Researchers break the illusion of Mario warp pipes in an experiment

If you’ve ever wondered how exactly the Mario warp pipes work beneath the surface, a team of researchers is happy to give you some answers

Custom image for Mario warp pipes news article with Mario himself jumping out of a green warp pipe

In terms of famous Mushroom Kingdom iconography, the Mario warp pipes are some of the most recognisable out there. With gimmicks coming and going with ease in the Mario series, the thick green pipes have been around since the start and haven’t missed an outing in all of the moustachioed plumber’s adventures since first arriving on the scene in 1985. But how they work exactly is still a mystery.

Well, it was a mystery, but thanks to the work of some researchers from Tokyo’s Meiji University, we can now shine a little light on how the Mario warp pipes function thanks to the work of Taking multiple monitors, the team have set up a Super Mario Bros. level with separate screens rather than scrolling ones, with a monitor below and above to indicate where the pipe warps too.

This simple experiment shows how the subsurface areas Mario warps into move along with the game world to transport Jumpman to the exit, and it’s quite something to see the bottom screen whizz along to meet up with the main level. The same goes for warp pipes that take you up to the sky, with the team showing how these areas can move freely above or below the main level.

Mario warp pipes

If you want to see for yourself how Mario’s iconic warp pipes work you can check out the work of the researchers in the video below. What exactly the work will be useful for in real life I don’t know, but it does shine a light on how one of the most well-known in-game worlds works behind the scenes.

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With that, you’re up to date on the latest, and we assume only, research into Mario warp pipes. For more on Nintendo’s iconic mascot, check out our Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope review.