the foundation for pure, timeless wonderful. Let’s take a dive into some of the very first, publically-available, media of the super world of the Nintendo 64 classic. 
The earliest known depictions of Princess Peach's castle in Super Mario 64 can be traced back to the November 22, 1995 Ultra 64 patent. This patent is significant because it describes, in full technical detail, what the Nintendo 64 gaming console would later become. Obviously, the name of the system changed from Ultra 64 in the months leading up to release. But, that's not the only difference this patent reveals.

The document contains six black and white photos of the castle grounds map. It's odd seeing Nintendo publish something so monotone (the…

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Restoration | Shoshinkai 1995 Beta Whomp's Fortress Cleanup

Beta Whomp's Fortress Restoration This is an attempt at restoring some of the sloppy CRT footage from the highly-important Shoshinkai 1995 event. All screenshots on this page originate from the video, Shoshinkai 1995, Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 Demonstrations.

Notice the less-menacing face on the Thwomp.

Notice the poll at the other end of the spinning platform.

The main asphalt texture of this world is extremely different, and much more playful than the drab colors that make it into the final game. But, the release's textures are more fitting for the fortress, right?

The ramp has a different texture.

Shoot Mario into the Wild Blue couldn't have been a star yet, as the whole side area in Whomp's Fortress is missing. Further, there are no railings to ensure the player doesn't walk off the edges. Also, where's Bob-omb Buddy?

Mario falling off the course, showing level height is roughly unchanged.

Notice the trapezoid shaped platform Mario's standing on. …

Mysterious Room | Beta Vanish Cap Under the Moat?

Beta Vanish Cap Under the Moat? The October 5, 2016 Project Space World video, "Promotional Video (Software)" - Nintendo 64 B-Roll (1995), didn't just contain footage of what could possibly be a Beta Big Boo's Haunt. It also features B-Roll footage of a large, empty brick and stone room. There are no enemies in this area nor anything to interact with at all, really. It's significant to note that none of the environmental textures present in this pre-release room made their way into the final game.
The staircase on the left of the footage appears to lead into an opening. Whether this is a hallway or a little hole in the wall is difficult to tell. Second, there's a large slope in the distance to the right (seen in the fourth screenshot below). Given the barren nature of this room and the vastness and geometry of the floor space, it's possible this was an early version of the Vanish Cap Under the Moat location.

Source The screenshots above are sourced direc…

Mysterious Room | Beta Big Boo's Haunt?

Beta Big Boo's Haunt Basement? On October 5, 2016, Editor Brian "Dudaw" Gilbert uploaded a video to the Project Space World YouTube channel entitled "Promotional Video (Software)" - Nintendo 64 B-Roll (1995). According to the video's description, this video is the B-Roll footage received by Shoshinkai 1995 event attendees. This original footage was also used by the press in early Nintendo 64 reporting, and even recycled for use in official Nintendo promotional videos.
The B-Roll present isn't solely that of Super Mario 64 pre-release gameplay, as games like Pilotwings 64 and Mario Kart 64 share screentime. But, the Mario footage that is present sure raises some eyebrows. The screenshots below depict, what appears to be, an early version of the basement in Big Boo's Haunt. While we cannot be certain, the minimal context provided makes this seem plausible: shallow water, boos, and a brick texture (which goes unused in the final game).

Source The scre…

Design Changes | Super Mario 64's Lost World Minimaps

Lost World Minimaps Thanks to the Shoshinkai 1995 demo, we've learned Super Mario 64 had functioning world minimaps at one point in development. The placement of the minimap in the top-right corner of the screen explains the positioning of the star and coin counter in HUD. Before the surfacing of the Shoshinkai footage in 2015, the "floating" HUD elements of pre-release media seemed like an odd design choice. The minimap in a beta Cool, Cool Mountain Beta Cool, Cool Mountain's minimap is a solid rectangle, with the level's skybox being rendered behind the level geometry. Compare that to beta Whomp's Fortress's minimap below, where no skybox is rendered and the minimap is a floating image, rather than a box.
The minimap in a beta Whomp's Fortress
The minimap in a beta Lethal Lava Land Lethal Laval Land's beta minimap is comparable to beta Cool, Cool Mountain's in regards to it being a box. It makes sense herein that the entire level takes plac…

Historical Event | Shoshinkai 1995 Super Mario 64 Demo Unveil

Historical Event: Shoshinkai 1995
On November 5, 2015, Game Zero magazine's YouTube channel uploaded a video entitled "Shoshinkai 1995, Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 Demonstrations". This video — shown to the internet nearly two decades after being filmed — showcases Nintendo's unveiling of Super Mario 64 at the 7th Annual Shoshinkai Software Exhibition. According to Game Zero, the demo was marked at a "50% completion".
Shoshinkai 1995, Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 Demonstrations