Mario has entered the real world! With the recently announced Super Mario Odyssey, the lovable plumber has finally proceeded beyond the eponymous Lands, Worlds, and Galaxies of previous games, breaking through the fourth wall and entering a weird facsimile of New York City called New Donk City. The sight of a doughy little Mario hopping and backflipping atop lampposts, taxi cabs, and normally proportioned humans has been met with a noted mix of terror and delight online. On the one hand, it is exciting to see Nintendo’s world-class level designers setting their sights on open-world sandbox-style playgrounds; on the other hand, if Mario exists within a multiverse that also contains human beings with normal proportions then what the fuck is Mario?
A new video draws this question out further, recreating Mario with normal proportions and setting him in one of video games’ other great NYC parodies: Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City. It is some grim shit.
While New Donk City showed a surprising amount of grit compared to the Mushroom Kingdom, Liberty City finds Mario set within a true contemporary hellscape. Thrill as Mario plummets ragdoll-style to his death from the peaks of skyscrapers, gets shot at by cops, and beats civilians mercilessly! The results are perhaps more disturbing than the video combining Super Mario Galaxy with Taxi Driver, but only by degrees. One fears that this is only the beginning of Mario’s odyssey into the darkness.