My name is Grace, I am a college student and a devoted gamer. I was a child of the late 90's so one could guess I grew up with the likes of the Nintendo 64, and you would be right, and one of my favorite games was Super Mario 64. It was my very first video game I ever owned, and I didn't own any other game for more than a full year, so you bet I ate it up like a kid on Halloween devours candy. I got other games such as ocarina of time, perfect dark, and other classics like that (as well as crappy licensed ports, but no one talks about those); but not until I essentially completed Mario 64 and got completely bored of it. Since the days of internet challenges and youtube began to spring up, I decided to take up speed running since I knew I had the skill to do so. I spent so much of my time trying to hone my skills that I probably destroyed my GPA doing it (I was in middle school anyway), but I eventually gained fame for being one of the fastest completion times in the world of 3 hours to finish, and another 4 to complete. I didn't feel the need to touch it since then, until a contest came up on a gaming blog I was following
15 year anniversary contest: Super Mario 64
Don't you feel old? It's been 15 years since this classic game was released and we're going to celebrate with a speed run contest. Submit footage of your amazing record within the month of September, and we'll judge who has the best record. 3rd place: $100 and a nintendo 3DS 2nd place: $500 and a gold Legend of Zelda OoT cartage 1st Place: $1000, lunch with one of the actual developers of the game and a surprise!
I had to get that 1st place prize, that $1000 would help me pay for college tuition and being able to talk with one of the actual game devs was like a once in a lifetime opportunity experience, even without the surprise. I sent in my old youtube recording and waited for the contest to end. After September came to a close, I got an email from the website.
Congratulations Quilfish hunter!!! You've won the first place prize for the Mario 64 speed run contest, you will meet one of the game devs at your nearby Baker's Square on October 21st, receive a $1000 check from us, and get your surprise. Thank you for participating!
I was ecstatic, I won! I submitted the best run and I got the chance to meet one of the people who worked on my childhood game. I Went to the lunch event, had a nice conversation with the dev, and he left me the last surprise as we parted ways, it was a gold N64 cartage and it was labeled: Super Mario 64: Chopping block. I was speechless, a directors cut of the game with all the things I and everyone else missed from even beyond the beta footage. I didn't know what to do, record it for everyone to experience it with me, or play it for myself. I chose the latter to start with as I feared that this thing may be fragile as it was a single copy; and to my amazement, this was more than just beta material, they added Luigi as a playable character, added an extra two stars to each stage (one where you interact with another Nintendo character the other where you race your brother to 100 coins), buffed up textures, and something I found out about once I completed the game.
I got one last star as I seemed to notice that the game went still for what felt like an eternity (I almost reset the game before something popped up), a text box then appeared
Impressive, want more?
The game then saved itself and reset, but instead of the normal title screen, it instead read: "Impostor 64" which was odd. "Did I unlock a new game mode?" I thought to myself. The rest of the game seemed to function normally despite this, up until I met up with Yoshi on top of the castle, who instead of giving me the normal message, looked towards me and said:
I expected nothing less from you, you proved yourself worthy of this by even getting this game, but your journey is far from over, at least if you don't desire it. I have one last challenge for you to conquer. Deduce the Impostor, and uncover an unreleased secret. Check any sign ten times in order to start.
It was a message from the developer talking through Yoshi, he was leading me through a post game quest, but to what? What was the secret he was referring to. I took his advice as he simply stood in the same spot to give the same message every time I talked to him. I went to the first sign I came across and tediously checked it ten times and it read something different this time.
Return to your roots and check behind the gate, there you will find the first clue to your quest, check signs when you finish with our assigned tasks for more.
A quest, this was like a long quest complete with riddles and directions, I was quite exited to see this, and I began to ponder what he meant by "my roots" I checked the place I originally spawned but there was nothing there, then it hit me, bob-omb battlefield, where you start. I went over to the level only to find one challenge there: "The gates are open" I selected the challenge and arrived inside the level only to find it was crawling with goombas all over the place, but they didn't seem to hurt me, and I couldn't really hurt them, I could even walk up and talk to them, they didn't have much to say though, they mostly said generic small talk like "hi" or "hello" and even the riveting "Nice weather isn't it?" After reading the copious amounts of nonsense, I went to open the gate under the bridge. There stood a strange new model, one that looked like Peach but with a purple dress and witch hat on her, two goombas were standing right beside her and she seemed to be looking down at a 1-up mushroom. As I didn't get lives from Yoshi, I decided to pick it up. Once I did, the witch model turned back into Peach and all the goombas in the area turned into toads. Peach then spoke to me.
