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Super Mario 64 Fan Is So Hardcore, He Made A Nine Minute Video On Blinking

Illustration for article titled iSuper Mario 64/i Fan Is So Hardcore, He Made A Nine Minute Video On Blinkingem/em

You might be familiar with Scott “pannenkoek2012" Buchanan from his work on the A Button challenge and the meme-tastic “Watch For Rolling Rocks” video. He’s a master of Super Mario 64 minutiae. His latest project? Figuring out how characters blink their eyes in the game.

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Buchanan’s latest video is an incredibly intense look into how every blinking character in Super Mario 64 blinks. After watching it, you’ll be a certified expert in video game blinking!

Here are some of the facts that I found most interesting:

  • Mario and Peach’s animation cycles are timed so that they alternate blinking. They form a little blinking dance and it’s super cute!
  • Bowser’s eye animations are pretty intense and dependent on Mario’s behavior. His eyes track Mario when the plumber is moving and will not blink during that time.
  • All penguins use the same global timer, so they always blink at the same moment.
  • Bob-ombs are one of the few enemies to use random number generation to determine when they blink. This makes them less predictable blinkers.
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I’m consistently amazed at how much we learn about our favorite games from glitch hunters, TASers, and speedrunners. Buchanan’s dedication to unraveling every possible mystery of Mario 64's code is unrivaled. This is incredibly esoteric work, focusing on a ridiculous minor aspect of Mario 64. But he sits down and figured it out. There’s something really awesome about that sort of dedication. Thanks to this bit of datamining, I know I’ll be paying closer attention to the smaller details in other games as well.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.

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DISCUSSION

I have nothing but respect for pannenkoek2012. Every video seems to useless to a casual player, but his breakdown of every possible system has lead to a massive wellspring of knowledge as to how developers overcome weird and estoic issues.

For example, Mario’s health being a floating number that’s represented as 8 slices. It would seem trivial to just say he has “8hp”, but SM64 takes it a step further so that health can be tracked and made more forgiving to players by bumping that number up to 80000~. It what allows for saving graces along with breath tracking and many other fun stuff in just one value!