L is real 2401

I grew up in an age of playground rumors. One of the first things I did upon discovering the internet was research those very things. Mew under the truck in Pokemon, the unicorn fountain in Ocarina of time, and of course, deciphering the mysterious writing on the fountain in Super Mario 64. I could never figure out what the last one said, anyway.

Hell, I didn’t even have a N64 at the time. I pleaded a friend that had the system and the game to please take me there so I could see it for myself. He had a huge CRT TV for the time, and my ten year old mind was dead set seeing it in person.

What is written on the 'L is real 2401' plaque? - Arqade

If it really said what I thought it said, the rumours about unlocking Luigi as a playable character had to be true. We tried it all- speedrunning the game in a ridiculous amount of time and running around the castle 2401 times. My eyes read at least what they wanted to see anyway- the mysterious L is real 2401. The L standing for Luigi, of course!

To no one’s surprise none of these unlocked Luigi as a playable character, but it would have been so cool to have a second person to play as. Alternating playing the game wasn’t that much fun as a kid, and unlocking Luigi would give Bomberman 64 a run for it’s money when it came to playtime.

While I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be the one that posted on GameFAQS confirming or denying it for good (a kid can’t dream, can’t they?) it always sat in the back burner in my mind, wondering if the thing would ever be solved. Would game assets eventually come out? Would someone crack the code and “hack in” to say if Luigi was really there or not?

As roms and emulators became a tangible thing, I’d boot up the game just to visit it myself. I ended up getting my neighbor’s N64 years later and the very game we played all those years ago, occasionally giving the fountain a visit. I ended up getting Mario 64 on the DS as well- an updated release with a playable Luigi, but it just wasn’t the same!

Cut to today when one of my childhood obsessions crops up once again. I see people posting on twitter about finding Luigi. Could it be? Were the rumours actually true?

Well…they kind of were.

Yesterday, twenty four years and one month after the game’s release LUIGI’S ASSETS WERE FOUND IN THE GAME!!!!! He was there in the game’s source code albeit unplayable, but it felt like one of life’s greatest questions was finally answered for me. I was hyped beyond belief. It made me happy that tons of other people probably thought the same thing growing up and spent years thinking the same thing, believing in Luigi just like I did.

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