Developer Plays Mario Bros. in the Real World in Impressive HoloLens Demo

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We’re still waiting to see if the current push towards virtual reality will actually catch on or if it will be another misfire along the path to fulfilling our Star Trek holodeck dreams, but as that goes on, augmented reality is making an unexpectedly strong case for itself. When pushed beyond just a gimmick into the area of virtual objects that you can actually move around and interact with in real space, it makes for impressive displays like this real-world Super Mario Bros. level.

Created by developer Abhishek Singh, the recreation of the NES game’s introductory level is entirely unofficial, so you’ll probably never get to try it out for yourself (although Nintendo’s own theme park should make for a nice consolation prize), even once the consumer model of Microsoft’s HoloLens finally makes it to the public. It’s fun to watch, though, with or without the actual overlay that Singh saw as he played—the passersby were probably pretty amused.

It still comes with its own AR-specific limitations, though, mostly related to the fact that AR game players can’t actually touch the objects they see in-game, so Singh had to cheat a bit and use his adaptation’s 3D liberties to step around pipes and other obstacles, rather than walk through them and break the illusion. The overall visual effect is pretty convincing, though, especially when looking down bottomless pits embedded into the sidewalk.

The inability to jump on top of objects might put a damper on the Mario experience, but he’s reportedly considering letting other developers tinker with his code and see what they can come up with. A game tailor-made to use the HoloLens to create a large environment like this could be a lot of fun with the hardware’s limitations incorporated into the design.

(via Engadget, image: screengrab)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.