Super Mario 64 is 24 years old and fans have developed some very strange ideas over the decades. From the missing Luigi “L is real” theory to the more sinister “Wario Apparition”, Super Mario 64 is absolutely plagued by conspiracy theories, creepypastas and decades-long mysteries.
The Super Mario 64 Iceberg originated from a meme by Twitter user MegaX2. It highlighted how wild and entertaining some of the Super Mario 64 theories are from forbidden doors to haunting music and mystery forests. Some theories on the list are jokes, but many of them are rooted in historical Mario conspiracies dating back to the mid-90s.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
where do you find yourself in the— Mega (@MegaX2_) May 23, 2020
in the mario 64 iceberg pic.twitter.com/t43a20nAfJ
The Iceberg itself is a common meme for highlighting the depths of fandom and wild video game theories, but none compare to the decades-old rumours about Super Mario 64.
While none of these conspiracies can ever be truly proven, there’s some very compelling ideas. Here’s just a few choice picks from the wild Mario 64 Iceberg.
The Wario Apparition
The Wario Apparition is a hideous, giant face supposedly buried in Super Mario 64‘s code. According to popular legend, the Wario Apparition appears in a dungeon room beyond the 30-star door — but only in certain copies of the game (which is the reason why not everyone is able to find him). If players approach the darkened corner of the room, it’s said Wario’s giant disembodied head will appear and chase after Mario, chomping and snapping as if he’s about to eat him.
Various videos of this phenomenon exist, fuelling the rumour the Wario Apparition might be hiding in your copy of the game. If you encounter him, the advice is to shut off your console and restart the game. Some claim the Wario Apparition is the remains of a Wario boss battle, while others assert the rumoured footage is just the work of some clever and imaginative modders. In reality, this theory is based on a Nintendo presentation from E3 1996.
L is Real
“L is real” is perhaps the most popular Mario conspiracy theory. Before the game was remastered for the Nintendo DS with brand new characters and features, Mario fans really wanted to see Luigi in the game. Some thought he was already there, leading to countless rumours and theories about where Luigi might be hiding.
Mario fans thought they’d solved the mystery when they examined a plaque hiding at the back of Peach’s castle, but others remained sceptical. A blurry stone texture in Peach’s garden was soon interpreted as reading “L is real 2401”, seemingly confirming suspicions Luigi was hiding somewhere in the game — but according to a letter a fan received in 1998 the text isn’t meant to say anything at all, meaning players had been sent on a wild goose chase for a good 20 years.
At least Luigi got justice in 2004 when he was added as a playable character to Super Mario 64 DS.
The Forbidden Door
This is a relatively new theory building on rumours of an early (potentially cursed) 1996 version of Super Mario 64. The version supposedly features an entirely new room hidden behind a locked door. YouTube user sootminer uploaded the above image pertaining to this mystery door, saying players who could glitch inside would find a sample track from Ocarina of Time playing, instead of Mario’s own soundtrack.
The purpose for the room is unknown and nothing more is known about it.
According to sootminer, some people have been able to get inside the room on their own copies, furthering the idea “every copy of Mario 64 is personalised”. This is a common phrase you’ll hear alongside these conspiracy theories as a way to discredit people trying to disprove these theories. (If all copies of Mario 64 are personalised, these phenomena may only appear in unique copies of the game. This statement also comes with the caveat that some players believe Mario 64 is controlled by an AI designed to manipulate a player’s experience of the game.)
Wet-Dry World is controlling your mind
According to Reddit user u/SurprisedPootis, Mario 64 level Wet-Dry World implements a form of emotional mind control to instil feelings of dread into your soul. The “negative emotional aura” produced by Wet-Dry World has been associated with feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and depression. This rumour has been solidified by Reddit threads describing the palpable tension and fear players feel when entering this level, with most commenters agreeing it has a weird, spooky vibe that negatively impacts their mood.
According to various commenters, this aura is influenced by creepy angled skyboxes, muted colours, the town’s derelict appearance, claustrophobia and “submechanophobia”, the fear of seeing man-made objects submerged in water. These feelings have given Wet-Dry World a spooky vibe and led many to believe it has the supernatural ability to negatively impact your mood.
The Bowser Room
The Bowser Room is a rumoured location in Super Mario 64 with unknown origins. Sometimes the room is linked to the red coin collectables and other times it serves no discernible purpose. All versions of the room contain a close-up image of Bowser staring at Mario. Some versions have furniture and others are bare. In some versions, the room is actually like the Bom-omb battlefield from the game’s opening level.
According to some sources, the ‘existence’ of the Bowser room is actually part of a scrapped ‘bad’ ending to Super Mario 64 which would see Bowser defeat Mario once and for all. Like many of the other rumours on this list, it hasn’t been found in a legitimate copy of the game and likely never will be.
If you can’t get enough of Super Mario 64 conspiracy theories, you’re in luck. The Super Mario 64 Conspiracy Wiki is an absolute trove for theories like the Mario 64 Iceberg. You can also stay tuned to Kotaku Australia for all the latest news, rumours and wacky internet theories.