The celebrations for Mario’s 30th anniversary have been on the rise lately, and just recently, another tribute has been paid to our favorite Italian plumber.
Created by some Disney researchers, a team of geniuses from ETH Zurich, and a fancy Swiss night club, an incredibly unique and insanely cool multiplayer experience of the original Super Mario Bros. has been born, if only for a night.
Though the game is traditionally played on a flat screen with one or two players, these guys decided to go bigger. A written description doesn’t really do it justice, so I’d highly suggest you watch the video about it to truly understand what was created. However, I’ll do my best.
In short, the experience is a 360-degree, eight player Mario game, where each player has their own NES pad, taking turns controlling the red-clad hero at different points throughout the levels. This set-up was created without hacking or modding, instead it uses a real NES and copy of the game, while the eight controllers are hooked into the console through a multiplexer. To make the game itself eight-player, a number of processes were involved, necessitating a massive eight-projector setup (two for each wall), which is where the swanky venue in Switzerland came in.
These processes involved an upscaler, a tracking PC with a GPU algorithm, screens from the game being stitched together into panoramas, and a media server, so if you’re hoping to create this setup at home, it might be a little more complicated than you thought. The experience playing was described as very fun, but manic, so in the event you do manage to build this in your basement, make sure you’re playing with good friends. Because the game was stretched to fit eight projectors, each player would gain control of Mario as he was in each player’s respective screen, which made things like flying with the super leaf a little tougher than usual. Still, I know it’s something that I’d want to try out, even once.
Of course, if you don’t have eight projectors (or eight friends) to play with, there is a workaround. Turns out the Oculus Rift works great as an alternative output system, except for the lack of being able to turn your head a full 360 degrees. But if you happen to have a spinning chair, you might be successful. Don’t get your hopes up, though, because there isn’t a download for this unique experience just yet, so you’re still going to have to recreate it yourself if you’re itching to play that badly.
The event also showcased a few other classic NES games, like Castlevania and Contra, but Mario’s adventures were certainly the most featured and prominent of the batch.
Check out the video to really see how cool this one-time event was, and let us know what other classic games you reckon would be cool 360-degree, multiplayer revamps!Leave a Comment