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I have no idea how Super Mario Bros. got projected amongst the graffiti on this wall, or why.
July 7, 2010 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Super Mario Bros. walkthrough. [Seven-minute Vimeo link]

I don't know anything about this other than that it's "neat," in cortex's words. (Hat tip.)
posted by cgc373 (38 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
neat
posted by defenestration at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2010


For those interested, the "walkthrough" being presented is called a speedrun. From Wikipedia:

A speedrun is a play-through, or recording thereof, of a video game performed with the intent of completing it as fast as possible, optionally under certain prerequisites, mainly for the purposes of entertainment and competition.

Most speedruns don't take place on or near street furniture, though. Most.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2010


So cool. How was this done? The best parts are seeing the "in the pipe" areas on the sidewalk and the grafitti in the sky.
posted by iconomy at 10:32 AM on July 7, 2010


everything about this is impressive.
posted by shmegegge at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2010


The fact that they refused to keep the action even slightly centerted in the frame was kind of annoying. Also, I hate adding 'film' effects.

It's neat, but it's still a weak post.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2010


I thought it was superneat until about halfway through, when I realized that the reason that the highlights, foliage, and concrete looked so much like it came Half Life 2: Lost Coast was because the whole background scene was rendered, not captured with a handheld camera. Then it was still neat, but it took some of the mystery of "How on earth did they time this?!" out of the picture.
posted by barnacles at 10:34 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


(One of the) fastest speedruns for Super Mario Bros (original): 5 minutes flat, but they didn't have the fancy intro, or get involved with the landscape at large.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2010


Also, Google's translation of the block of text seems to be the story behind Super Mario Brothers (Kupa invading the kingdom of the mushroom people and all that).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:41 AM on July 7, 2010


This is a neat effect, but I was hoping for something more interesting to happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on July 7, 2010


This is a neat effect, but I was hoping for something more interesting to happen.

Like them projecting a Super Mario Bros. speed run on the side of a street?
posted by chunking express at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2010


Thanks filthy light thief, though the whole thing is neat, I think the German-to-English translation is my favorite part.

"At some point some time ago the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Kupa, a turtle people, which is notorious for its black magic. The cozy, peace-loving Mushroom People were lapsed into stones, bricks, weeds and even transformed, and their kingdom. The only one who make the magic to reverse and return the mushroom people their figures could be Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the king mushroom people. But you is unfortunately in the hands of the mighty Kupaschildkröten-king. Mario, (perhaps) the hero of the story, hear of the plight of the mushroom people and sets off to rescue the princess from the evil hands of the Kupa and redeem the decaying fungus human kingdom. You can be Mario! Now it is up to you to free the Mushroom People from the black magic! "

I want to be a turtle people notorious for my black magic.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:51 AM on July 7, 2010


> Like them projecting a Super Mario Bros. speed run on the side of a street?

That's a neat effect, but gets old after 60 seconds.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 AM on July 7, 2010


Post needs a "neat" tag.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2010


If barnacles is right that this is just CGI, a lot of the magic is gone. Although the shakycam and near-inability to track Mario make it look pretty real. I'd love to see a "making of" to settle the matter.

That said, Mario's sudden downward boost to avoid the Bowser flame at 6:21 definitely smacks of some sort of cheating. Maybe I'm a perfectionist but I find that stuff kind of annoying. If you're going to make a cool "look at all this effort we expended" video, at least be honest about what you're showing people.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:02 AM on July 7, 2010


Here's a tool-assisted speedrun that beats the game while only walking (instead of running): http://tasvideos.org/1332M.html
posted by LSK at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2010


Winsome Parker Lewis is on to something. 8-3 is supposed to have two sections with Hammer Bros. on ledges, not one, and when Mario reaches it one of them uncharacteristically leaps up then immediately back down onto the same ledge, which never happens in the game. Also, Bowser's fire breath shouldn't be in the area with the fish in the final castle. For some reason 1-2 is displayed on the wall, while 4-2 is inconsistently shown on the sidewalk. But, eh, it's really not worth taking that seriously.

This doesn't make sense when you think about it. In most 8-bit platformers the world doesn't technically exist when it's out of view. All of that level you see ahead of Mario's current location is extrapolated. Most of the time enemies don't do anything other than just walk back and forth so it's easy to do, but with Hammer Bros. it's more difficult. You can probably catch errors if you focus on the moving parts of the level far ahead of Mario's location, although after a cursory run-through of the video they don't seem to have done a bad job of faking those parts.
posted by JHarris at 11:22 AM on July 7, 2010


Now do the Lost Levels.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2010


1-2 is displayed on the wall, while 4-2 is inconsistently shown on the sidewalk.

I think this is because 4-2 has to have room for the secret mushroom area that precedes the warp room.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:32 AM on July 7, 2010


I disagree that the background is all CG. Yes, there is definitely a bleached, fake-film layer on top of it all which gives it that Half Life look, but the motion of the camera is decidedly not computer plotted, and the whole thing is a little interlaced video-looking. And if you look closely, the motion tracking gets a little loose in spots.

It's still quite impressive what they can do with motion tracking these days, nonetheless.
posted by fungible at 11:33 AM on July 7, 2010


Man this thread has a lot of people who missed the point by a mile.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Understanding that this was a speedrun, I really wish they had managed to do a water level.

*watches all of 8-4*

Nevermind, awesome!

I agree that it's kind of annoying that they employed shakycam and didn't even come close to keeping the action near the center of the frame at times. It kind of made me queasy at times.
posted by moviehawk at 11:53 AM on July 7, 2010


If barnacles is right that this is just CGI, a lot of the magic is gone.

Yeah, then it's just CGI that passed for real life. That's no big deal.
posted by smackfu at 2:03 PM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, a lot of haters in here.