I'm sorry, but I had to hide. I need you to help me with something.
I was then given a star and I was subsequently taken out of the level, (the star not adding to my total) and since I had no more directions I was given I decided to check another sign.
She beckons you to the Fortress in the sky.
Thwomp's Fortress, that wasn't even much of a riddle, I was disappointed. I went over to Thwomp's fortress where there was again, one challenge: "Topped off with a trick". I entered the level with the witch model standing in front of another shroom, I took it and Peach showed up again
Someone is trying to take my throne, I need you to get rid of that menace.
I thought since the level said "Topped off" that it meant that I was supposed to get to the top of the stage, and the level seemed to be structured the same as when you fight the thwomp in the original game, except, instead of a thwomp at the top, there was a jet-black peach model with a cartoony-evil face on her, she wasn't a hard fight either, she'd dash past me and I'd hit hit backside when it was exposed,she took three hits to go down except on the third hit, she let out a blood-curdling scream, it didn't last long so I just brushed it aside as a shocking quirk. I received a star and I was subsequently taken out of the level. I then checked another sign, this time it didn't have a riddle right away, instead it had what I only guessed was a police report:
Eyeballs never found
The victim was found lying on
her carpet. Causes of death
unknown. Hand marks with
were found all over the
If you are innocent, face trial by fire.
Something was up
I deduced that someone had died in a brutal fashion, but I had to find out who bit it and who did it. I could only assume that the message at the bottom was the riddle, this probably meant that the game wanted me to go to lethal lava land as it was really the only fire level in this game. I also noticed something odd about Mario since this sign was read. His expression looked very distressed, like he was afraid of something behind him, he also seemed to look behind him every so often, all but confirming my theory of paranoia. I traveled to lethal lava land and I tried to enter the level, only to find that I couldn't even enter the painting, but after I tried, Mario seemed to go to sleep like I was idle.
Once he dozed off, I was teleported to a strange version of the level, there was only one platform in the distance, the background was changed to that of a bunch of eyeballs gazing directly at Mario instead of the normal
fiery backdrop, and Mario was left to fall into the lava below, but no matter how much damage I took from the burns, I never died, so I decided to motion my way over to the platform in the distance, on it was a sign, so I read it.
Intent does not reflect actions you cannot change what was done you must live with it, but why should I tell you this? You have been for quite a few years now. Perhaps it's a good time to reflect upon yourself.
Behind the sign was a 1-up shroom, as I had nothing more to gain, I decided to pick it up, afterwards Mario's face turned back to normal and I was woken up. I checked another sign for more hints, but they seemed to just provide their normal messages, was this the end? No way, it can't just end here. I tried to remember what the last sign said, maybe it had a clue in some key word. Intent? no. Change? probably not. None of these related to levels. Wait a minute... reflect. There was a mirror somewhere in the castle, maybe that was where I needed to go next.
I went over to the area where the level was revealed with a mirror, but when I got there, the mirror revealed a far more grizzly sight than I was prepared for. another peach model lay next to the pedestal face down, lifeless, but it didn't completely look like the original peach, the dress was white with a red stripe towards the bottom and her hair was brown instead of blond, she also had several markings of blood on her dress, and pool of crimson mostly emanating from her facial region. Mario returned his expression back to paranoid as I noticed that in his hands he was holding... two eyes.
It was him, wasn't it?
That wasn't possible, he had to have been framed, there's no way an innocent character like him would do something so horrible, especially if this was supposed to originally come out with the game, but at the very least I can say I know who the victim is, and I have one suspect. There was another 1-up shroom on the pedestal near the corpse, I took it and the reflection turned back to normal along with Mario's expression. I checked yet another sign to see if it would give me a hint.
Is it coming back, or are you still trying to forget? Do you need more directions on where you need to go? You wouldn't look here if you didn't want a picture leading to your answer, but why pick one when you can pick three?
