Super Mario World's Gravity Doesn't Add Up

Science examines whether a planet like the one in Super Mario World could really exist.

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A new segment from PBS show Space Time has taken a look at the gravity seen in SNES classic Super Mario World and found it...problematic.

No Caption Provided

On the show, which you can watch above, astrophysicist (technical term for really smart person) Gabe Perez-Giz comes up with some crude estimates to determine the surface gravity of the planet Super Mario World takes place on. Using a height of 5'1" for Mario, a measurement of how high he jumps, and the time it takes to reach the apex of his jump, Perez-Giz finds that the planet has roughly eight times the surface gravity of Earth.

That rules out not only Earth as the possible setting for Super Mario World, but any planet in our solar system -- not even Jupiter's surface gravity is that high. Even going outside of our solar system is problematic, both because we can't accurately calculate the surface gravity of many exoplanets, and because a planet with surface gravity so high is likely to be a gas giant.

In the end, what's most likely to have surface gravity as high as the planet in Super Mario World is a star, which is problematic for reasons that center around things like "heat" and "death."

Clearly, Nintendo didn't do its research when designing the jumping in Super Mario World. Having sold millions of copies, though, it'll likely live with its mistake.

For more looks at gaming science, check out GameSpot's Reality Check series.

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Flyin3lvl

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first mythbusters ..... now this ..... now lets see hollywoods effects put to a tes..... oh wait .......

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ArchoNils2

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Imagine how fun the game would be, if the jump takes like 10 times as long just to be physically correct :P

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0m39AX

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I guess this could be used in a physics class.

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coop36

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Is it just me, or do the controls feel 'off' in the New SMB games compared to the NES & SNES Mario games?

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PayneKiller

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Yet the physics in SMW remain my favorite of any platformer to date

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freedom01

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freedom01  Moderator

really? this guy is questioning gravity in a game? If he is going to question on something that is fantasy/fiction, he should question gravity in movies/ tv shows/ cartoons

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x_hunter00

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<< LINK REMOVED >> He is questioning it as a method to teach science. It wasn't meant to be literal. So calm down.

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gatsbythepig

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Are you saying he's not allowed to question game's physics, in your opinion? Or are you saying he should ALSO question movies/ tv shows/ cartoons?

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BarkingSpider81

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And how the hell does the Princess float in Mario 2? Does the dress act like Mary Poppins' umbrella, or does the princess have some supernatural David Blaine thing going on? I need answers.

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gatsbythepig

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Haha, Princess jumping an inch off of the ground and remaining there for about three seconds was my first thought... and Luigi's ability to jump far higher than anyone else. Luigi is a beast.

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SeriousDave

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While they're at it they should check the realism in mario kart too. That blue shell always seemed kinda fishy....

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asmoddeuss

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"Clearly, Nintendo didn't do its research when designing the jumping in Super Mario World. Having sold millions of copies, though, it'll likely live with its mistake." Never heard of something called Fantasy ?

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deactivated-58270bc086e0d

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" (technical term for really smart person)" spends his time trying to figure out whether a prime coloured Nintendo game is realistic..........

That is a contradiction if ever I heard it.

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ECH71

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Wow. The guy's got nothing better to do than indirectly question the original developer's algorithms.

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Darth_Starwind

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<< LINK REMOVED >> More likely just a science nerd and a Mario fan just having fun.

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Rayzakk

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Good to see some serious science issues being tackled. Of course scientists can also tell the theory of evolution with a straight face, so it's no surprise.

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deactivated-58270bc086e0d

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Key thing is they can also hand you the skull of one of our ancestors that made the theory reliable.

Creationists can't.

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ValensBellator

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Issue a recall imo

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gatsbythepig

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Considering Mario can jump to an elevation that exceeds his own height and has hang time greater than Michael Jordan, I'm going to have to assume the gravity on Super Mario World is closer to 1/2 times normal gravity.


Either that, or Mario would weigh less than 20lbs and should be able to leg-press 8-10 tons, without breaking a digital sweat.


Either way, the Mario franchise has always been and will mostly likely remain, among my favorite game series of all-time.

