How many miles did Mario really travel in the original NES Super Mario Bros.?

Contributed by
Apr 10, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT (Updated)

We all have fond memories of playing Super Mario Bros. back in the glorious 1980s, but exactly how far did our favorite mustachioed plumber actually travel to save the princess?

The folks at Mental Floss set out to answer that question, and the findings might surprise you. To do it, the researcher took advantage of Ian Alberts’ massive, single-screen maps of the full levels, which were stitched together via screen grabs.

From there, they figured out Mario’s relative size in relation to the world in those screen shots, and added them all together (including the water levels and bonus areas) to find a grand distance total from the first level all the way to the end.

So, how far was Mario’s epic journey? Approximately 3.4 miles. That’s it. Oddly enough, when we were kids playing through this thing for days on end, it felt a heck of a lot longer than a juiced-up 5K. Interesting side note: The swimming levels on their own added up to 371 meters, or 7 1/2 laps in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. As I dodged fish after fish all those years ago, it felt longer.

Are you surprised to find out the relatively short distance Mario traveled all those years ago? Are you jonesing for some vintage gaming now?

(Via Mental Floss, header photo via CodFather)