Nintendo's game character Super Mario is seen on a screen
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Super Mario 64 Originally Had A Lot More Levels And Was Way Tougher
Mario co-creator and game director Shigeru Miyamoto said in a 1996 interview that designing the arc of Mario's jumps in “Super Mario 64” was a hard part of making the game.
Miyamoto explained, “In earlier Mario games, we were able to measure the number of pixels Mario could jump and know exactly what was possible.”
Miyamoto added, “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.”
According to Miyamoto, the staff was pretty annoyed by this change, and research from Did You Know Gaming? suggests that the team didn't want to nerf the game's difficulty level.
The difficulty of “Super Mario 64” isn't the only thing that got scaled back before launch. Leading up to its release, co-director Takashi Tezuka teased its ambitious scale.
Tezuka told Nintendo Power, “Currently, we have 32 courses, but the final version may have more. Maybe 40 courses. That doesn't include bonus areas, of course.”
There are ultimately only 15 distinct stages in “Super Mario 64,” suggesting that a number of other stage concepts may have been dropped before the game shipped.