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Super Mario 64's mysterious "L is real 2401" message explained

I can remember browsing the internet in the early days, hunting down every bit of speculation I could for the very image above. I wanted to know what the sign said and really meant. Most fans know the message as "L is real 2401". For years now, it seems like there was never a definitive answer as to what the sign meant. Turns out someone got the answer back in 1998 from a Nintendo game counselor.

Long story short, it means absolutely nothing and wasn't a tease of anything. It was just put in place to drive fans nuts. I'd say 20 years of speculation certainly proves their goal was achieved.

Categories: Top Stories, Consoles
Tags: n64, mario

Comments

Top Rated Comment
chozoboy
Sun Dec 11 16 07:33am
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

Yeah, it's just "Eternal Star." Same text(ure) is in TLoZ: OoT. (Hmmm... is it in the high-res remakes of these two games, too?)

I thought this article would explain the origin of "Eternal Star."

1_21_gigawatts
Sun Dec 11 16 05:41am
Rating: 2 (Updated 2 times)

I always tought that it was just some random text that wasn't supposed to be readable.

mykhaeli
Sun Dec 11 16 05:44am
(Updated 2 times)

Right?!
That cryptic message was so un-Mario-like. It's too bad that even back then, during those times when our imaginations were stirred by playing the very first truly 3D games, that Nintendo couldn't come up with something more befitting of the Mushroom Kingdom...

Though this DOES kind of sound like a standard PR/cookie cutter response, did anyone actually believe the message really meant something? I mean, I know the whole 'Mario has the deepest lore' jokes and all that, but, c'mon. This is Nintendo. Surely in at least 1 of the dozens or hundreds of interviews about the game over the last two decades, someone involved in creating it would have alluded to the sign and some hidden secret at least once...

Anyway, now that this is settled and never to be spoken of again, can we discuss the hidden secrets in Mega Man 10? Were those ever found? :P

infinitywave
Sun Dec 11 16 06:31am
Rating: 2

"A Eternal Star" not L is real 2401.

chozoboy
Sun Dec 11 16 07:33am
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

Yeah, it's just "Eternal Star." Same text(ure) is in TLoZ: OoT. (Hmmm... is it in the high-res remakes of these two games, too?)

I thought this article would explain the origin of "Eternal Star."

To me the text just looks like gibberish. Really beginning to wonder how and why people became so certain it said "L is real 2401". The most I can make out is "24". If it really says "L is real", it's very sloppy writing.

It's just the unfortunate effect of conspiracy-like subjects. When you believe that something is there for a reason or is intentional, you're left trying to uncover the truth. And when no lead is provided, the mind creats a lead of its own.

Sometimes peoples' suspicions are right, and the artists/devs did leave something to discover. Other times, the answers are much simpler/meaningless than anyone wants to admit or believe.

It probably went as long as it did because people rarely want to admit they were wrong. And to do so is an admission that time was wasted.

Or it went as long as it did because people just wanted to have fun...? You're looking too much into this.

Your speculation isn't any more or less valid than mine. But I did mention:

Other times, the answers are much simpler/meaningless than anyone wants to admit or believe.

So you could be right, and it shows that I'm no more immune to such a vicious cycle than anyone else. But at the same time, "fun" could be considered justification to further one's search/actions for the answer. IMO, the quest of discovery only becomes "fun" [for most folks] when the answer doesn't reveal itself in a timely manner.

It's all about perception, which is often times subjective, unfortunately. It's so easy to say someone is looking too much into anything when one disagrees or doesn't care about the subject in question.

People have fun speculating about theories and (especially) urban legends in games, even if their validity is unlikely. It's why people talk about anything with video games - it's fun, nothing more. To suggest that most of these people are in denial and are too far into a "conspiracy" to admit that they're wrong is condescending to say the least. Let people have their fun.

Just so we don't go fully off the rails, my original comment was in response to Radiant's question about how and why people were certain that the sign said "L is real 2401", not that speculating and theorizing is wrong. Of course it can be fun and entertaining. Hence why a channel like Game Theory is so popular. Conversely why Eggbusters, Did You Know Gaming, and the like are also popular. The end goal of both is to either ask questions and/or find the answers.

Perhaps I shouldn't have worded it to make it sound like people were in denial, so my bad about that part. Maybe a better wording would've been, "It went on this long, not because anyone wanted answers, but because figuring is so much fun."

I remembering hearing about this rumor.......in a time where a lack of pictures was completely excusable. I completely forgot about it until now, but when there are rips of exactly what that texture is, how can anybody believe it was ever legible text?

Clearly, some die hard Death Note fan was trying to warn Light.

vonter
Sun Dec 11 16 10:05pm
Rating: 1

Mon Dec 12 16 09:44pm
(Updated 2 times)

The Ads on this site really crashed my Browser on my Tablet a moment ago : D

Wow, was Nintendo so talkative back in 1998? What's with their "Nintendo will not comment rumors or speculations" philosophy? Why wasn't this letter released years ago? Well, it's stuff from Reddit without any confirmed source. This letter might be the same hoax as the "L is real" stuff from Super Mario 64.

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