See how one smart modder uses an old exercise bike to control Super Mario Kart on the SNES.
Video games sure are tons o’ fun. Too bad a majority of them, everything sans Dance Central or Wii Fit, don’t fill one important requirement that’s absolutely necessary in having a happy and healthy well-being. NO. Not an endless supply of cute puppy and kitten pictures from the Internet (it doesn’t hurt though!) I’m talking about exercise, folks.
Exercise, or just being reasonably active in general, has a lot of net positives, don’t-cha-know. Making sure you can walk up a single flight of stairs without upchucking your lunch onto the innocent bystanders below, or boosting up your immune system from nasty viruses and the like are certainly two biggies. Plus, recent studies have also shown that it can greatly treat depression and stress.
The only big fumbling step when it comes to exercise honestly, is that it – from personal experience – can be such a bore. Geeze, just thinking about it now is making me tired at the idea already…
Alright, so I previously mentioned games like Dance Central or Wii Fit, which do a splendid job of making the routine of exercise, as Bender from Futurama would say, “fun on a bun.” But what about timeless go-karting classics like 1992’s Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo? Well, a modding genius from the northern land of Canada (I believe it’s pronounced KAH-NAH-DAH) has you covered.
Here we have modder Brent Smith and his inventive Super Mario Control Set Up that uses a beat-up exercise bike to control the game. Details wise: it uses a popular open-source single-board microcontroller, called a Arduino, which I just learned is a real thing today, to connect directly into an original SNES console, thus allowing the game to be played via pedaling the bike. Nifty!
In order to accelerate in-game, the user in the video, in this case Brent himself, must keep moving the bike’s pedals at a certain rate, while other Super Mario Kart control functions, say go-kart steering or firing off a red-shell are all accessed on the handlebars. The entire process looks both cool and quite exhausting.
Brent should count his lucky stars that’s just Super Mario Kart he’s playing though. Imagine if it was F-Zero! He’d might probably end up either muscly ripped like an after-story P90X user (wait, why is that bad exactly?), or land straight in a hospital hooked up to a respirator (okay, now that’s bad.)