Super Mario 64 was a remarkably innovative game for its day, and still holds up pretty well even by today's standards. At the time, nobody had any idea how to craft a solid platformer in three dimensions, which makes it all the more impressive that this first attempt turned out like it did. Now, a recently translated interview from 1996 has found its way online, and it gives plenty of interesting insights into what the process was like.
First off, there was an interesting piece on how platforms had to be spaced out in 3D as opposed to 2D. Miyamoto explained how 2D games could be designed with pixel counts in mind and that they could be optimized to Mario's exact jump length, but in 3D they had to ballpark the distance due to depth perception issues.
In earlier Mario games, we were able to measure the number of pixels Mario could jump and know exactly what was possible. But this time, we had to design the levels so that as long as your jump was "close enough", you'd make it; it was too hard for the player to judge. This was a design change we made in the middle of the development, when the game was far already very complete. There was a lot of booing from the staff.
Another interesting tidbit was found in how Luigi was originally planned to appear in the game. Luigi would've shown up in a Mario Bros. style mini-game, but memory issues got in the way along with the assumption that players would only have one controller at launch.
Well… until February, he was in the game. (laughs) Ultimately, due to memory issues, we had to take him out. Then we were going to include him in a Mario Bros. style minigame, but because most users probably only have that one controller when they first buy their N64, for that reason (and others) we decided not to.
Check out the full interview here, it's very interesting to see the 1996 perspective on the then-new game.
What do you think? Has Super Mario 64 aged well? Do you still play it regularly? Share your thoughts in the comments below.