If you're a fan of a certain Italian plumber and brand of plastic building blocks, you've probably seen the Lego Super Mario sets Lego and Nintendo released in August. Using a combination of technologies, they allow you to build your own IRL Mario levels with specially made Lego blocks. So obviously it was only a matter of time before someone found a way to use those toys to play Super Mario Bros. (via The Verge).
— Rick (@r1ckp) September 2, 2020
The videos you see above is the handiwork of a Twitter user named @r1ckp, who describes themselves as a self-professed hardware hacker. Using an emulated version of Super Mario Bros., they were able to code the Mario figure that comes with the Starter Course set to function as a controller in the 1985 NES title. Moving Mario in-game is a simple as tilting his real-world counterpart in the direction you want him to travel. Things get only slightly more complicated when you want the plumber to shoot a fireball or go down a pipe. In the latter case, you physically put Mario down a pipe that comes with the set.
The reason Rick was able to make the toy work with Super Mario Bros. is that the figure features an accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth chip to allow it to communicate with the different physical and digital elements that make up the Lego Super Mario sets. All told, the project took @r1ckp approximately four hours. The most complicated part was figuring out the toy's Bluetooth protocol. They say they plan to share their code once they've had a chance to clean it up.
We can't wait to see if this inspires a new category of Super Mario Bros. speedruns. After all, if someone can beat Dark Souls 3 with a Guitar Hero controller, why shouldn't the community try to take on a Mario game using an effigy of the mustachioed man himself?