It looks like coercing cute animals into playing real-life versions of classic 1980s video games is officially a “thing” now. And why shouldn’t it be? Just last week, the internet gods gave the world a Jack Russell terrier named Twinkie playing Pac-Man. And now? Well, now there’s a Djungarian hamster playing Super Mario Bros. Actually, this particular Djungarian hamster, a female named Yutako from Tokyo, has quite an online career, with accounts on both YouTube and Twitter. (Yutako’s Vine account has vanished without explanation.) The hamster’s latest and greatest step towards viral video glory comes in the form of a 38-second clip whose title translates adorably as “Hamumario.” The premise here is quite simple: Yutako’s owner has created an impressive, three-dimensional hamster maze based on the first level of 1985’s Super Mario Bros. It’s up to Yutako to navigate this level and reach the castle at the end. How does she do? It takes less than a minute to find out.
Yutako starts her heroic run by dislodging (but not donning) the iconic, red Mario hat. Most of the mushrooms, bushes, and clouds on display here seem of little interest to the hamster. But Yutako does decide to explore one of the big green sewer pipes that are a staple of the Mario franchise. The animal’s owner seems to have anticipated this, as the maze has a subterranean tunnel beneath its red brick exterior.
Seconds later, she’s back to the surface. She climbs over the last couple of obstacles like a boss and does make it to that familiar castle, successfully completing the level. The flag raising has already been done for her, but the moment feels triumphant nevertheless. Part of what makes the video work so well is the use of Koji Kondo’s original score, plus expertly timed, authentic Mario sound effects. Now, in order to become a true 1980s gamer, Yutako just needs some crushed-up Combos and a water bottle filled with Hi-C Ecto Cooler.