Super Mario 3D All-Stars is pretty dang good, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which its games differ from the originals. Super Mario Sunshine, for instance, features a handful of new bugs, including one that lets players skip one of its more boring levels seemingly at random.
This bug was first brought to light by toobou, a Super Mario Sunshine speedrunner from Japan, on Twitter last week. In the video, toobou can be seen starting the “Scrubbing Sirena Beach” level and, shortly after, being rewarded as if the objective had been completed. Normally, a player must clean up at least 95% of the beach — a pretty yawn-inducing goal by Mario standards — but toobou had barely gotten started when the game decided that was enough for the clear.
— トーボウ (@toobou) September 17, 2020
As the community is known to play through games repeatedly for better times, it was no surprise when more speedrunners began to encounter this bug. While not as extreme as in toobou’s video, folks like Rirure, m0m0, and Kosmic all captured moments in which they were rewarded for completing Scrubbing Sirena Beach without getting anywhere near the 95% threshold.
One can see how this might be a boon for speedrunners should a consistent strategy be discovered, but as of this writing no one has figured out how to trigger the bug intentionally. The top speedruns still complete the level as intended.
Some have posited that this bug has to do with Super Mario Sunshine being emulated in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection rather than being ported directly to the Switch hardware. A similar issue cropped up in an early version of Dolphin, the popular GameCube and Wii emulator, but the Dolphin development team has noted the two bugs are “quite different” with regard to when the game rewards the player for “completing” the level. (The Dolphin bug was marked as fixed seven years ago.)
That said, there might be something to the emulation theory. The Super Mario 3D All-Stars version of Super Mario Sunshine also includes a bug that makes normally hidden pieces of geometry that players have dubbed “debug cubes” visible in some of the obstacle-course levels. These debug cubes appear to be related to the paths which certain platforms follow. This bug was also present in previous builds of the Dolphin emulator before being corrected.
In Super Mario 3D All-Stars, you can see the "debug cubes" in Super Mario Sunshine in the "Secret of the Dirty Lake" stage, which previously only showed up in unofficial emulations of the game like on Dolphin Emulator, they didn't show up at all in the GameCube original. pic.twitter.com/chWWCnIR8a
— PJiggles (@PJiggles_) September 18, 2020
Or perhaps the answer is more insidious.
“Kinoko,” an unused mushroom model that, if removed, would cause the Wii version of Super Mario Galaxy to crash, is nowhere to be found in Super Mario 3D All-Stars. What if the shockwaves of Kinoko’s absence missed Galaxy entirely — the game runs beautifully, after all — and screwed something up in Super Mario Sunshine instead? What if, just by playing 3D All-Stars, we’ve allowed Kinoko’s spirit to take up residence in our Switches like some sort of paranormal plague? My console seems fine, but maybe it’s only a matter of time until my other games start acting up.
No… no, that’s silly. It’s clear Nintendo and its developers at NERD simply missed a few inaccuracies when creating the emulators for Super Mario 3D All-Stars.