Super Mario 64, (released in June 23, 1996) is an 3D platformer developed by Nintendo and a launch title for the Nintendo 64. Being the first 3D Mario game, it is based on open-world playability, degrees of freedom through all three axes in space, and relatively large areas which are composed primarily of true 3D polygons as opposed to only two-dimensional (2D) sprites. It places an emphasis on exploration within vast worlds that require the player to complete various missions, in addition to the occasional linear obstacle courses as in traditional platform games. While doing so, it still preserves many gameplay elements and characters of earlier Mario games, and the same visual style. The plot involves Mario having to defeat Bowser, who had trapped Princess Peach and her Toad retainers inside the castle's walls and took most of the collectible 120 Power Stars. The game received critical acclaim upon release, praised for its ambition, visuals, gameplay, and music, but criticized for its bad camera. It sold over 11 million copies as of 2017, making it the Nintendo 64's bestseller. It was also re-released for both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console emulations. This also led to many YouTubers making animated series about it, leading to SMG4's high rise to popularity.
Producer/director and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto conceived a 3D Mario game during the production of Star Fox (1993). Super Mario 64's development, handled by Nintendo EAD, lasted approximately three years; one was spent on designing while the next two on direct work. The visuals were created using the Nichimen N-World toolkit and Miyamoto aimed to include more details than earlier games.
A remake of the game titled Super Mario 64 DS was released in 2004 for the Nintendo DS, being the system's first Mario game. It added Luigi (who was supposed to appear in the original game, but was "asked to leave" due to technical limitations), Wario, and Yoshi as playable characters. It added 30 more stars to the game, making the total counter 150.
Super Mario 64 received critical acclaim from critics and fans, and is still highly praised today, garnering thousands of Game of the Year awards and receiving a Metacritic score of 94. The DS remake, on the other hand, received less positive reviews and was criticized for its multiplayer mode and lack of analog controls, receiving a Metacritic score of 85.