By John Walker on October 17th, 2011 at 9:42 pm.
I began today posting a spoof video of the SNES’s Mega Man, with a Portal gun. It made me smile. I end today posting a genuine video of a game where two people are remaking the original Super Mario Bros, with a Portal gun: Mari0. It made me smile much bigger. I got hold of an early version. It made me do that weird mix of smiling and frowning that Mario Bros games do, except with the bigger grins for clever portal application. They’re going to get sued into space by about fifteen different companies at once, but fortunately they don’t seem to mind.
Perhaps that’s to be expected from an indie developer with the name Stabyourself. A German, Maurice Guégan, and a Slovenian, Sašo Smolej, make up the team who say they aim “to create enjoyable experiences for anyone to easily get into and enjoy.” Also noting that the sorts of people who might want to contact them are Nintendo, wanting “to send us a cease and desist letter?” I really hope they have the good humour not to, and recognise what is very clearly a tribute, not-for-profit game released as open source.
The game itself is brutally hard. I think that might be something to do with the lack of programming for mushrooms at this point, meaning Mari0 is always on one life. But by golly, it works. You control Mari0 with WAD, and aim the Portal gun with the mouse. Left click and right click, just as our Lord Gabe intended. Just now the gun doesn’t seem happy to aim at the floor, which does rather limit the options for chicanery. But say there’s a gaggle of Goombas between two green pipes, and a Koopa on the other side: stick a portal entrance by the turtle, another next to the chestnut gang, and then jump on the shell to fire it through. It’s surely what Shigeru Miyamoto always wanted.
And there’s loads more to it than that. A daily screenshot marathon currently going on at the Stabyourself site (created to force the developers to add something to the game worth screenshotting every day) also has lasers, push buttons (releasing cubes), hard light bridges, aerial faith plates, and even blue and orange gel. The game will also offer downloadable map packs, and the version I’m playing with comes with two. One is based on the Nintendo game, and the other is themed around Portal itself, offering apposite puzzles but with a Mario-alike at the helm.
Stabyourself was also responsible for Not Tetris, the Tetris + physics madness that’s now rejigged in their Not Tetris 2. And they’re currently working on Not Pacman, and something called bunq, alongside Mari0. I think this is one well worth keeping an eye on. In fact, use that eye on the video below. If it doesn’t make you gasp and want to post it to the rest of the internet, then I simply don’t understand you.