As part of Nintendo’s forced MAR10 holiday (March 10, Mario, get it?), developer Sean Noonan has released a beautiful rendition of Super Mario Bros. as a first-person shooter. Sure, the gun only shoots plungers, but I have to imagine Mario would take some satisfaction from being able to blow away hordes of Goombas.
Noonan, a lead level designer on the upcoming Gear Tactics who has also lent his talents to Far Cry and Watch Dogs, launched his micro-take on a first-person Mario game, called The Super 1-1 Challenge, on itch.io early this morning. He says he made the project as part of the Mapcore challenge, a Discord campaign that tasks developers with reimagining classic video game levels. Noonan plopped familiar Mario aesthetics into Unreal Engine 4 as a way to further his own understanding of the platform.
If you’ve ever played a first-person shooter, you know how to control The Super 1-1 Challenge. That said, it does introduce a couple of Mario-specific techniques, such as ground pounding and long jumps. Despite the perspective shift and addition of a gun, plugging Goombas with plungers, breaking blocks, and discovering secrets still feels very much like a Mario game. The Super 1-1 Challenge isn’t huge, but there’s a lot to do if you’re willing to spend some time looking around.
Not to knock Noonan, but Unreal conversions of Super Mario Bros. are a dime a dozen, and at first I couldn’t imagine anything I wanted less than a Mario first-person shooter. Much like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, however, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed this experiment. Noonan currently has no plans to expand on this project, which is probably a good thing considering Nintendo’s litigious history, but the small slice he’s provided is a promising look at the potential of future genre-bending.