Eventually every game will be turned into a battle royale. If they did it to Tetris they can do it to anything.
The latest game to get the “there can only be one” treatment is none other than Super Mario Bros. This isn’t Nintendo’s work, though; a computer whiz known as InfernoPlus put together this free browser game, which pits 75 players against each other in a quick jaunt through classic stages from Super Mario Bros. and The Lost Levels. You can play it right now at this website, and if that sounds like your idea of fun you should hop on it soon. It’s probably only a matter of time before Nintendo axes this completely unofficial and unauthorized mutation of its intellectual property.
If you can’t quite wrap your head around how a side-scrolling Mario game works as a battle royale, here’s the scoop: y’all run. To the right. As fast as you can. Obviously you want to avoid death—don’t walk into any turtles or frowning mushrooms, don’t fall into any of those bottomless pits, and don’t even think about getting anywhere near fire. Players can only directly kill each other through power-ups; if you grab a fire flower you can blast away your competitors with fireballs, and if you get a star you can just shoulder block them straight into the afterlife. And because you’re all running on the same level, those power-ups can only be grabbed by a single player. It’s like PUBG if only one player got any kind of useful weapon at a time.
Here’s how my first game went. I was dropped into Super Mario Bros. World 3-1 along with 74 complete strangers. I hightailed it to towards the right, dodging all the Mario-killing obstacles like a pro. When I climbed a vine to a hidden cloudland full of coins, I was joined by a Mario with a fire flower, and just barely sprinted my way clear of his fireballs. By the time I reached the flag at the end of 3-1 there were only 12 players left. Yep, 63 of my enemies died on that first stage. I made it safely through 3-2 as well, and started 3-3 with only 9 active players left. Unfortunately I mistimed a jump, hit Mario’s head on the underside of a platform, and watched him plummet to his death below, finishing in ninth place. I still felt good about my performance, though. I made it to the top 10 on my first try, and would’ve immediately started up again if I didn’t have a job to do. (Uh, writing this is my job. No, I can’t believe it either.)
I’m generally not a battle royale fan. PUBG earns all the respect in the world for being the first to make it work, but it’s a little too sluggish and stressful for me. Fortnite’s not my bag at all and Tetris 99 just depresses the heck out of me (I used to think I was actually good at Tetris, but now I’m not nearly so foolish). InfernoPlus drew me in by making a battle royale out of a game that I could play in my sleep, and then fully won me over by seamlessly translating its rules and mechanics into this new format. If Nintendo was smart they’d give InfernoPlus a call and get them working on an official version of this game right now. Go check it out yourself while you can.
(Hat tip to Heather Alexandra at Kotaku for making me aware of this game in the first place.)