Giant Bomb News

66 Comments

Mario 'n Aperture Sitting in a Tree, P-O-R-T-A-L-I-N-G

Mario with a portal gun sounds great, but actually making it happen? These students did.

Maurice Guégan and Sašo Smolej are both 20-year-old students that have become known for being designers who defy expectations. You know their work, even if the names don't ring a bell. Guégan and Smolej are the co-founders of Stabyourself and responsible for Mari0, the amazing Super Mario Bros. and Portal mashup that's been making the rounds the past week.

Bowser isn't that hard to deal with when Aperture Science has equipped you with a cheating device.

Yes, Mari0's a real thing the two intend to release eventually, provided Valve or Nintendo don't come forward and ask the two of them to disappear from the Internet with a virtual finger snap. When the final game arrives has yet to be determined, the two tell me. It could happen before the end of the year, it could happen much sooner.

The pair, whom I recently spoke to over email, don't have a real concrete plan about their future in game development. It's unclear what the endgame for Stabyourself is, other than an outlet for their ideas, but for the time being, that seems to be enough for the both of them--and the rest of us are reaping the benefits of their humorous creativity.

Guégan and Smolej's creations have gone viral several times. In Not Tetris, they introduced real physics into the equation, rather than Tetris' traditional "snapping," which makes the game, uh, playable. This unexpected element makes Tetris a completely different kind of game. Not Pac-Man is also in the works--Guégan described the project as "almost finished"--but that one's hook is unknown.

"When I was packing up the first Not Tetris for a friend during development," said Guégan, "I decided to call it that and the name stuck because it fits with the 'it's not what you're expecting' thing. It was since turned into a running gag in the programming forum we frequent, where people will call their untitled games 'Not Roguelike' or 'Not Spaceshooter' until they come up with a better name."

The video "Mario Portal Test 3," in which Guégan shows off what would happen if Aperture Science started hanging out with Shigeru Miyamoto and our favorite plumber was handed a portal gun, was uploaded to on August 14. Since then, it's racked up more than 668,000 views. They had no idea people would flip out, but when it comes to Portal-related shenanigans, players can't control themselves. Portal: No Escape, a terrific short film inspired by Valve's series, is at over 5,000,000 views.

Mari0 was inspired by another video created by Dorkly, a division of College Humor, in which Mario's depicted manipulating his otherwise simple, two-dimensional world with a portal gun in hand.

"Maurice was already working on a Mario clone in Lua [a programming language], as practice if nothing else," said Smolej. "When the [Dorkly] video came along, the idea arose to just add portals to the game and see what happens. Apparently we're not the only ones that like it."

It's magic. I've been playing with an early build of Mari0 and can say watching a video is a fraction of the fun. Jumping around the Mushroom Kingdom as Mario wielding an object capable of ripping apart the fabric of his own known existence is...weird. It's goofy, bumbling fun when playing through the original levels crafted by Miyamoto and co., but it's when you dive into the handmade stages put together by Smolej and Guégan where Portal and Mario truly merge, and it becomes something new.

Pulling off a "tetris" is a helluva lot harder when the pieces don't just stay where they should, dammit.

"When you see Tetris, Pac-Man or Super Mario, you have certain expectations for how the game will behave, what rules you have to abide to and what youíll be doing over the course of the playing session," said Guégan. "With the Not games and Mari0, we're mixing this completely up, giving you a new way to play these games in a familiar environment. It's this transition, from being denied what you were expecting to adjusting to the changes, that we find most enjoyable."

It may sound obvious, but Guégan and Smolej are not simply modifying ROMs dumped onto the Internet. The sound and graphics are extracted from the original game, with the game itself reconstructed with Lua. It's the same process for all the nostalgic riffs Stabyourself's played with.

I tried to pitch Stabyourself on creating Not Mega Man, but they shrugged at the thought, as the two are more interested in playing with physics. They're open to playing around with it, though, if anyone has any ideas.

And why Stabyourself? Simple. Guégan was playing with some scissors and...stabbed himself.

"The scissors attacked me, I'm telling you!" claimed Guégan.

Smolej couldn't resist registering a domain after the incident, the kind of action nobody at Giant Bomb would ever think of taking, if you forget batmanbatmanbatman.com and a bunch of other stuff. Since then, the name's stuck around.

"Whatever else we'd come up with at that point, I'm sure it would end up being worse," said Smolej.

The finished version of Mari0 will have a fully functional level editor to craft your own stages.

The biggest question facing Stabyourself after being mentioned on every blog everywhere has been when (if?) someone will come and shut them down. Since hitting it big, they have made sure to make their intentions clear: they will not charge anything and the source will be released.

Still, the idea of a cease and desist bringing everything to a halt is a real threat, but they even joke about it on their contact page.

"As far as we can tell from other examples (like Portal: Flash Version and Super Mario Crossover) both companies [Valve, Nintendo] are okay with fanworks as long as they are making no profit off them," said Guégan. "We were actually sort of scared of The Tetris Company because they're known for cracking down on Tetris clones, including free ones, but we have yet to hear from them."

