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Motor-Powered Mario Lets You Play Old-School Donkey Kong in Real Life

Laser-cut figurines and metal balls recreate the early 80s classic

smithsonian.com


With metal balls as barrels and laser-cut figurines in place of digital sprites, English engineer Martin Raynsford designed and built this mechanical throwback to the original Donkey Kong, an arcade and NES game in which players maneuver an 8-bit Mario up ladders and platforms whilst dodging barrels thrown by the gorilla above, all in a bid to save the damsel in distress. (Mario, at the time, was known as “Jumpman.”)

As Technabob points out, one thing that makes Raynsford’s creation so intriguing is that players maneuver the wooden protagonist using a Nintendo controller, the same piece of equipment used in the original.

On his blog, Raynsford laments that he had to scale down his original vision, at least for the time being. As it stands, Mario can only move up and down—enough to jump over the balls, but not enough to rescue his lost lover. In the comments on YouTube, however, he says that he is working out the kinks and hopes to have a fully-controllable version of the game ready for the UK Maker Faire next April.

H/t Bit Rebels

More from Smithsonian.com:
The Essentials: Video Games
Playing Video Games At Home Turns 40

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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