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Why Brooklyn Makes More Sense as a Super Mario Brother's Game Why Brooklyn Makes More Sense as a Super Mario Brother's Game

Why Brooklyn Makes More Sense as a Super Mario Brother's Game

by Ken Kocses
May 1, 2013

I think everyone deep down has the desire to take the world and stuff it into a little Polly Pocket case. To take it with them wherever they go, to open it up and peek inside—you know, where everything is supposed to be, where everything belongs. You put it back in your pocket for another time.

It’s comforting to arrange things this way. Not to mention insanely adorable. It's in this vain that I made a Super Mario World version of Bushwick, Brooklyn as a collection of images. Because in this ridiculously fast-paced age, in this crazy city, I’d say there’s more than just a little urge to make it easier. So I put it in kid terms.




Everyone knows 90s era Nintendo games—they’re the universal language of Millenials (sorry, other generations…here’s your chance to learn up though!). I always really liked the overworld maps from Mario and Zelda. There's something about the bird’s eye view that’s like being in a helicopter over a city, being able to see all the parts and pieces fit together, and especially those palm trees dancing to the beat. But unlike real life, if you looked at a Mario map, you would see there’s no perspective point. The picture is essentially a flat, 3D illusion: ‘Isometric projection’ is a term the math peeps might use.

Did you know that everyone has their own, personal Super Mario map? No, it’s true—you just have to know where to find it! It's like Neverland, try thinking happy thoughts.

I chose the neighborhood of Bushwick because this is where I’ve experienced a lot of fun and adventure. The area lends itself to it. There’s “Warehouse Land” (the streets west of Flushing), “Start Zone” (coming up from the L train at Bogart), “Carnival Path” (the cheap fun and glitz on Knickerbocker) and “Old Warp” (the century old, elevated JMZ Line). People like to make a big deal about gentrification, but the street fashions of young people in Bushwick, no matter if it’s locals or hipsters, are more universal than some might admit. Cool sunglasses are for everyone, man.

What does Bushwick Mario look like? Suspenders sans the undershirt obviously. A little chest hair is all the Mushroom Kingdom ever needed. Bushwick Peach would definitely have an edgier cut than in the original Mario Bros game. I thought there was a good correlation between the goombas in Mario Bros and real life rats on Bushwick streets. Anonymous, unending enemies. Also, why wouldn’t Bushwick Yoshi be yoshi-ing it around while smoking a joint? Exactly.



Some people ask me if I’ll ever make an actual game out of these maps. I’d like to, but the answer is no. Well, someone else can do it for me if they want, but I’m strictly a painter. Once the image is designed (using Photoshop), my job is the tedious application of colors. I’m talking a mind-numbing, 100 hours tedious! One must have the mentality of the Old Watchmaker. But when you’re guided by fuzzy dreams and memories, you slowly drift to the place you want to be.

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