Lego’s Super Mario building sets were created to bring the experience of playing the Super Mario games into the real world. But a clever hacker has taken things full circle and come up with a way to use the Lego Mario figure to play the original Super Mario Bros. video game with the toy’s real-life movements translated to the on-screen character.
On Twitter, Rick (@r1ckp) bills himself as a hardware hacker, and he backs that claim up with what could be one of the more compelling reasons to grab Lego and Nintendo’s first collaboration. In addition to screens, a speaker, and a camera for recognizing objects, the oversized Lego Mario figure also features a built-in gyroscope for detecting the motions of the toy and a wireless Bluetooth collection for sharing that data with an app—or in this case, some custom code Rick created running a MacBook.
With a copy of the original Super Mario Bros. running through an emulator, the Lego Mario figure can control his digital doppelgänger’s running movements by leaning the toy forward or back, and it can make him jump using subtle IRL hops.
The digital Mario’s power-ups can also be controlled using some extra Lego pieces and the figure’s ability to recognize colors as well as the special sticker codes included with the Lego building sets. The video game version of Mario can shoot fireballs and even traverse warp pipes without the need for a gamepad, although this controller alternative definitely isn’t for speed runners or novice gamers. There’s a definite delay between the movements of the Lego Mario and the on-screen character, which could get particularly frustrating once you roll up on your first boss battle.