• In 1996, Nintendo's iconic plumber went from two to three dimensions with the launch of "Super Mario 64" for the Nintendo 64 game console.
  • Over 25 years later, "Super Mario 64" is considered a gaming classic - and some fans are so dedicated that they've fabricated elaborate conspiracy theories.
  • One of the most prominent ones was just proven to be true: Despite not appearing in the game, Mario's brother and partner-in-heroism, Luigi, is apparently buried within the game's code.
  • Using that code, which was pulled from a massive Nintendo leak, creative fans created an image of what Luigi would've looked like in "Super Mario 64."
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With decades of gaming classics under its belt, Nintendo has inspired legions of dedicated fans - and few are more dedicated than "Super Mario 64" fans.

Over 25 years after its launch, the Nintendo 64 classic has become a magnet for wild conspiracy theories. These unfounded myths range from the mild (unknown secret levels), to the wild (the game was "stolen" by Nintendo from a British studio). One, however, has stood above all others: The belief that, somewhere hidden within the game, is a way to play as Luigi - Mario's taller, greener little brother.

The details of the conspiracy are tenuous, involving a star statue in a courtyard with unreadable text that proponents believe says "L is real 2041," in what was taken as a hint. However, nothing ever came of this theory, and there was never any proof that Luigi was in the game.

Until now, that is, as it turns out that the central pillar of this theory - that Luigi was intended for inclusion in "Super Mario 64" - appears to be proven accurate.

A massive leak of source code, which people are calling the "Gigaleak," was posted to the code-sharing site GitLab this week.

Included in the Gigaleak was a trove of Nintendo code from classic games, one of which was "Super Mario 64." And within that code, fans quickly discovered files related to a tall plumber with a penchant for green clothing over red.

As fans rapidly pulled images from the code, the reconstruction seen above of Mario's infamous partner, Luigi, was created.

It was the culmination of years of suspicion, searching, and unshakable belief summed up perfectly in a video shared widely on social media:

Video game source code often contains unused portions of games.

In the case of "Super Mario 64," the source code contained references to Luigi and a 3D polygonal model of the character. It's unclear why he didn't end up in the game, and Nintendo isn't saying. However, in 2009, legendary Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview the game was originally intended to have multiplayer.

Nintendo eventually added a playable Luigi - alongside fellow series mainstays Luigi and Wario - into an updated version of "Super Mario 64" for the Nintendo DS, released in 2004, but that didn't stop fans from spending years speculating over why he wasn't included in the original game.

And with good reason: Before "Super Mario 64" launched in 1996, Luigi was included in every major Super Mario game.

He became distinct from Mario in "Super Mario Bros. 2," where he ran faster and jumped higher than Mario. He's even earned starring roles in games like "Mario is Missing" and the "Luigi's Mansion" series. In 2013, Nintendo declared it the "Year of Luigi" and released several games where he featured in starring or costarring roles.

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