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Super-real Mario


Digital artist Pixeloo has created a super-real version of Nintendo’s Mario (full image on his site). It’s not bad but he’s no match for this Mario:

  • Rhonda

    That hyper-real Mario looks like a candidate for a thorough colonoscopy.

  • Excellent work but creepy as the artist admits. “uncanny valley”, here we come.

  • Nichole


  • Mike Lucy

    this is probably what the new tin tin will look like.

  • Sarah

    I saw this on Kotaku this morning and the first word that came out of my mouth was “Exactly!” As in it was exactly what I imagined Mario would look like if he was real. I can’t wait to see the real “Homer.” Ooh, I can just feel the cold shivers.

  • Inkan1969

    Hmm. He doesn’t look anything like Bob Hoskins…

  • Please take that down before it inspires someone to make a photo-real super mario movie.

  • PCUnfunny

    Wow that is pretty interesting. I guess he should look pretty old and rough. Mario has been around for almost thirty years.

  • Some Guy

    I like the image, but in the words of Eddie Fitzgerald “there’s more technical skill than art in it. I really hate to say that because it’s so obvious that the artist knocked himself out to do a good job.”

    I’ve always been fond of the 1930s Osamu Tezuka look Mario had on the old Arcade Cabinets in the 1980s, it was reminsicent of Popeye’s world (which was influenced by 19th century carnivals). I also liked the colour scheme of his red and brown suit better than the bright blue and red he now wears.

    His was a world made of wood, skyscrapes, steel, girders, coins, red bricks, hammers, balloony POW boxes, mustaches, overalls, black backgrounds, pipes, and wild animals in cages. It was like an old pinball machine from the 1890s.

    Someone should make an Mario cartoon that has this blatant Popeye influence.

  • Christopher Olson

    I always thought of video games as a form of interactive animation, although I wasn’t always sure why.

    I still love the images those 80s video game artists could create using only a dash of pixels here and a dash of pixels there.

  • Amazing! Nauseating! Hellacious!

  • Kevin Martinez

    The current Mario model Nintendo uses is so unspeakably bland. It would’ve been cool if THIS model made it into Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

    I’m assuming this is a former/current I Am 8-Bit entry?

    Oh, yeah, and I HAVE seen an ultra-realistic rendering of Homer Simpson on the net.

  • MattSullivan

    I wonder why it is every CG artist feels the need to go so hyper-realistic it’s scary. Are they afraid people won’t respect thier work if it’s even the SLIGHTEST bit cartoony?

  • For what it’s worth, Mario’s original color scheme came from the need to have colors that showed up well enough at such a low resolution, thus the vibrant colors. As the abilities of the machines improved, the colors were expanded a bit, but kept much of the same feel from the older games. This is about as real as Nintendo has officially let Mario get:

    For a real Mario, I still prefer the Captain Lou Albano version:

  • Aaaah! Those eyes! Those large all-seeing eyes!

  • I saw this on Digg the other day, and the submitter headline had dubbed it as “Super-realistic render” of Mario– super-realistic sure, but it’s definitely not a “render” in any conventional sense. The image has the marks of clone-stamp photo sampling all over. If it really were texture-mapped geometry, the surface would conform to the contours more, and not project evenly parallel to viewpoint.
    Nice work certainly, but I prefer the iconic version better.

  • jimmy

    A great technical achievement for such an ugly and disturbing image.

  • Let me be one of the few to say that looks really cool. I wouldn’t mind to see more pics of Mario or other characters drawn like that.

  • matt

    Matt (Sullivan), with all respect, you might be missing the point here. Please don’t take that as a slight against you, as many here really rag on digital artists for no great reason and sometimes I play devil’s advocate. I don’t think it’s fair to lump this in with a blanket statement (every cg artist…) about those pathetic awful cg types. Obviously this was created with a sense of humour and the point is EXACTLY that you can’t just translate from one thing directly to the other. This one’s pretty funny to me at least.

    I also don’t understand quoting Eddie Fitzgerald. This does exactly what it sets out to achieve. Making it more ‘artful’ would defeat the whole ‘uncanny valley’ point, right? This is essentially an editorial cartoon, and the visual IS the message. It’s not supposed to be like a Sebastian Kruger caricature. I also loved those great “cartoon character skeletons” the Brew posted some years back.

    I just thought it was supposed to be ironic and funny. Surely the whole idea is that it shows why the iconic/stylised one works, and of course we prefer that.

    Paul, maybe he meant renderING rather than render? Like how people confuse RAM memory and virtual memory/storage space on their drive used as a cache? Rendering itself can also mean pencil, paint, pastel etc. Maybe that’s all it is.

