Super Mario Bros. still looks pretty fun even when it’s only composed of 64 pixels.
A student at Carnegie Mellon University known only as Chloe has created one of the simplest versions of Super Mario Bros. ever. She came up with the project for a class called Gadgets, Sensors, and Activity Recognition.
Chloe’s version of Mario plays on a one-color 8×8 LED matrix hooked up to an Arduino Nano, an open-source electronics platform that smart people use. The controls are even easier than the original NES’s D-pad and two-button configuration, as Arduino Mario players simply move forward and jump. The only way to die is to prematurely push the forward button while blocked, so Goombas and Koopa Troopas have unfortunately been left out of this experiment.
What rounds out the project is how Chloe implemented a second Arduino board that plays the Super Mario Bros. theme. It doesn’t seem like an 8×8 LED matrix would be able to give a player the same feeling as Super Mario Bros. for the NES, but Chloe’s project really does. Her version of Mario even appears to have a similar floaty jump mechanic to that of the original 8-bit plumber. It strikes me as the kind of game we might be playing someday while huddled in an underground bunker after the apocalypse, trying to relive the old, happy days of videogaming.