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The Five Wildest Discoveries From The Nintendo Gigaleak (So Far)

nintendo gigaleak

If you are any sort of a Nintendo fan, you’ve just experienced one of the most insane weekends a person can have, at least while stuck under quarantine. A gigantic bundle of leaked internal documents belonging to Nintendo was hacked out of a Chinese server and has been exploding all over the Internet for the past three days.

The hack contains complete source code for some of Nintendo’s most classic games including StarFox, Link’s Awakening, Link to the Past and Super Mario All-Stars, beta models and cut enemies that never made it into Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, AND the following five revelations:


Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto had the idea for Mario to ride a dinosaur-like creature all the way back in Mario 1, but the limitations of the NES prevented him from making it happen. This was his initial sketch:

And, as we found out, the first time the team at Nintendo had the horsepower to bring Mario’s steed to life, they took this design very literally. The first Yoshi looked a LOT more like an actual dinosaur:

Exploring the graphics files of Super Mario World provides a thorough chart for the evolution of Yoshi, as with each redesign he gets shorter, fatter, and his nose gets bigger.


Ever since Mario 64 was first released, there’s been a rumor founded in schoolyards that you could somehow play as Luigi in the game. People have taken the garbed message on the statue in Peach’s courtyard as proof of this, claiming it says “L Is Real 2401.” The dev team has admitted that, yes, they experimented with a Luigi model at some point for a potential two-player mode, but they couldn’t get it to work, so he was scrapped.

And in those scraps, our hacker explorers found Luigi! His model and textures were resurrected and someone found a way to port him into the game, where he has been reunited with his brother at last:

From https://twitter.com/lilpaladin1/status/1287555443976413194


For the most part, the contents of the Gigaleak were bits and snips of games, nothing fully compiled or playable. The wild exception was Yoshi’s Island for the SNES, where more than one fully playable prototype was waiting. The first was an extremely early version called “Super Donkey” and starring a bizarre character that resembles Stanley from Donkey Kong 3: It’s sparked a theory that Yoshi’s Island started as a Donkey Kong game:

The second, while closer to the finished product, is different in enough ways to be an entirely new game in itself. It uses placeholder music borrowed from Super Mario World, the world map is different (some might say better-looking), eggs are retrievable, and there’s a sadistic minigame where you can use Helicopter Yoshi to bomb villages (not kidding here).


Pokemon fans weren’t left without a present under the tree either. Yet another generation has been gifted a prototype, this one for Diamond and Pearl on the DS. Many alternate designs were discovered within:


In some cases, software developed in-house meant to aid in development of a particular game was discovered. Like this StarFox 2 tool programmed by a young Dylan Cuthbert:

There’s also software to create Yoshi’s Island levels with an SNES Mouse. It’s meant to function on a custom SNES no one has that connects with a 90s PC.

The hack that brought us all these things was reportedly committed years ago, and was the same shady activity that brought us the beta Pokemon ROMs last year. Reportedly the keepers of this material are still sitting on more. Here’s hoping for an EarthBound 64 leak someday.