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AI Turns Super Mario Bros. Characters Into Real People On TikTok

What if your favorite "Super Mario Bros." characters were real? Artificial intelligence has a complicated (but beautiful) answer. If there's one video game character that's as ubiquitous and recognizable as McDonald's Golden Arches or Mickey Mouse's large ears, it's Mario. The Italian plumber first debuted in the '80s with Nintendo's "Donkey Kong" video game, which paved the way for the character to star in his own "Super Mario Bros." franchise, which consists of over a dozen games. 

Today, Mario and his merry band of friends (and enemies) stand out as some of the most beloved characters in the video game sphere. And with the debut of Universal Pictures' billion-dollar-grossing "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," they've penetrated the world of cinema. Throughout the years, Mario and his related characters have mostly retained the same quirky visual design, with the film adaptation sticking true to the character's aesthetic roots. But what if Mario, Luigi, and Toad made the jump to the real world? TikTok user @aiviking did just that in an AI-generated viral video, showing what they would look like if they existed in our world. 


Super Mario characters in real life Made with Midjourney #supermario #marioai #marioirl

♬ Super Mario Bros Main Theme – Geek Music

Mario himself looks genuinely real in the fan-made concept. The plumber is seen sporting a ridiculously large, hipster-like mustache. He retains his signature red hat, though his overalls are switched in favor of a hoodie — far more practical and fashionable in today's day and age. The same visual design goes for his brother Luigi. While most of the "humans" in the "Mario" world make the jump to the real-world with grace, it's interesting how the artist tackles some of the more fantastical creatures who populate the franchise. 

Bowser and Toad boast unique designs in the Mario AI-generated concept

Most of the human characters in the "Super Mario Bros." concept are depicted just as one would expect. Daisy and Princess Peach, for example, jump from the world of animation and sprites to the real world pretty easily, shown as women wearing the same clothes as they do in the games. Things do get interesting with characters like Bowser, the main villain in the "Super Mario Bros." franchise. 

In the video games, Bowser looks like a hulking dinosaur-like version of a turtle, sporting a large, spiky backshell and yellow body. As opposed to giving him the human treatment, the visual artist behind the concept notably decides to make the character look more "realistic." In the concept, Bowser is depicted as a large, fire-breathing lizard. The artist could have easily turned Bowser into a human, giving him an outfit that resembles his notable visual design, but instead opted to keep the fantastical and whimsical vibes of the video game for the concept. And it seems like this choice has proven to be popular — the TikTok video has some 1.2 million views.

Throughout the AI-generated video, viewers are shown key characters brought into the real world without much aesthetic sacrifice. Donkey Kong, for example, is still a large gorilla as opposed to a tall, strong individual who is hairy. Koopa Troopas still retain their turtle-like design and are absolutely adorable in the video. The most interesting design is that of Toad. The cheery character is seen as a human, wearing a hat that features red spots. Waluigi and Wario also boast inspired designs, shown as weathered and wrinkled, making them worthy foes to Luigi and Mario — their mortal "enemies."