10. The Significance Behind The Golden Rabbit
After collecting 15 Power Stars, Mario will find a golden bunny called MIPS in the basement of Princess Peach's Castle. If you approach him, the rascally rabbit will hop away. If you manage to catch him, he will implore you to release him in exchange for a Power Star.
Despite his minor appearance, this leaping lagamorph is the most significant character in the game besides Mario. In fact, he's one of the most important characters on the entire console!
Long before Super Mario 64 was released, Nintendo built a beta that consisted of Mario in a grid-like room with a rabbit. This prototype was designed to test camera angles, movements, and 3D mechanics. Nintendo accomplished this with a 'Microprocessor' and unique use of 'Interlocked Pipelined States' (whatever that means), becoming the backbone of the N64's CPU.
The developers got so used to racing around with the rabbit in the beta, they decided to incorporate it into the console's debut game, and named him after the technology that created him. Because "Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipelined Stages" is a bit of a mouthful, the developers abbreviated it, calling the character "MIPS".