    Yeah I’ve seen that Homer too. It’s a painting though, not pshop. I think this is the one you’re talking about?

    Yeah Kitschen, they’re following me around the room!

  • PCUnfunny

    The current Mario model Nintendo uses is so unspeakably bland.

    I agree Kevin. I like the character designs used during the 80’s and 90’s for mario and all of the Nntendo characters. Take the example of Wario.

    Wario then:

    Wario now:

    That 3-D rendering takes alot away from the character’s personality.

    Actually speaking about Wario, I just remembered this commerical for Super Mario Land 2:

    Some great cartoony animation of Wario’s face. That commerical freaked me out when I was a little kid.

  • Joe

    IF this is suppose to be “realistic” why does the artist keep Mario’s eyes so cartoonishly huge?

  • matt

    Joe, exactly to show what it looks like when you just translate something that’s both stylised in proportion AND execution to something that’s only realistic in execution – a literal transfer that doesn’t take these other factors into effect. You’ll notice he kept everything else like the cartoony proportions too.

  • I woke up in the middle of the night with this hyper-real Mario hovering over me and sucking out my life force. Then he started chewing the flesh around my neck, while pulling out tendons and arteries. It was almost as scary as Jerry Beck’s head on a St. Patrick’s day JibJab animation.

  • Shmorky

    Someone mentioned Popeye so I thought I should mention… Not many people know this, but Miyamoto is a great cartoonist. Popeye cartoons were his biggest influence and Donkey Kong was originally going to be a Popeye game.
    It’s no wonder Mario is a favorite cartoon subject of mine and billions of others.

  • matt

    Oh and the one and only certified makeup genius Rick Baker did a pretty great 3d Popeye that keeps the spirit even if the execution is different.

  • I can’t believe some of you guys are actually arguing over something that i s clearly meant to be a joke.

  • Kevin Martinez


    That’s news to me. Has any of Miyamot’s work been published/collected anywhere.

  • PCUnfunny

    Kevin: These are only personal drawing from Miyamoto I know of:

    Schmorky is right. Shigeru Miyamoto was suppose to make a Popeye game but Nintendo could not get the rights. So basically Popeye became “Jumpman” (later known as Mario), Olive Oil became Pauline, and Bluto became Donkey Kong.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I GET the irony and whimsy of the piece…don’t talk down to me as if I’m not aware of the amusement of young men ages 15-40 something years old. I’m just saying…WHYYYYYYYYY?

    I get the same reaction whenever someone remakes an old HAND DRAWN film. Suddenly people are saying it’s more superior to the original because it has *gasp* RAY TRACE SHADOWS! CAUSTICS! PORES!

    That was my point ^-^

  • I am taking some non-existent time off work to mention to “Some Guy” above that the original Donkey Kong game (the first game to feature Mario) was modeled after the Popeye cartoon.

    Jumpman (Mario) – Popeye
    Donkey Kong – Bluto
    Penelope? – Olive Oyl

    I wrote about this on my blog, but don’t have any time left to find/link.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Seeing Shigeru Miyamoto getting mentioned, it should also be pointed the artist responsible for having drawn the Super Mario characters for the past 20+ years as well is former animator Yoichi Kotabe, who used to work alongside Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata in the 60’s and 70’s, but later became the official illustrator for Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. franchise.

  • Matt, certainly your “point” has no apparent relation to the image we’re talking about. You posted this:
    I wonder why it is every CG artist feels the need to go so hyper-realistic it’s scary. Are they afraid people won’t respect thier work if it’s even the SLIGHTEST bit cartoony?

    …which seems pretty much totally unrelated to someone on the internet photoshopping an intentionally creepy photo of Mario.

  • This isn’t a render. The artist himself has said that he just took various photos of people to use as textures that he put together in Photoshop. It’s only CG insofar as it was produced using a computer as a tool, but it was not CG in the sense that most people mean it and it’s definitely not a render.

  • Jumpman (Mario) – Popeye
    Donkey Kong – Bluto
    Pauline/Princess – Olive Oyl

    So could this make mushrooms a stand-in for spinach? Interesting parallels if you think about it. Taking it further, Princess Toadstool and King Bowser Koopa could be Olive and Bluto, respectively. Why has nobody done a Flash parody with such a premise?

  • After Donkey Kong and a few other games were a huge hit for Nintendo, Miyamoto got to make his Popeye game after all. Go look it up, it’s a pretty neat game and gets the characters down pretty well considering the limited technology of the time.

  • PCUnfunny

    Why has nobody done a Flash parody with such a premise?

    What would be great idea is if someone did a toon about pauline and peach fighting over mario.

  • Nintendo ultimately did make a Popeye game, although I do not know if Miyamoto was involved:


    this is not my love mario pls change the picture