Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Super Mario recreated to show treacherous journey of refugees

8 October 20150 comments

A new satirical version of the famous Nintendo video game ‘Super Mario Bros’ is a poignant illustration of the current plight of people attempting to flee from Syria to Europe.

The one and a half minute video of Syrian Super Mario has gone viral on the web after being uploaded in early September.

The gaming world’s much loved icon, moustachioed plumber Mario, has been altered for his 30th birthday to help explain the harsh realities that asylum seekers must endure.

The creator of the video is a 29 year old Syrian man known only by the pseudonym ‘Samir al-Mufti’ due to security reasons, and who is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey.

He created the video to show the extremely dangerous journey that those close to him have undertaken in their attempt to find safety.

“A lot of my friends have fled for Europe. From talking to them I built a clear idea of what they went through and the life threatening risks they took,” said Samir during an interview with the BBC.

In the ‘remake’ of the famous video game a Syrian refugee has to avoid corrupt border patrol and ends with the confrontational message of ‘Welcome Survivors’ in place of ‘Game Over’.

Rather than attempting to make his way to Bowser’s castle to rescue Princess Peach, Syrian Super Mario must get to a castle frankly marked ‘camp’.

One of the many obstacles depicted in the video is the Mediterranean crossing, where hundreds of refugees have drowned over the last few months.

On his first attempt Syrian Super Mario fails and drowns, but unlike real refugees he is given another ‘life’ and succeeds in his second attempt.

During the course of the video he is given more and more lives after being unable to overcome obstacles typical of the refugee journey from Syria to Europe.

The simplistic imagery and upbeat music is of course in stark contrast to the realities of the harrowing quest for safety.

This juxtaposition however, manages to highlight the crisis more so by showing how far removed viewers are from the real experience when watching media reports of the situation from the safety of our distant homes.

Samir told the BBC that he created the video after a friend drowned while attempting to cross over from Turkey to Greece.

He chose Super Mario in particular because of its recognition globally and therefore its ability to connect with a large audience.

“It needed to be a simple and clear idea that would work irrespective of language. I used Super Mario because it’s famous all over the world. It’s like music – a universal language,” Samir told the BBC.

The modern take on the 1985 video game has now been watched by thousands throughout the world on YouTube and Facebook.


Ruby Brown
AMES Australia Staff Writer