All of our childhood conspiracy theory brains can finally rest.
Super Mario 64 may be well-known as one of the best 3-D platformers of all time that still holds up today, as well as one of the few games that supposedly helps develop the hippocampus region of the brain, but there’s even more to it than just that.
In the courtyard inside the castle (the area where you get to Big Boo’s Haunt) there’s a statue of a star inside a small pool. Engraved on the statue are words whose reading and meaning fans of the game have fought over for years.
▼ Looks like “A Ka-room! 3-Pax” to me.
The words are notoriously hard to make out, but over the past two decades two theories have appeared in an attempt to decipher the code:
▼ The first theory says that the words read “Eternal Star.”
Makes sense with the statue, but I’m really not seeing it.
▼ The second theory proposes that the words read “L is real 2401 in Paper M.”
The words make less sense, but I can actually kind of see that one.
Fans of the game interpreted the meaning of the words to be “L(uigi) is real February 4, 2001 in Paper M(ario).” Considering Paper Mario came out on February 5, 2001 in North America, and Luigi is in the game (though not a playable character), it seems like the prophecy was nearly spot on. Could this have been what the Super Mario 64 programmers were alluding to?
The answer to the mystery remained hidden for two decades until recently when Reddit user b0nd18t posted a photo of a letter they received from Nintendo of America back in 1998. They’d written to ask about the meaning of the statue’s text, and here’s part of the answer they got:
“Many people think that it’s a hint that Luigi is in the game and it has something to do with a special code. The real answer is that the programmers put it in there as a joke. They thought people would try and try to figure out what it means. It doesn’t have any meaning at all.”
You mean there wasn’t a Luigi conspiracy? We were just getting trolled by the programmers the whole time? Personally, we’re not entirely convinced. Nintendo did a good job hiding Snorlax’s secret for 20 years, so maybe they’re up to something. We won’t know for sure until the year 2401 though, I suppose.
So if you’re reading this 400 years in the future, let us know! And if you’re stuck here in the past like us, and you want to enjoy some brand new Super Mario 64 action, be sure to check out Super Mario 64 Last Impact. It’s a free fan game with a whole new world and stars to collect with plenty of mysteries of its own.