16 Nov How Mario 64 inspired that horrible goose’s moveset
There’s a good chance that if you’ve played Super Mario 64 then you’ve spent a good time goofing off in Nintendo’s revolutionary 3D platformer. I’m not talking about aimless exploration outside Peach’s Castle, I’m talking about messing with Mario himself.
On top of the weird opening screen where you could pinch Mario’s face into weird shapes and directions, you could also make Mario do some weird things in-game. He could duck his head down in front of his legs and creep slowly and even get on all fours and crawl like a baby.
“Mario 64 is one of our go-to reference points for a character that has a fun expressive moveset,” Untitled Goose Game designer Nico Disseldorp tells Gamasutra. “The controls can do lots of interesting things and it’s fun to press different buttons and make Mario’s body move in different ways.”
The reason that Mario is so fun to control is that Miyamoto, and the skeleton team of 15 people that worked on Super Mario 64, spent months working to make Mario fun to play, even if the only thing you could do is move around an empty space. “They made the Mario character first, and kept working on just the Mario until it was fun to be him,” Disseldorp said. “And only then did they start work on the rest of the game.”
Disseldorp thought that was one of the most memorable parts of his time with Mario 64. “It means you can ‘perform’ using the Mario as a kind of puppet,” he said. “When I’m playing Mario 64 next to a friend on the couch I like to show off by making Mario walk in funny ways, or quickly swapping between different poses. I find this kind of expressive and performative play very interesting, and it was something we really wanted people to be able to do with our goose.”