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There's an old folktale of the Mario 64 era that said that this plaque here is reading 'L is real 2401', and rumors said it meant that Luigi was somewhere in the game.

What is really written on that plaque? or is it supposed to be just gibberish text that people imagined read 'L is real 2401'.

The answer could probably be found if there's a high-rez version of that texture somewhere.

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  • Perhaps the plaque is legible in the DS remaster of the game – BlueBarren Apr 12 '17 at 18:29
  • @BlueBarren yeah i wonder what it looks like in the DS remake – Fredy31 Apr 13 '17 at 13:23
  • @Fredy31 I just took a look in the DS remake - the plaque is the same texture. – W. K. Dec 2 '18 at 4:42
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TL:DR: It's just a joke put in by programmers. It's believed to say just that; "L Is Real 2401," but it likely says "Eternal Star" since that is what the statue is.

Many believe is does in fact say "L Is Real 2401" (not 2041 as you wrote). It's led to many rumors that Luigi is in Super Mario 64, which has been debunked. This same plaque makes an appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as well.

Plaque

One source also shows that someone once mailed a letter to Nintendo asking about this mystery to which they were basically told in response that it is a joke the programmers put into the game.

Letter

An Easter Egg Wiki for games discusses this more. Realistically, the plaque probably says "Eternal Star" which would make sense given what the statue is.

Luigi was suppose to make an appearance in Super Mario 64 as a second player, but was cut out due to the limitations of hardware at the time.

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  • Was it a cartridge memory limitation? The DS version has Luigi, Wario, etc. playable (which was fun!). – JAB Apr 12 '17 at 20:24
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    @JAB I don't know if it was a cartridge issue. Super Mario 64 was meant to be two player where you would play as Mario and Luigi. There were definitely other games with two player in it on the N64. Perhaps it was because Super Mario 64 launched along side the N64, and the developers ran out of time to get the two player functionality fully working with their hardware. – Timmy Jim Apr 12 '17 at 21:38
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    Games that are released right at console launch are often less technologically advanced than subsequent games. Just look at the comparison between the original Super Mario Bros., SMB 2, and SMB 3 - all of them released on the NES, but as new techniques/technology became available, the graphics improved tremendously. – Mage Xy Apr 12 '17 at 21:41
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This was put in by the programmers of the game as a joke. They wanted to see if they could trick players into trying to "figure out what it meant", despite there being no hidden meaning behind the message. There was even an official letter from a Nintendo representative explaining this fact. Source

This is even more evident when you realize that the exact same sign was re-used in other Nintendo games, such as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, as shown below. So there is no hidden meaning to this message.

Same sign in OoT

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