It seemed to want to reinforce the idea that Mario did it, but I wasn't leaving without hard evidence. I went to the room with the pictures leading to tiny-huge island. There, the two pictures that lead to the level were altered, one showed the ending to the original super Mario bros. with a peach looking awfully similar to the corpse in the mirror, but living. I looked at the other side, it seemed to contain the ending screen to super Mario world with Mario, Luigi, and Peach standing with it saying "the end" above them. I gazed behind me to notice the sign in the middle was glowing faintly, so I went over to check it, once I did, it moved the camera to face the door.
Regicide is difficult you see. you not only need a clever plan but you also need intent, and a person you can use to get the result you want, someone the victim knows, and trusts. Did you just think brunets magically turn into blonds?
The camera then turned back to its original position, to reveal the picture had suddenly changed to that of the Mario world ending screen, but with only peach there, and she was split down the middle in terms of appearance. The left side was normal, but the other side appeared exactly like the police report, the corpse, and the screenshot described. Above the image, instead of "the end" it read "impostor"
I was almost sick to my stomach about this, they weren't kidding about an unreleased secret, no one in their right minds would release this. Another mushroom was behind the sign, I tried not to pick it up this time, knowing what it was doing, but I soon lost control and Mario Bee-lined towards it. I couldn't blame him, he needed something to cope with this insanity. I checked another sign:
Do you understand now? Why you're so tense? Why you need "lives"? Why she changed so drastically? It doesn't matter anymore, the glass opposite the slide contains your final destination.
I figured it was referring to the secret slide behind the stained glass in the room located in the first area. I journeyed over to it to find that the stained glass opposite the slide was cracked, and the image it was supposed to display contained an image of the now dead princess. I entered the room, to find a world with a black sky, dark-green platforms, the final boss music playing and lavender flames below the platforms. I also saw a strange pool, similar to the one leading Hazy Maze Cave. From the pool rose another Peach model, looking like the one I found on top of Thwomp's fortress, but this one had no face, had stands of some sort of ribbon or bandage coming off her head, and she had grotesque, long claws coming from her hands. She then spoke
I trusted you, and you took advantage of my innocence, my faith that you will always be the one to rescue me from danger, and you decided to give all my power to that witch and cast away all my loyal subjects while all those humanoid monstrocites moved in their place. Vengeance will be mine, you low-life plumber!
She then pursued me, I had no choice but to run, the course was well designed, very much testing the skill of any player, with various wall jumps, long jumps, and somersaults required to even beat this level, and youhad to be quick, otherwise the black peach would catch up to you and claw at you with her claws and make you bleed, yes, bleed! Although when I say that, I don't mean hyper-realistic, I could touch it kinds of textures, but standard N64 red mist coming out of Mario, course if she actually caught you, she would get her gruesome revenge by dismembering you while making the player watch as Mario was torn to bits in various grizzly ways, but as you have lives, you can always try again; but make no mistake, this was no small feat not only was the level long, but peach herself was quite fast, making mistakes incredibly punishing. Through all my trail and error, I eventually manage to get to the very top of the level, only to find... a dead end. No, that couldn't just be it, they wouldn't just rope me along just to get mauled by this vengeful monster, I waited for Peach to come into this room, thinking I would actually be able to fight her, but when she got to me, she stopped chasing, and spoke.
Why am I chasing you? Why am I blaming you for being unable to control your actions? I know magic is powerful, and I myself had to use some to even get this far, and for what? Revenge? There are far greater evils at work here and I must save my kingdom. It is evident that I can no longer rely on you to save them as you are in peril as well. MY time is now, my time to save you, my time to actually stand up and do something with my power, take this as my last gift to you.
She then tosses out a massive, black, star with angered eyes (similar to the grand star the final boss gave). I picked it up and got the same cut scene as when you get a key, and I was subsequently transported out to the main castle, and the game resumed as normal, until after I beat the final boss. The cut scene played as normal until peach approached Mario, it was then that the large, black star from before floated down, to reveal the peach from that difficult level, but in full color this time, she wore the dress I assumed she wore, had the bloody markings, but her hands had decayed to sharp bones, her eyes were covered with bloody bandages (which explains the ribbons), and her mouth was decayed to the point of only showing her rotting teeth. Peach then looked frightened by this display as the ghoul spoke.
Your days are numbered we are watching you.