Years later, people still find the weirdest things in gaming codes. The latest find sweeping social media is a doozy from 1996's Super Mario 64. In case you haven't been paying attention to the retro games side of social media this week, a lot of hidden and hacked source code has been released to the public this week involving games from what some would call Nintendo's Golden Era, which includes titles like Yoshi's Island and The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, where people have been able to delve into some of the early stages of development for the game that was later sealed off after plans changed during programming. It has provided some hardcore gamers and people fascinated with their favorite titles a look behind the curtain. But the latest leak is blowing people away as we've learned 24 years after its release, there is in fact code for a Luigi character in Super Mario 64.
For the longest time, which has become a cruel joke over the years, Luigi is now often passed up as a playable character in the main Super Mario games. Once a choice for Player 2, he's now reduced to essentially being a helpless messenger in a lot of games. Which all started with the N64 title as you only play as Mario throughout the original game. There have been ROM hacks over the years adding Luigi in unofficially, which includes one called Super Luigi 64 where they replaced Mario altogether. But now we know from the Oatmeal Dome Twitter account that at one point during the game's development, Luigi was not only going to be in the game, but he was also to be a playable character as a second-player option. Not only that, his character texture still exists in copies of the game. The image you see below was rendered using those assets by an artist named Padabana, showing what a fully-formed Luigi would probably look like in the game.
Oh, what could have been. The character was scrapped due to limitations on the game, but having him included would have been a huge addition at the time that we probably would take for granted now. Imagine how much easier it could have been to beat the game with a friend tackling separate challenges within the same level as you without having to keep swapping off with the same character and the same set of lives. Now that we know this is a thing and it's easily reachable to the point where someone can render the character in a day, it's only a matter of time before we see a new ROM hack using the officially-created assets.