Completing Mario's journey in Super Mario Bros. was a voyage fraught with shell-related aneurysms and violent controller abuse, but from our favorite Italian plumber's point of view, it turns out the whole thing was a walk (well, jog) in the park.
Mental Floss's Nick Greene has laboriously worked out just how much terrain Mario swam, leapt, and massacred through in the iconic 8-bit-romp, and it turns out this arduous voyage covers less distance than your Granny's average jog in the park.
To figure this out, Greene took a detailed look at Ian Albert's level maps and measured their width to see how much far it was from start line to flag pole. Mario's relative size (before he became a mushroom-munching giant) was then calculated as if he was a human-sized average Joe. Due to Mario's somewhat unusual stance, the measurements were based on someone whose stride led to their feet being shoulder-width apart, or 26 inches.
Because Mario is an inherently sensible dude with his eye on the prize, it was assumed he didn't mess around with bonus areas or warps. With this is mind, maths tells us Mario's world 1-1 starting point is about 17,835 feet away from the final castle. Or, if you'd prefer that answer in plain English, Mario covers a lowly 3.4 miles.
Of course, being an overweight plumber doesn't automatically make Mario a lazy bum — he also indulges in an occasional swim on his travels to find the apple (or Peach) of his eye. If you count the underwater levels, Mario doggy-paddles 218.5 feet, which translates to some about 7.5 laps of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Considering Mario pulled this off fully clothed, I think we can safely say he is more of a Michael Phelps than a Usain Bolt.
Because Mario meanders around on his travels and is occasionally transported to different locations on various moving objects, this is a loose approximation that puts all of the hours of button-bashing, bullet-dodging, abyss-plummeting, and turtle-terrorizing into context. It all added up to little more than a 5K to get to his princess. I feel as deflated as a crushed goomba now.
Were you surprised at how little distance Mario traveled to save Princess Peach?
(Source: Mental Floss)