"Though the sudden popularity surge isn't really helping us stay under the radar," quipped Smolej.

"Yeah, thanks a lot Giant Bomb," responded Guégan.

You're welcome, guys.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
66 Comments
  • 66 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by patrickklepek

Maurice Guégan and Sašo Smolej are both 20-year-old students that have become known for being designers who defy expectations. You know their work, even if the names don't ring a bell. Guégan and Smolej are the co-founders of Stabyourself and responsible for Mari0, the amazing Super Mario Bros. and Portal mashup that's been making the rounds the past week.

Bowser isn't that hard to deal with when Aperture Science has equipped you with a cheating device.

Yes, Mari0's a real thing the two intend to release eventually, provided Valve or Nintendo don't come forward and ask the two of them to disappear from the Internet with a virtual finger snap. When the final game arrives has yet to be determined, the two tell me. It could happen before the end of the year, it could happen much sooner.

The pair, whom I recently spoke to over email, don't have a real concrete plan about their future in game development. It's unclear what the endgame for Stabyourself is, other than an outlet for their ideas, but for the time being, that seems to be enough for the both of them--and the rest of us are reaping the benefits of their humorous creativity.

Guégan and Smolej's creations have gone viral several times. In Not Tetris, they introduced real physics into the equation, rather than Tetris' traditional "snapping," which makes the game, uh, playable. This unexpected element makes Tetris a completely different kind of game. Not Pac-Man is also in the works--Guégan described the project as "almost finished"--but that one's hook is unknown.

"When I was packing up the first Not Tetris for a friend during development," said Guégan, "I decided to call it that and the name stuck because it fits with the 'it's not what you're expecting' thing. It was since turned into a running gag in the programming forum we frequent, where people will call their untitled games 'Not Roguelike' or 'Not Spaceshooter' until they come up with a better name."

The video "Mario Portal Test 3," in which Guégan shows off what would happen if Aperture Science started hanging out with Shigeru Miyamoto and our favorite plumber was handed a portal gun, was uploaded to on August 14. Since then, it's racked up more than 668,000 views. They had no idea people would flip out, but when it comes to Portal-related shenanigans, players can't control themselves. Portal: No Escape, a terrific short film inspired by Valve's series, is at over 5,000,000 views.

Mari0 was inspired by another video created by Dorkly, a division of College Humor, in which Mario's depicted manipulating his otherwise simple, two-dimensional world with a portal gun in hand.

"Maurice was already working on a Mario clone in Lua [a programming language], as practice if nothing else," said Smolej. "When the [Dorkly] video came along, the idea arose to just add portals to the game and see what happens. Apparently we're not the only ones that like it."

It's magic. I've been playing with an early build of Mari0 and can say watching a video is a fraction of the fun. Jumping around the Mushroom Kingdom as Mario wielding an object capable of ripping apart the fabric of his own known existence is...weird. It's goofy, bumbling fun when playing through the original levels crafted by Miyamoto and co., but it's when you dive into the handmade stages put together by Smolej and Guégan where Portal and Mario truly merge, and it becomes something new.

Pulling off a "tetris" is a helluva lot harder when the pieces don't just stay where they should, dammit.

"When you see Tetris, Pac-Man or Super Mario, you have certain expectations for how the game will behave, what rules you have to abide to and what youíll be doing over the course of the playing session," said Guégan. "With the Not games and Mari0, we're mixing this completely up, giving you a new way to play these games in a familiar environment. It's this transition, from being denied what you were expecting to adjusting to the changes, that we find most enjoyable."

It may sound obvious, but Guégan and Smolej are not simply modifying ROMs dumped onto the Internet. The sound and graphics are extracted from the original game, with the game itself reconstructed with Lua. It's the same process for all the nostalgic riffs Stabyourself's played with.

I tried to pitch Stabyourself on creating Not Mega Man, but they shrugged at the thought, as the two are more interested in playing with physics. They're open to playing around with it, though, if anyone has any ideas.

And why Stabyourself? Simple. Guégan was playing with some scissors and...stabbed himself.

"The scissors attacked me, I'm telling you!" claimed Guégan.

Smolej couldn't resist registering a domain after the incident, the kind of action nobody at Giant Bomb would ever think of taking, if you forget batmanbatmanbatman.com and a bunch of other stuff. Since then, the name's stuck around.

"Whatever else we'd come up with at that point, I'm sure it would end up being worse," said Smolej.

The finished version of Mari0 will have a fully functional level editor to craft your own stages.

The biggest question facing Stabyourself after being mentioned on every blog everywhere has been when (if?) someone will come and shut them down. Since hitting it big, they have made sure to make their intentions clear: they will not charge anything and the source will be released.

Still, the idea of a cease and desist bringing everything to a halt is a real threat, but they even joke about it on their contact page.

"As far as we can tell from other examples (like Portal: Flash Version and Super Mario Crossover) both companies [Valve, Nintendo] are okay with fanworks as long as they are making no profit off them," said Guégan. "We were actually sort of scared of The Tetris Company because they're known for cracking down on Tetris clones, including free ones, but we have yet to hear from them."