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deactivated-58270bc086e0d

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Weight has got nothing to do with the acceleration of freefall. A 1lb person and a 300lb person should have the same hang time when travelling along the same trajectory at the same speed.

Provided their size is similar. The only thing that effects acceleration of free fall is air resistance. Which is the reason a lump of lead accelerates faster than a feather for example.

They did the test on the moon with a hammer and a feather. Void of air they hit the ground at exactly the same time.

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gatsbythepig

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Here's the problem. Weight is entirely dependent on gravity and mass. Mass is also a very poorly defined word. Truly it should be density and gravity that define "weight", but since this article is entirely based in an imaginary world it is hard to describe weight in terms of our world, and our gravity.


Not really sure what your comment has to do with mine, but I (generally)agree with you. A really funny example of this is in the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. There is a scene where they describe everything you said, except Rosnecrantz forgets the part about wind resistance and drops a feather and bowling ball off a balcony. Obviously, the ball hits the ground first.


Here's something else SMB did right and I'm pretty sure it was not mentioned in the vid. Acceleration due to gravity affect objects at 9.8 M/S/S or 32.2 F/S/S until it reaches Terminal Velocity(approximately 120 MPH). The reason this is important in real life, and in the game, is that if there was no terminal velocity, an object would continue to fall faster and faster. In the SMB games, there is a terminal velocity, which makes it easier to control Mario. If there was no terminal velocity in SMB games, it would be a nightmare to control Mario the farther he fell.

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Tiwill44

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That's what makes it fun

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Zloth2

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Mario has a titanium spine if he's landing from that height at 8g.

Next on the calculation list - how much hair spray is needed to keep Princess Peach's hair up in an 8g world?

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SkyHighGam3r

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So THAT's why jumping on things always kills them.

Every time he jumps on a Koopa, it's like having 8 Mario's slammed on top of it at once.

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cbxero

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Thanks, Obama.

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foxrock66

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Wow way to go Nintendo.

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iandizion713

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These scientists are just not smart enough to understand that Mario lives within himself. I visited a planet in Mario Galaxy that looks like a Mario Head. Why Mario created this planet in his own Galaxy, i have no clue. Mario has some weird ideals, his gravity is off the charts. Even scientist cant figure out his science skills. He is just to great, maybe he is God? Its funny they say maybe the gravity is from stars when the whole game is based on Stars. Rosalina he star lady, luma's are stars and he travels around using stars, Bowser is even stealing the power stars...maybe, just maybe he is in Super Star Galaxy.

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Stebsis

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Why are people taking this so seriously? :D It's just fun to apply some real world logic to games, it's just entertainment

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spydayx1

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Its called fantasy it dosent have to be real, one of the greatest achievement in video games is when you can bend the laws of reality and make it work in amazing ways. funny as real as life is its amazing that it all floats in outer space. :)

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GredegHeado-san

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Also, there are mushrooms that bring you back to life.

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Furwings

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Awe man Nintendo! Unrealistic gravity? Damn, because the rest of the game is so true to life, how could you guys mess that up? Not sure about the rest of you but when I play a Mario game I'm looking for that true-to-life-like experience! ;)

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ahpuck

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You don't need science to figure that out, an ounce of logic will do.

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TheLeftHandDoom

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do you guys remember playing Contra? Is it possible for a projectile to be fired on a linear plane, with no parabola, that travels slow enough that a human being can out run it? Oh, wait, video games don't mimic reality?

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ArabrockermanX

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Funny I was having a conversation the other night about the physics in MGS4 and how broken they were...

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Furwings

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This just in: Turns out there are no such creatures as Goombas or Koopas in real life...

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TheLeftHandDoom

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You've never been to new jersey if you don't think there's such a thing as a Goomba.

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x_hunter00

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Well done sir, well done. Winner of the internet today.

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BarkingSpider81

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> You win the internets for the day, lefthand.

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SkyHighGam3r

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Take a look at Mitch McConell if you want to see a real-life koopa.

(Yeah I took that from John Stewart, but it fits lol)

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jinzo9988

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And despite all of that lack of realism, Super Mario World was and still is fun some-24 years later.

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