Nintendo’s lunch-box shaped GameCube isn’t a machine we’d consider powerful by today’s standards, but it feels like we’re always learning something cool about the early aughts gaming platform. Case in point: 2001 launch title Luigi’s Mansion is constantly tracking how many microscopic dust particles you suck up with its ubiquitous Poltergust 3000 vacuum.
According to info published to The Cutting Room Floor’s wiki in October 2018 and rehashed today by the delightful Nintendo tidbit-sharing Twitter account Supper Mario Broth, the Luigi’s Mansion debug menu tracks various stats. Most notably, the game is always aware of how much digital dust the Poltergust 3000 holds, right down to the milligram. This amount can also be lowered by exhausting the vacuum.
In Luigi's Mansion, the Poltergust 3000 actually counts the number of dust particles it vacuums up just so it can eject the correct amount of dust when it expels air. This has no apparent purpose other than maximum realism. Details in image. pic.twitter.com/xgNn08HIm2
— Supper Mario Broth (@MarioBrothBlog) November 3, 2021
Other uses for the Luigi’s Mansion debug menu include highlighting objects that can be scanned by the in-game Game Boy Horror device as well as tracking how many ghosts have been captured, the amount of water in the Poltergust 3000 (measured in milliliters, naturally), and an unexplained “Heart” counter. During my own testing, however, the only one that appeared to work as intended was the dust stat.
As far as I can tell, these aspects of the Luigi’s Mansion debug menu — activated with a simple Action Replay code — were first detailed by Beta64 all the way back in 2013. In fact, Beta64’s examination of the classic GameCube game was just the second video uploaded to the burgeoning YouTube channel, which now boasts over 400,000 subscribers. Check out the walkthrough below for more footage of the debug display in action.
It’s unclear why Luigi’s Mansion tracks your dust totals. The most likely scenario is that it was part of some unused game mechanic, wherein Luigi was possibly able to use the dust in ghost encounters or maybe even unlock new areas if he stored enough in the vacuum. Maybe a side objective once existed that rewarded the player for cleaning the notoriously dusty mansion.
Without further explanation from someone who worked on the game, this aspect of Luigi’s Mansion remains yet another quirk of the underappreciated GameCube system. Maybe drag yours out of storage and give it a nice pat on the head. The little guy deserves it.