"Though the sudden popularity surge isn't really helping us stay under the radar," quipped Smolej.

"Yeah, thanks a lot Giant Bomb," responded Guégan.

You're welcome, guys.

Staff
Posted by x0xGreywolfX0X

Great?

Posted by Clonedzero

im not sure how i feel about this

Posted by Tebbit

That rhyme doesn't work, Klepek. IT DOESN'T WORK!

Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror

@Tebbit said:

That rhyme doesn't work, Klepek. IT DOESN'T WORK!

Tree and G (Gee) do sound similar.

Posted by Vexxan

I can't believe there's a game called Not Tetris.

Brilliant.

Posted by Ronald

After playing Not Tetris I have no clue how you make lines in that game. MariO looks interesting in a new play style, much in the way that other Mario mashups have been, such as using Megaman in Mario.

Posted by MrMazz

Thats pretty awesome

Posted by Tebbit

@RhombusOfTerror said:

@Tebbit said:

That rhyme doesn't work, Klepek. IT DOESN'T WORK!

Tree and G (Gee) do sound similar.

True, but it doesn't work, timing-wise. Try saying it out loud: ma-rio and ap-erture, si-tting in a tree. p-o-r-t-a-l-i.

The last part should be "ing". HEAR ME, INTERNET.

Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious

These titles are getting out of hand. Just say what the article is about.

Online
Posted by ronin00

It's cool, but there was really no need to use the portal gun in any of that video. If they do get the change to release this, I hope they come up with interesting puzzles.

Posted by Vendetta

It's like Alex and Patrick are competing for who can create a more irritating title to an article.

Posted by Trevion
Posted by lockwoodx

Playing Mario with a mouse should be illegal.

Posted by sirdesmond

This could be cool if it gets out and people take advantage of the level editor but the original Mario bros. is easy enough without a portal gun, so I'm not really sure how much fun that would be.

Posted by Jayzilla

that looks so fun just for giggles. i would love to see them do this to other games too for kicks.

Posted by NostalgicShakedown

As cool as the idea is, they are gonna have to make boss harder, judging by the video.

Posted by MattyFTM

I've played Not Tetris before. It was a weird game. Tetris and physics aren't meant to go together.

Moderator
Posted by avantegardener

Academic dick waving, and more power to them!

Posted by Krendrayven

Great use of portals, I would suck less at Mario games if this were true.

Posted by Jolt92

This was pretty rad.

Posted by SpiralEye

Even if they're told to stop, there will be a way to play this for ourselves. Oh yes, there will..

Posted by playastation

wow awesome.

also, would portalling have an extra 'L'?

Posted by mckoy82

Sweet!

Posted by buckybit

freaking awesome!

also, Patrick.

Posted by MisterMouse

Haha it is cool to see some of the humor come through in the interview, good piece.

Posted by RecSpec

Not Tetris looks pretty insane.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Awesome interview.

Posted by Gerhabio
@RhombusOfTerror

@Tebbit said:

That rhyme doesn't work, Klepek. IT DOESN'T WORK!

Tree and G (Gee) do sound similar.

It's the meter that's fucked up. Too namy syllables in the spwlling ount of Portalling
Posted by Munkatten

I could've sworn this was an Alex article by title alone.

Posted by TehJedicake

Pfft old news, favorited this 2 days ago, just kidding :P

Posted by KillyDarko

Great stuff, everything is better with a portal gun ^^

Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

oh god i would hate to play that Tetris....

Posted by Scodiac

hahaa So awesome.

Posted by TheGreatGuero

That's very cool. I approve.

Posted by Soccer5537

This is amazing

Posted by WindFall259

Put portals in ALL THE THINGS!

Posted by Brendan

@WindFall259 said:

Put portals in ALL THE THINGS!

Seriously. Between the short live videos and this, it's obvious that the creative depths of the portal gun idea are near bottomless. It's just such a cool thing to watch, let alone do.

Posted by sofakingstewpit

Holy Effing Schnitt! That is amazing!

Posted by YoungBuck

This is the craziest shit I've seen all week.

Posted by xite

Ever since Minecraft did it, modding a portal gun into games seems to be becoming a standard, like 1-1 or e1m1, except with scripting. And I'm okay with that.

Posted by Kingfalcon

Very, very interesting. Please keep us abreast of the development cycle. I would like to play this when it eventually comes out.

Posted by RudeMechanical

Adding portals to things is the new black.

Posted by XanderCz

Wow, this is really cool. Brings new elements to the gameplay.

Posted by rmanthorp

This is my favorite article on Giant Bomb to date. FANTASTIC work.

Moderator
Posted by mgparker

Mario suffers from a lack of teleportation and portals. Problem solved.

Posted by FordPerfect

Enjoyed seeing the game on the happy hour seems very interesting

Posted by iam3green

well this looks good. it probably will be weird to play the game but still.

Posted by MforMaverick

Lol, that was great. 

Posted by Elusionar

Nintendo should pick this up, its a console seller for sure.
  • 66 results
  • 1
  • 2