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Calculating gravity (or, rather, acceleration due to gravity) in Mario games

There were a couple moments last week, especially late at night, wherein I consciously thought, “You know what you’re doing to yourself, right? You’re going to exhaust yourself and invariably catch the GDC plague.” So now here we are—sorry about the Infinite Lives outage.

Have you ever noticed how, in the earliest episodes of the Mario Bros franchise, Mario himself has this sort of slipperiness? Almost as if the physics are different?

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)

Turns out that, across games and platforms, Mario’s relationship to gravity evolves thusly:


One response to “Calculating gravity (or, rather, acceleration due to gravity) in Mario games” »

  1. Adam says:

    Every one has been slow to update since GDC started (me included)!

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