About ten days ago, we got our first glimpse of a video showing a downloadable, Nintendo DS version of Super Mario Galaxy, supposedly hidden inside the Wii version of the game. We watched with rapt attention as the shaky-cam footage showed Mario and Luigi jumping from the Wii to the DS using a previously unknown, hidden galaxy and the DS' WiFi download capabilities. We were surprised to see low-resolution versions of Mario and Luigi running around low-resolution versions of familiar Mario Galaxy levels. We were shocked and hopeful when the video promised each DS star would be redeemable for 10 Wii shop points.
We weren't ready to definitively declare the video real or fake at the time, but now, after some digging, we're ready to set the record straight on this hoax. Read on for our evidence and thoughts on the matter.
Like all the best fakes, this video has at least a grain of truth to it. (SPOILERS AHEAD) A playable Luigi is indeed unlockable after Mario collects 120 stars, and a hidden 121st star is available if you recollect the original 120 with Luigi (END OF SPOILERS). But we were a more than a little incredulous about the rest of the video. For one, not a single guide we could find mentioned the unlockable DS version of the game -- an important secret if ever we've heard of one. For another, the running and jumping physics in both the Wii and DS sections of the video seemed a little off. We also found it hard to believe that such a complex game could be transferred wholesale into the DS' limited on-board memory via a wireless connection. (Nintendo, for their part, said they don't comment on rumors).
Then again, we couldn't be absolutely sure the video was a fake. No one on the Joystiq team has personally gone through the herculean task of completing the game twice, and the video evidence did seem relatively convincing. Most media outlets (including our own DSFanboy) treated the video with the necessary skepticism, many labeling it a fan-made fake right off the bat. Some of the video's hundreds of thousands of viewers (both at GameTrailers and on YouTube) weren't so incredulous, though. "Whoa! I had NO IDEA that galaxy was coming to the DS until I saw this vid!" said one GT commenter. "Maybe I'm stupid and maybe it's just wishful thinking but it looks damn real to me," said another on Digg.
Sorry, hopeful commenters, but this thing is definitely a fake. How do we know? Well a little digging turned up an slightly shorter, more stable version of the same footage posted on video-sharing site Stage6 by user psycho3ler. If that handle sounds familiar, it might be because it belongs to Pablo Belmonte, the talented video editor behind the now-infamous Nintendo ON hoax video posted back in 2005 (More on that hoax here). The extended footage on Stage6 even shows a Nintendo ON-shaped planet that is cut out of the GameTrailers version (however, the Stage6 version does NOT include the "Mario arithmetic" introduction and the Wii-point-promising conclusion that are in the GameTrailers version).
Still not convinced? Read the description that goes along with the Stage6 video (translated from the Spanish). Titled "Displaying the impossible" and dated "November 29, 2007" Belmonte's stated objectives for the video included "recreating the characters, elements of the scene, techniques, camera movement and lighting of the game Super Mario Galaxy" as well as "simulating a conversion for the Nintendo DS, which visually approaches everything possible on the Wii version, but using the same amount of polygons ... lighting and texture memory as Super Mario 64 DS." Even as cynical rumor debunkers, we have to say Delmonte succeeded at these objectives pretty brilliantly.
While we're happy our initial skepticism has been validated, we're a little bummed now that our hopes have been raised, ever so briefly, just to be shattered. Nintendo, if you decide to take the intense interest in this video as potential interest in an actual Nintendo DS port of Super Mario Galaxy, you'd have our support.