New Super Mario Movie Trailer Shows Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong

Image for article titled Mario Movie's Donkey Kong Voice Is Just Seth Rogen

Screenshot: Illumination

It’s weird that one of the things people have been most interested about as far as the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie is concerned is how everyone sounds. I mean, we know who the cast is, have known that forever, but what we haven’t known is the extent to which each actor was going to ham it up.

It’s why everyone has been so obsessed with Chris Pratt’s Mario, and why Jack Black seems perfect as Bowser because…he’s done that voice 1000 times and he was born for the role. One major voice we haven’t heard yet, though, is Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, and it was also one that could have gone in any number of directions.

As this Thomas Game Docs video below explains, Donkey Kong’s voice has been all over the place over for decades. While Charles Martinet’s Mario is Mario to successive generations, there’s been zero consistency as far as Donkey Kong is concerned.

Why doesn’t Donkey Kong sound like he used to?

Which means, I guess, that this movie was free to go in whatever direction it wanted with the character, and that’s exactly what has happened. As this short new trailer released during the Eagles v Niners game tonight shows, Seth Rogen has been hired to…just be Seth Rogen.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie | Smash

Much of that trailer has been shown before, with Mario getting the absolute shit beaten out of him, but obviously that end section with Donkey Kong speaking is new. Also great to see the cat suit make an appearance, because the more this movie can lift from Super Mario 3D World—which more than any other Mario game plays like a big budget animated film—the better.

Not that any of this talk about Donkey Kong’s voice even matters, since it’s not like that’s the characters main appeal anyway.

Super Nintendo World’s Mario Kart Ride Only Accepts Thin People

Super Nintendo World, the latest addition to Universal Hollywood’s theme park, is set to open in just a few weeks, giving Mario fans the opportunity to step into a vivid recreation of the Mushroom Kingdom, packed with sights and sounds they know and love. Not all of them, however, will be able to experience the featured attraction Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, as it has a very specific requirement: Your waistline must not be 40 inches or larger.

An elaborate “3D and 4D ride,” according to the official page for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, the single-user ride takes attendees through a variety of Mario-themed settings brought to life with “cutting-edge technology.” On the ride, you’ll individually or collectively team up to foil Team Bowser’s plans to grab that golden cup before Mario and friends do. But as The Wall Street Journal observed in an article highlighting the limiting weight requirements, (which can be found on the official app for park navigation and line management) “Guests whose waistline is at least 40” or greater may not be accommodated on the ride.” The app’s copy indicates that there’s a test seat available to gauge whether or not an attendee meets these requirements. Given that the average waist circumference in the U.S. is just around 40 inches, this certainly seems likely to exclude a good number of folks.

Universal Studios Hollywood

“Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this,” opens one tweet from YouTuber and “Food influencer,” Rocco Botte, “the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous.

Another popular tweet calls out the absurdity of such a strict waist limitation. “A 40” waist line is about a [women’s] size 20.”

According to CDC statistics cited by Healthline, the average clothing size for adults assigned female at birth hovers between 18 to 20. As many replies to the tweet above indicate, a 40-inch waist is a “very normal and common size to be for many body types.” And Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge isn’t the only ride with such strict limitations. At least four other Universal Studios rides, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Revenge of the Mummy — the Ride also cite the same 40-inch limit, with suggestions that attendees ought to use the test seat to determine if the ride can accommodate them.

As The Wall Street Journal found out, such test seats are hardly accurate and aren’t terribly private. “Visitors say the tryouts can be awkward [and] less forgiving than the actual seats on the ride,” the paper reports.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Universal Parks & Resorts provided Kotaku with the following statement:

“We are always listening to our guests and seek to balance their needs against our strong focus on the safety of our attractions. We have a company-wide task force actively working with this community to make changes that can help them safely increase access to our experiences.”

The company also said that it values accessibility and will be reconfiguring some existing rides, starting with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Universal Orlando.

The waistline requirement particularly stings as Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the only ride to be featured at Super Nintendo World, yet it’s not designed to accommodate average or plus size attendees’ physical dimensions.

Update 2/2/23 2:30 PM: The story has been updated to include a comment from Universal Parks & Resorts.

Pedro Pascal Stars In Hilarious (Fake) Mario Kart x HBO Trailer

When I see news that Saturday Night Live has released another sketch dedicated to the Mario Kart franchise, I get flashbacks.

