You can't argue with maths, though. Looking at Mario's height and game maps someone's calculated the distance travelled. The Plumber also swam a distance equal to about eight laps of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It felt like so much more at the time.
The calculations were based on Mario's default size and calculated as if he was a normal human being by Mental Floss. Using that as a starting point and some beautifully stitched together maps, this was the conclusion:
If we assume Mario takes a route with no bonus areas or warps, the total distance from his initial starting point to the final castle is about 17,835 feet, or 3.4 miles.
But what about the water levels? If you isolate these, Mario swims an estimated 1218.5 feet, or 371 metres, during his ordeal, which is about seven-and-a-half laps in an Olympic-sized pool.
The longest single level is the eighth world's first stage, and it comes in at about 1039 feet. The shortest is world four, stage three, which is around 425 feet long.
If Mario does in fact visit every bonus area, the total distance he travels increases by 1574 feet, and his full journey becomes about 3.7 miles. Of those bonus areas, 344 feet are underwater, so Mario tacks on another 105 metres to his swim total.
This article originally appeared on Kotaku UK, our gaming-obsessed site. Check them out for original reporting, gaming culture, and humour.