NES Super Mario as a 360-Degree Eight-Player Game is a Hack and a Half

By Gerald Lynch on at

Super Mario may have celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this year, and yet we're still finding new ways to enjoy his earliest, seminal adventures. Could you keep up with a 360-degree, eight-player version of the NES-era Mario games?

That's what the ETH Game Technology Centre has created. Built for the Eurographics 2015 conference and led by Disney Research's Bob Sumner, an original NES was modified to create the room-filling experience.

Hooking up eight NES controllers to an original NES using an Arduino-based multiplexer, the console's video feed was pumped through a PC running custom software which "takes incoming video frames and copies them into a new, much wider output buffer." This allows for the backgrounds and sprites from the game to be stitched together in a 360-panorama, with each new scene revealed according to Mario's progress, and projected using eight projectors. As a player runs into a new screen, the person next to them stood in a circle takes over the action. There's even a single-player Oculus Rift version - though you may need a neck like the little girl from The Exorcist to fully enjoy the wrap-around effect.

If it sounds a bit mind-boggling, check out the video below to see it in action, working. It all starts to make sense when you see it in motion. [YouTube, Ars Technica]