Check out this Super Mario 64 guide with 3D sculptures

The guide, exclusively released in Japan, contains tons of impressive 3D sculptures that deserve a look on their own.

[UPDATE: It looks like Nintendo’s taken down the scans of this guide from the Internet Archive, as you may have anticipated. Comfort Food Video Games has uploaded the guide as a Google Drive link for downloading, though, which you can access here.]

With the dawn of the Internet, the art of the video game guide was reduced to a competition of speed and semi-accuracy. When a new game comes out nowadays and you get stuck, all you have to do is bring up your search engine and ask a question. Back in the day, though, you had to rely either on your friends to tell you or on guide books.

One such example, the Super Mario 64 Complete Clear Guide Book, has been a curiosity for years. Now, you can experience it all digitally. Thanks to Comfort Food Video Games, who’s previously uploaded a number of game guides and magazines, this fascinating Japanese-exclusive book is available for anyone to look at.

At its core, it’s a simple guide for collecting every single star in Super Mario 64 with some added features thrown in — nothing really special as far as the text goes. Where it shines, though, is most definitely the 3D sculptures of each of the game’s worlds. The levels are painstakingly recreated using what looks like a number of materials, making for some incredible dioramas. It’s worth taking a look just or that alone.

Lethal Lava Land Guide Artwork

Exploring this beautiful Super Mario 64 guide

Odds are, you’re probably not looking back at this guide to learn how to grab a missing Power Star. Even if you were and you wanted to consult a product officially licensed by Nintendo, the guide’s completely in Japanese. Really, it’d just be a novelty now if not for the amazing 3D artwork. And that’s something that everyone can appreciate.

It’s an intriguing look back at a time when the Internet wasn’t flooded with plain-text strategy guides written by just some person. Game guides were a market in-and-of-themselves, and going the extra mile to make your guide stand out was a necessity. Unique content like these sculptures helped make your guide more appealing, and the care in creating them is damn impressive.

You could have picked this up in 1996 for ¥980 (which is around $8.64 USD today). In 2022, used copies typically go up on sites like eBay and Mercari for $250 USD at the cheapest. Suffice to say, not everyone can afford to get a physical copy nowadays — which is what makes this digital scan such a treat.

What else is in there?

This wasn’t purely a strategy guide, however; the book also contained interviews with developers who worked on Super Mario 64. You can view translations for a few of these interviews here.

The book also shows off a number of shortcuts and tricks which the writers encouraged players to try out. Many of these are common knowledge nowadays, especially if you’re at all familiar with the speedrunning scene. But it also shows off a number of glitches as well, including the famous Backwards Long Jump (or BLJ). Apparently, this was known to Japanese players very soon after the game came out, years before Western gamers started discussing the trick in chat rooms and forums.

What do you think of this awesome Super Mario 64 guide? Let us know!

Via Kotaku.

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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