One thing that comes with being a entire generation’s cultural touchstone for a wohle medium is that the homages, remixes and pastiches keeping coming in a steady, unbroken stream. It seems like hardly a month goes by without some kind of tribute on “Super Mario Bros.” (The GTA-style one from a few months back was a classic.)
But the latest “OMG, SMB is so awesome” video folds in a sly bit of commentary about Nintendo itself. The clip–created by USC cinema students Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch–puts the iconic plumber in the middle of a first-person shooter. The pair re-imagine the first level of “Super Mario Bros” as a hardcore combat experience, complete with quippy achievements and level-up pop-ups. The in-joke here is that while FPSes make great goo-gobs of money on PC and on other consoles, they genre hardly moves the needle on the Wii or Nintendo handhelds.
I love the inset video of the corresponding action in the original version, too. It brings the vast differences in approach and visuals into broad relief. To be fair, it’s not like Nintendo hasn’t done the first-person thing with their major characters. The “Metroid Prime” series took bounty hunter Samus Aran and made her into hands-only avatar for three games. But, it’d be tough to ever imagine Mario getting a similar re-think. So, until Nintendo does so in their own inimitable style, gamers everywhere can give thanks to Freddie and Brandon for cooking up this awesome video.