Level Up Your Science!

Hey Y’all,

BST is mixing it up today with a playful post about everyone’s favorite plumber. I think that most articles about video games focus on how your brain reacts to playing them or the technical design and coding that goes into making them. However, I wanted to do a short post about the actual science within video games! It was actually rather challenging to find information on this, but I happened to stumble across a great Youtube channel that breaks down the science behind some video games. I am not a big gamer, so I had only ever played one of the games they created videos for: Super Mario! Consequently, this post will just focus on Mario’s superhuman strengths, but by all means, check out the other videos produced by the channel. The video, How Powerful is Mario?, touches on the physics behind Mario’s impressive jumping skills and his apparently adamantium-esk bone strength that he uses to blast through bricks. (FYI, a cubic inch of bone can handle about 19,000 pounds of weight! Crazy!)

 
Sticking to the topic of our beloved mustachioed man, I also happened to discover a short publication called “The Viability of Throwing Giant Tortoises onto Mines.” It was in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics from the University of Leicester. This journal is student run and prints only original papers submitted by undergraduates to better introduce/prepare undergraduate students for their actual scientific publishing journey. I think it is a great idea. Plus, students get the chance to explore less serious topics, and we get to read the resulting delightful gems. Here is the paper’s abstract:

 
“Due to Mario’s comparatively small stature in relation to Bowser, the hero of The Mushroom Kingdom must come up with novel ways to defeat his powerful nemesis to restore order to the land. One particular method in Super Mario 64 involves throwing Bowser onto explosive mines via grabbing his tail and spinning to generate angular momentum. The viability of this technique is investigated and found to be well beyond the limits achieved by Olympic athletes.”

 
The authors elaborate on the angular velocity and centripetal force requirements for such a feat. Unfortunately, the authors conclude that the tortoise-torquing method would not be a feasible way to save the Mushroom Kingdom. Sad day for the “unassuming Italian plumber.” However, it seems like the authors forgot to take into account Mario’s gravity-defying leg muscles and bones of steel! There may yet be hope for Princess Peach and her loyal Mushroom Kingdom subjects…

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