Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gravity in Mushroom Kingdom Weakening, Toads Worried

A recent study by Brooklyn physics teacher Glenn Elert and his students shows that the the rate of Acceleration Due to Gravity in the Mario games has weakened over time.

Armed with gameplay footage, Quicktime, and the assumption that Mario is five feet tall, the budding physicists determined the acceleration rate in m/s² for Super Mario Bros., SMB 2, SMB 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Paper Mario. They even made a nifty graph.

The conclusion is that the evolution of game hardware is bringing Mario game gravity closer to the value of gravity on Earth. It started at over nine times Earth’s gravity in the original NES game and has decreased to four or five times Earth’s gravity in Sunshine and Super Paper Mario. Normal people tend to pass out past 5gs, so I am left questioning whether or not Lou Albano could have actually cut it in the Mushroom Kingdom.

However, these findings neglect to mention that not all of the games covered take place in the Kingdom. SMB 2 took place in the Subcon (Mario’s dreams), meaning we should probably see Peach’s flight ability as a metaphor for Mario’s feelings for her rather than as canon. Super Mario 64 takes place in paintings, so that can’t be trusted. I was going to make an argument against Dinosaur Land in Super Mario World as well but the Super Mario wiki set me straight (and made me lose a little bit of respect for myself and humanity). Still, the majority of the games do take place in the Mushroom Kingdom, so it is possible to make a general statement about the falling value of gravity in the Kingdom.

I can’t believe I thought about this long enough to write a brief.