The game was released in Japan on June 23, 1996, and later in North America, Europe, and Australia. Super Mario 64 was released as a platform game, it was published by Nintendo and developed by its EAD division, for the Nintendo 64 console.

The game established a new archetype for the 3D genre, much as Super Mario Bros. did for 2D sidescrolling platformers. In the evolution from two dimensions to three, Super Mario 64 places an emphasis on exploration within vast worlds that require the player to complete multiple diverse missions, in addition to the occasional linear obstacle courses as in traditional platform games.

More than eleven million copies of Super Mario 64 have been sold!