There are lots of ways to play Super Mario games. You could use a regular controller, why not? But how about a Guitar Hero guitar, Donkey Kong’s famous bongo peripherals, or even a real-life drum kit. And what about using Mario himself into a physical controller?
With any new gaming peripheral, there’s inevitably someone who finds a way to use it outside of its intended purpose. This time, someone found a way to use the recently released LEGO Super Mario figurine as an actual controller. It is useful for the original Super Mario Bros.
Twitter user r1ckp, turns the LEGO Super Mario figurine as a controller input for Super Mario Bros. (which is running via an emulator in a Linux virtual machine on a Mac). And with the right movements, Mario can jump, shoot fireballs, and head downpipes.
LEGO Super Mario figurine as a controller input for Super Mario Bros.
It may look like magic at first, but the LEGO Super Mario figure actually contains quite a bit of tech to make this work. In order to communicate with the toy’s digital elements, there is an accelerometer, color sensor, gyroscope, and Bluetooth in the figure. @r1ckp says he simply intercepted the signals Mario was sending over Bluetooth and plugged them into the emulator’s controls.
The whole setup took “about 4 hours,” said @r1ckp on Twitter. “The complicated stuff was figuring out the bluetooth protocol. Then it‘s just simulating keypresses at certain events.” He added that he would be sharing the code at some point, allowing others to duplicate this fun little hack for themselves.
In the video, we can see him tilt LEGO Super Mario forwards and backwards to run in both directions and simulate a jumping motion to make Mario jump in-game. Additionally, a subsequent video showcases how Mario enters pipes simply by placing him over the LEGO green pipe. And as well as shooting fireballs by hovering LEGO Super Mario over a small red LEGO platform.