A question of gravity

In the spirit of pointless science here’s an exploration of the gravity of Super Mario’s world in each Mario release.

First, you must find the time it took Mario to fall from the edge of the ledge to the ground in each game. To do this, we opened each clip in Quicktime movie player, and using the frame by frame option, found the total number of frames it took Mario to fall. We then used the formula:

Time = (Number of Frames) / (Frame Rate)

To find the time of each of Mario’s falls. Once we knew the time, we needed to figure out the distance Mario fell in each game. We used a screen shot of Mario next to the ledge he fell from in each game, and found the height of Mario and the ledge in pixels. According to Wikipedia, Mario is “a little over five feet tall.”, so we used 5 feet, or 1.524 meters, as Mario’s height.

Turns out they’re getting closer and closer to real world conditions – which is a shame – because Mario’s success depends on his ability to leap tall pipes in a single bound. Read the rest of the study here.

“We determined that, generally speaking, the gravity in each Mario game, as game hardware has increased, is getting closer to the true value of gravity on earth of 9.8 m/s2. However, gravity, even on the newest consoles, is still extreme. According to Wikipedia, a typical person can withstand 5 g before losing consciousness, and all but the very latest of Mario games have gravity greater than this. Also, with gravity that great, it is a wonder Mario can perform such feats as leaping almost 5 times his own body height!”

Scroll to Top