Watch a beaded, stop-motion Mario take on reality

Mario in Bakom Beads

What if the Mushroom Kingdom were somehow melded with our reality? We’d have goombas strolling along the streets, menacing the world with their apparently lethal touch, while piranha plants lazily rise from storm drains and cracks in the ground at some arbitrary rhythm. Obviously there would also be an Italian plumber there trying to murder everything in sight just to rescue the same princess he’s saved dozens of times before, but unexpectedly the entire thing would be very, very tiny. This makes sense given that the original resolution of the Super Nintendo would be considered abysmal by modern standards, and Nintendo has only just stepped into the high-definition era with its newly-released Wii U console.

We realize that the last paragraph likely seemed a very odd intro for this story, but once you watch the video embedded below, you’ll understand everything. Created by Marcus and Hannes Knutsson, the clip is a stop-motion reenactment of classic Super Mario World gameplay overlaid on top of a modern, real-world environments. The Knutssons used Bakom beads as makeshift pixels, and by melting the beads together in different formations, they were able to create surprisingly excellent facsimiles of the game’s various character sprites.

Constructing a video like this is an achievement in itself, but the clip doesn’t get good until the 0:20 mark where the game starts interacting with our reality. Mario jumps across a section of floating platforms, which happen to outline the body of a sleeping wino. As the plumber leaps over him, the vagrant stirs and looks momentarily confused before the screen scrolls past his face. Given that Mario and all the elements of his world are animated in stop motion, it’s very impressive that the filmmakers were able to so seamlessly blend the seemingly live-action person with their vision of this video game.

Of course, that’s just the beginning. As the clip plays out, Mario learns to manipulate our reality for his gain. At one point he leaps through a collapsing bookcase only to land behind a rotating desk fan which, thanks to cartoon physics, provides enough force to repel an incoming giant Bullet Bill. This is obviously not the kind of entertainment you’re supposed to think too hard about, but for sheer visual spectacle and clever use of an existing character, this is easily one of the best efforts we’ve seen in a long time. Hopefully Nintendo’s lawyers feel the same fondness for this clip, as otherwise the Knutssons may soon see a cease and desist order from Nintendo, decrying their unauthorized use of Nintendo’s intellectual property. We’re positive that the people behind Bakom Beads love this kind of exposure, but Nintendo is notoriously draconian when it comes to anyone else using its characters for any reason, even if they aren’t attempting to profit from it. Here’s hoping this video escapes Nintendo’s watchful eye, as we’re hoping the filmmakers will be able to create even more impressive efforts in the future.