3D Super Mario

3DS…is upon us.

And as Nintendo gluttons everywhere know, nothing goes better with a new piece of Nintendo hardware than a slice of Super Mario Bros. It’s hardly a surprise that the 3DS will be getting a lot of 3D Super Mario Games. But what may surprise many is the Mario and Luigi Mario’s long history with 3D…

It started with the Super Famicom/Nintendo’s much-lauded Mode-7 3D technology. Mode-7 was used in Super Mario World to make us flinch when Bowser’s Clown Copter came at us through the TV. It was used everywhere in Super Mario Kart. And although we didn’t see Mode-7 in Super Mario RPG, but we did see the first 3D rendered Mario.

Then there was the Virtual Boy, but that was a 3D projection of a 2D Mario…

…A Red and Black 2D Mario. As seen through heavy red 3D glasses.

Alas, the first 3D rendered Mario game was Super Mario 64. SM64 was the game for which Mario fans had waited for more than a decade. It was the game heralded to be the 2D Super Mario Bros. we had grown to love…in 3D. And that’s what it was. Right?

Wrong! As we found out, Super Mario 64 was a brave new world. An incredible and groundbreaking one at that. But it wasn’t your Super Mario Bros. gameplay. And people knew it. Nintendo knows it, which is why more than 20 years after the original Super Mario Bros Nintendo released the NEW Super Mario Bros on the DS. It’s the same 2D side-scrolling gameplay as the original Super Mario Bros. but with 3D models. It did so well they made a sequel on the Wii, which also did well.

But what about seeing that side-scrolling world from the eyes of Mario?

I’m talking 3D Models of New Super Mario Bros but through the First Person Perspective of Mario Mario himself. THAT would be a true literal 3D translation of the 2D side-scrolling Super Mario Bros. Too bad that game never got made; I always wondered what it would look like.

 

And for years I wondered.

 

But as many web-watchers now know, that wondering came to an end a few days ago: http://facerocker.com/2011/03/17/first-person-mario/

This my friends is the first true, literal 3D translation of Super Mario Bros. EVER. But that’s not how the web has been selling this. Every website featuring this short but sweet, groundbreaking video (including the creator’s website) has been selling this as Super Mario Bros meets First Person Shooter. As a matter of fact, it does shake a little FPS flavor into this by:

a) assuming a typical FPS perspective, with no view of Mario’s body.

b) inserting the FPS motif of achievement announcements

But despite these FPS features, its not SMB meets FPS. As we all know, an FPS allows you to look in all directions (x, y and z axes) whereas in this video Mario only looks in the direction of a single axis or track. The reason for this is that this video is a LITERAL 3D polygonal translation of Super Mario Bros.’ 2D sprite world. In that world, Mario only moved along the X and Y axes. Therefore Mario can only move in 1 direction…forward or backwards.

Looking at the original Super Mario Bros, this would be the x-axis.

In a FPS movement forward or backward always takes place on the imaginary z-axis.

WHAT ABOUT THE Y-AXIS?

Of course the original Super Mario Bros has a y-axis (it’s 2D) but Mario’s head (the camera of an FPS) cannot tilt up or down as in say, 16-bit iterations of Super Mario Bros. Therefore his first person perspective always looks in the z-axis even when his body moves along the y-axis (which it does when he jumps).

HOW DO I KNOW THAT?

Because this video has a window in its upper left corner showing gameplay from the original Super Mario Bros.

That gameplay in turn is fully synchronized with the gameplay you see in the First Person Perspective 3D Super Mario Bros. gameplay over which the 2D window is overlaid.

Synchronicity. It’s not just the final Police Album anymore. Synchronicity is the true accomplishment of BRANDON LAATSCH’s 3D rendering and animation of Super Mario Bros. It’s not the FPS theme, which only exists thematically. It’s not even the beautiful 3D rendering. It’s that it’s the first true LITERAL 3D translation of Super Mario Bros gameplay…ever. Sprite for sprite, move for move. And that folks, is kids who grew up on Super Mario Bros had in mind when they heard there would be a 3D Mario. And by kids I mean…me.

Congratulations are in order for one BRANDON LAATSCH, of FACEROCKER.com. You have literally modeled and animated what not even the great and revered Miyamoto-San has: Super Mario Bros in 3D. Literally and synchornizedly. Now obviously, the game as portrayed in the video wouldn’t have worked back in 1996 on the N64. And Shigeru Miyamoto doesn’t make games that don’t work…much less Super Mario games that don’t work.

But, it’s 2011. We have the 3Ds.

Put the original SMB on the top screen

Put your synchronizd 3D version on the bottom screen.

And Super Mario Bros will finally and truly be in 3D for the first time.

Brandon you’ve shown it’s possible, with any luck Nintendo will complete the project. Maybe they’ll even ask you to work on it. Whether intentional or not, thanks for getting the ball rolling.

 

- FEI WONG