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Video: Super Mario Turns 30 Gets a Syrian Make-Over

Forget Princess Peach, all Syrian Super Mario wants is a safe place to call home. Check out the satirical version of the Nintendo classic that explains the horrors refugees face when trying to flee Syria.

You would be hard pressed to find a person on Earth who doesn’t know the famous 8 bit plumber Super Mario. Entering the gaming world 30 years ago, the Italian plumber dreamt up by the Japanese gaming titans Nintendo, is arguably the most popular game of all time. Channelling Super Mario’s popularity to raise awareness of the perilous journey taken by Syrian refugees comes a creative parody video entitled Syrian Super Mario.

Replace Koopa Troopas with human traffickers and Bowser’s castle with a refugee camp, and you can start getting a grasp of just how much tougher it is for Syrian Super Mario versus his Italian namesake. The video made by Syrian artist Samir al-Mufti is quickly going viral, tweaking the 1985 video game Super Mario Bros to reflect the horrors facing Syrian refugees.

Using the same sound effects as the game the video begins to show refugee Mario hitting the question mark coin block to acquire his luggage, before hitting another block to empty his bank account in order to pay human traffickers to take attempt to cross the deadly Mediterranean. While the original who has Mario has plenty of lives, Syrian Super Mario just has one which he will need to evade border-patrolling soldiers as he tries to make it to yet another dubious refugee camp.

The creator of the video successfully managed to flee Syria into neighbouring Turkey. Talking to the BBC, Mutfi explains “Five months ago, my best friend drowned in the sea while travelling from Turkey to Greece: the engine on the boat exploded. That’s when I got the idea for the video. It needed to be a simple and clear idea that would work irrespective of language. I used Super Mario because it’s famous all over the world. It’s like music – a universal language.”

Mutfi tragically lost two brothers to Syrian violence, and channeled his anger into making animations parodying Assad’s speeches, going so far as mimicking his voice flawlessly.

The timing of the videos release couldn’t be better as Super Mario celebrates its 30 anniversary this year. As a special treat, Nintendo has announced that they will release a special game called Super Mario Maker, which will allow Nintendo fans to create their own levels, and challenge friends to beat their very own virtual Mario playground. The game will be made available on the Wii U GamePad, and will allow players to simply drag and drop various obstacles and enemies.


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