Amidst the joggers and tourists in New York City's Central Park on a recent spring day was a man wearing a Microsoft HoloLens, jumping over nonexistent objects on an asphalt path and constantly swiveling his head like an owl as he slowly made his way through the park.
The man was Abhishek Singh, an intrepid computer programmer who recreated the first level of the iconic Super Mario Bros. video game for the HoloLens, a mixed-reality headset that superimposes the virtual world onto a pair of glasses so you can still see the physical world while you're wearing it.
The YouTube video of Singh's Super Mario Bros. adventure is worth watching for multiple reasons. Even if a life-sized version of the Nintendo classic doesn't impress you, you might still feel nostalgic after listening to a few loops of the retro soundtrack.
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It's also quite entertaining to watch Singh's attempts to launch fireballs using the standard method of HoloLens input, which is to pinch your thumb and pointer finger together in view of the headset's sensors. (Hint: it doesn't always work).
Singh faithfully recreated many elements of the game. He defeats enemies by jumping up and hitting the brick they're standing on from below, and expertly avoids falling into vertigo-inducing pits. He even dressed up as Mario, wearing overalls, a red shirt, and white gloves.
Singh used the Unity game development platform to create his augmented reality version of Super Mario Bros., according to his YouTube page. Unity offers its software for free to game developers with revenue of less than $100,000 per year, an enticing prospect if Singh's experiment inspires you to create your own version of a classic game for the HoloLens. The problem is actually getting a HoloLens: you'll have to shell out $3,000 for one of those.