The early days of the fifth generation of console hardware was a little bit of a rough one for Nintendo fans. While SEGA and Sony launched their entries into the market in May and September of 1995, respectively, fans of Mario would hear about Nintendo’s Project Reality in 1993 with plans set for a release by Christmas 1995 — the perfect time to take on its rivals.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, there were delays, delays, and more delays, with Nintendo’s 7th Annual Shoshinkai trade show being the first time anyone got a peek at Super Mario 64 in a playable form — if you were in Japan and able to attend such events, that is. For everyone else throughout the world, they would have to settle for still images printed in magazines (or, for the fortunate few, in tiny resolution on the still-burgeoning internet). And even those who had a 56k modem or CD-ROM drive to accompany the discs handed out by some magazines of the time were out of luck, as Nintendo wasn’t allowing video of the gameplay footage on the show floor.
That is, unless you were a member of the British CITV television show Bad Influence! and got special permission, that is:
“Well, sort of.”
Whether they lived up to their name or Nintendo made an odd exception to their rules, this is probably the clearest footage anyone has found of the Super Mario 64 (and Kirby Bowl 64, which would only be released in some form after many years as Kirby’s Air Ride on the GameCube), among others) beta version. The video was uploaded to YouTube way back on July 11th, 2012, but managed to fly under the radar until more recently, when Redditor “ericargyle” unearthed the video and brought it to the world’s attention.
Not that other footage hasn’t been around; Beta64 gives you an idea of the stuff we were dealing with over 20 years ago with a mixture of stills and blurry footage containing a Martinet-less Mario screaming with vocals from the Tom & Jerry sound catalog, if you would like to compare.