When Mario went down the tube and it was on the sidewalk I totally WOAH'ed. I couldn't watch all 7 minutes because I've been playing it a lot lately but, impressive nonetheless.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:22 PM on July 7, 2010


Man. I guess I"m easily impressed. Just being able to capture the entire Mario game in a linear sequence would baffle me. Then angling and fitting it to a tracking background shot...CGI or not. Not so jaded that I can't but be a little amazed.
posted by umberto at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2010


Has someone done Super Mario Bros from a 1st person perspective. That might be neat, too.
posted by klausman at 2:57 PM on July 7, 2010


I disagree that the background is all CG.

Ditto. I'd be curious to know what post-processing did actually happen (aside from the obvious SMB overlay), but as far as I can tell this is fundamentally a projection of the mario speedrun animation against shot footage of actual cement using motion tracking.
posted by cortex at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2010


Here is some first-person Mario. Sort of.
posted by Earthtopus at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2010


JHarris, the speedrun used is almost certainly reconstructed in its entirety, hence the blocks continuing to flash long after mario has moved more than a screen beyond them.

in point of fact, that's kind of what's the most impressive thing about this, and it's kind of insane to me that everybody's missed it. this is not a speedrun "projected" on a sidewalk. this is a speedrun's worth of maps reconstructed linearly in after effects (or something like it) and composited onto footage of a sidewalk. whether the sidewalk was digital or shot by a video camera IRL or not isn't even the biggest part.

This guy animated the whole damn speedrun at a ludicrous scale. here is the 1st level of the game laid out in a single image. It is almost 3400 pixels wide. Even assuming he created separate animations for each level played (and he may not have but for his sake I hope he did, using the "Mario x3" screens in between as a cutting point) then he's still creating however many separate videos with almost twice the horizontal real estate of a 1080p HDTV and animating the progress of a video game character through them, including continuing the animations of dynamic scene elements for as long as they are on screen and recreating all the animated effects of the game itself, from mario's animation during jumps to the destruction of blocks and enemies.

yes, then he is camera matching it to scenery, either real or digital, and that is still pretty awesome, even if it IS digital scenery. To be frank, the idea that he had filmed a wall for that long without completely fucking up the timing compared to the speedrun is such a slim possibility to my mind that I find it hard to believe he filmed the wall IRL. even then, kudos on his digital camerawork, because the only thing that made me think the scenery was fake was the sheer improbability of being able to film that successfully.

no matter which way you slice it, this was neither an easy thing to do nor a boring final product. it's clever, well done and requires tremendous skill of one kind or another.

it's just a good video, guys.
posted by shmegegge at 4:10 PM on July 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


To be frank, the idea that he had filmed a wall for that long without completely fucking up the timing compared to the speedrun is such a slim possibility to my mind that I find it hard to believe he filmed the wall IRL.

I dunno, it seems pretty plausible to me. You already have your speedrun in the can before you start shooting the wall; you give yourself a nice breakdown of horizontal process mario makes int he speedrun over time, and use that to cue and pace movement of the camera.

If anything, the failure to keep the action really tightly framed lends credibility to the notion that it's actual video.
posted by cortex at 4:18 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was little, this is pretty much what I would see in my head when I was looking out the window of a car.
posted by danb at 6:25 PM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it was tool-assisted (is that what they call cheating nowadays?). In 8-3 at 5:34 he appears to land on lava and jump off it without getting hurt.
posted by SirOmega at 8:26 PM on July 7, 2010


SirOmega: there's a horizontally-moving platform right at the surface of the lava, and its color is similar to that of the lava. I know this because I had a copy of the game conveniently burned into my brain 20 years ago.

I didn't see anything fishy about the speedrun itself. There are some minor glitches in the process used to extrapolate the game world--as shmegegge rightly points out, that's the biggest piece of magic going on here. I started paying more attention as soon as I realized that the "off-screen" goombas were failing to evaporate as expected.
posted by Galvatron at 9:34 PM on July 7, 2010


Here's another one of his videos, at 35 seconds there is Mario in a hallway in a similar overlay manner.

Awesome but tedious work done by this guy on rendering\animating the levels backwards and forwards.

As far as the wall timing. If it's real (which I think it is) he went at a pretty consistent pace the entire time except for key spots. I can think of tons of different ways to do this in a few shots very accurately.
The first thing that came to mind was having a video playing of the run through right there with you while filming with audio queues for when to Stop, Speed 1, Speed 2, Pan down, Pan up.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:45 AM on July 8, 2010


Guys, the background has not been rendered. He filmed it on cam and then used a match moving software (Boujou) and I cannot imagine how much tedious work he must have put into it.
posted by cronholio at 4:12 AM on July 8, 2010


My favorite part is how the sidewalk went from sunny to shaded just as Mario entered the underworld.
posted by rifflesby at 12:54 PM on July 8, 2010


You already have your speedrun in the can before you start shooting the wall; you give yourself a nice breakdown of horizontal process mario makes int he speedrun over time, and use that to cue and pace movement of the camera.

when you start realizing that he has to know exactly how fast mario travels along the wall after the game screen has been resized to fit the dimensions of the wall, and that he'd have to take some incredible care to be certain how much of the wall equals how much horizontal space in mario world, combined with accounting for the non-constant movement of the mario figure, well... you gotta admire the kid's pluck.
posted by shmegegge at 8:11 PM on July 8, 2010


I think his pluck is awesome, yes.
posted by cortex at 9:13 PM on July 8, 2010


My guess about the background is that it's just normal video (or, excuse me, ARRI digital film) that was slightly overexposed.
posted by bugmuncher at 8:16 AM on July 9, 2010


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