Super Mario 64 (partially found Spaceworld '95 demo of Nintendo 64 3D platformer; 1995)
An in-game screenshot from the Spaceworld '95 demo that includes the removed minimap feature.
Status: Partially Found
Super Mario 64 is a 1996 platforming video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was the very first Super Mario Bros. title to be in full 3D that was released alongside with the N64. The game's highly regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time due to how innovative it was with redesigning the series' original gameplay formula and unique design. According to Gamespot News, Super Mario 64 sold over 523,000 copies in the first three months of 1997, being the second best-selling console video game.
Throughout its development cycle prior to release, numerous demo builds were shown to the public at the Shoshinikai show (known as "Nintendo Space World" in America and Europe) and even E3 1996. Around the sixth annual Shoshinikai show that was held on November 22nd through the 24th of 1996, Nintendo announced thirteen games that were in development for their upcoming console entitled the "Ultra 64" (which was later changed to the "Nintendo 64"). Among these playable prototypes was the beta version for Super Mario 64.
Commonly referred to as the "Spaceworld '95 Demo" (or the Shoshinikai Demo), this version of Super Mario 64 is completely lost to the public with no available ROM. And unlike later demo builds (like the E3 1996 demo), the demo contains a lot of designs, concepts, and sounds that were drastically different from later builds and the final release. There were also features that got completely scrapped in later builds.
There were a lot of general cosmetic differences in this build. Being the HUD design having a completely different layout, the font being more simplistic, the health UI being a clock with a number counter, generally different sprites and images from their final counterpart, Mario's voice sounding completely different, the star being a sprite rather than a model, levels looking completely different both cosmetically and sometimes structurally, and a whole lot more. Even the castle front and inside looked completely different (though the castle interior was exclusively used in the show only).
But there were also some major features and gameplay mechanics that were scrapped from the game. For example, there was a planned minimap feature that would have an overhead view of the level that would be visible on the top right corner. Another example of a feature that was scrapped is when, after defeating Bowser, you get a star and a bunch of coins. Gameplay and physics were also different from later demo builds. One primary example being Mario spinning after a triple jump rather than doing a flip and Mario not pausing mid-air while doing a ground pound. Some levels also featured a completely different design like Peach's Slide or Dire Dire Docks.
There was also an earlier build of the Shoshinkai '95 Demo that has barely any information about it. Even full gameplay footage is scarce. The only known gameplay footage that exists appears on a promotional video that was distributed to attendees of Spaceworld '95 which also showed off other games for the Ultra 64. The footage shown off in the promotional video displays a variety of gameplay features, levels, and designs being completely different (or scrapped entirely) from later builds. A major example is the lack of two unknown areas in later builds. Another example being the health UI sharing similarities to the final version (with the only difference being a simpler design and the health changing clockwise rather than being counter-clockwise).
Ultra 64 Patent
On November 1st, 2018, the admins at sm64beta.com discovered a patent for the Ultra 64 entitled "Video game system with coprocessor providing high speed efficient 3D graphics and digital audio signal processing". Although the patent focused on the Ultra 64's capabilities, there were also in-game screenshots of an earlier version of Peach's Castle. This also includes a bird's eye view of the castle and Mario's supposed perspective showing the front of the castle.
The major differences between this version of the castle and the final release is the stained glass window originally being a normal window, the other windows having a curved arc, and a cluster of clouds circling around the castle's higher tower. Despite the lack of color in these screenshots, it gives an interesting insight into what the developers were thinking while creating Peach's Castle.
While several videos and images of this build exist, it is still not currently available to the public. Recently, however, a huge gigaleak revealed most of the source code to Super Mario 64, which included, of course, some beta and unused content, notably a full model for Luigi (Who obviously isn't in the final game) with unique textures for his hat emblem, mustache, and sideburns. While this leaked source code doesn't contain the Spaceworld build itself, it contains many of its assets, including beta levels.
- Super Mario Disk Version aka "Super Mario 64DD" (found unreleased Nintendo 64DD port of 3D platformer; 1999)
- Website dedicated to archiving Super Mario 64 beta content. Retrieved 17 Sept '19
- Archived GameSpot article from May 15th, 1997 about SEGA Saturn's exit strategy, also includes sales from Super Mario 64. Retrieved 17 Sept '19
- Google Books page on Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo ... where it talks about the Ultra 64 games at Spaceworld '95. Retrieved 17 Sept '19
- Game Zero article on the coverage of Nintendo's debut of Ultra 64. Retrieved 17 Sept '19
- The Cutting Room Floor page on the beta versions of Super Mario 64. Retrieved 17 Sept '19.
- Archived page on sm64beta.com which discovered the Ultra 64 patent. Archived 17 Sept '19
- Archived Google Patents page on "Video game system with coprocessor providing high speed efficient 3D graphics and digital audio signal processing". Archived 17 Sept '19