I think we all remember the frankly quite frightening episode of Saturday Night Live back in 2021 where the world’s second-richest man and currently the world’s most punishing poster Elon Musk hosted. It wasn’t just unfunny because he was there (although his first-time-speaking-to-humans delivery definitely didn’t help), but it almost felt like every sketch he appeared in was specifically designed in a lab to trigger a fight-or-flight response to anyone who watched.

In particular, we think of one bit. The Wario sketch. A sketch with a pretty funny starting concept (Wario is on trial for killing Mario in a karting accident), and truly piss-poor execution. Weird accents, Fanfiction.net-esque twist, and just generally bare-minimum comedy. When you hear “Mario Kart comedy sketch” and this comes to mind, one can’t help but tremble with fear and experience severe acid reflux.

With that in mind, I think I can comfortably say that SNL has redeemed itself. Its newest attempt at satirising Mario Kart in the show’s most recent episode with Pedro Pascal is a triumph.

Actor Pedro Pascal is best known recently for his portrayal of Joel in HBO’s TV adaptation of The Last of Us. In his first time hosting the long-running sketch comedy show, Pascal addresses the many, many “fancams” that are made of him online in Fancam Assembly, where Pascal plays the principal of a school where students won’t stop making TikTok fancams of him. It rules. As well as that, he did something that many thought was impossible: star in a Mario Kart sketch that wasn’t cringe.

HBO Mario Kart Trailer – SNL

Playing on the lack of narrative in Mario Kart and the deep and enthralling narrative of HBO’s The Last of Us, HBO’s Mario Kart is genuinely a well-executed sketch based on a simple and timely concept. What if something that is traditionally light-hearted and fun was actually serious and gritty? We’ve seen it done before, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well. Visually, it looks ridiculous yet high quality. The fake review quotes got me. Me likey!

Of course, comedy is subjective, and things that make me go “tee hee” might not make you go “hee haw”. You might’ve even thought the Musk Wario sketch and thought it was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, and that’s okay. Legally, I cannot stop you from feeling this way, though certainly I wish you didn’t.

But me personally? I think the HBO’s Mario Kart sketch knocks it out of the park.

This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia

Mario Kart 8 Gets New Track And A Fashionably Late Birdo

Birdo is seen gliding above a race track on her cart with Yoshi behind her.

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

During today’s Nintendo Direct, the company announced the next batch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC, which will bring Birdo to the long-running kart racer this spring.

Birdo is accompanied by a course based on Yoshi’s Island, which is based on the spin-off series of the same name. Both the racer and track are part of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Booster Course Pass, which costs $24.99. Birdo and Yoshi’s Island are part of the fourth wave of DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has included new racers, tracks, and cups. In total, the pass has 48 additional courses on top of the 48 courses already included in the main game.

Check out the trailer for Birdo and Yoshi’s Island below:

Nintendo UK

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launched in 2017 for the Switch after the original game initially launched on the Wii U back in 2014. It was one of the earliest examples of Nintendo porting Wii U games to the Switch, which has given a lot of people a chance to play the games on a console that is actually selling well. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of that initiative, as the port has sold over 52 million copies since 2017.

Much of that success comes from Nintendo’s continued support of the game, as the Booster Course Pass has helped to keep the game alive for nearly six years at this point. And now it gets Birdo, who I’m frankly surprised took this long to be added to the roster. The trailer shows several color variations for her, as well, including pink, yellow, blue, orange, red, and green.

While Nintendo has been actively supporting Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the company also weirdly enough put out an update for Mario Kart 7 recently for the first time in 10 years.

Super Mario Bros. Super Bowl Ad Brings Back ‘Mario Rap’

Another new trailer for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie has been released today, part of the onslaught of expensive and lengthy Super Bowl commercials, and while that’s usually enough to rot the brains of even the most online among us, I can assure you, this one is fantastic.

Unlike every previous trailer, which are actual trailers featuring snippets from the movie, this is a new take on the Mario Rap, the classic intro from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, the live-action series that ran from 1989-1991.

Here, in case you need a refresher, is the original:

Super Mario Brothers Super Show Intro

And here is the 2023 version:

Super Mario Bros. Plumbing Commercial

I haven’t called that number because I’m not the in the US, but that website is indeed up and running, and is everything you would hope it would be from a struggling small business servicing the Brooklyn and Queens areas. There’s excessive animation, broken image links, a careers page (still under construction, sadly) and even a novelty mouse cursor.

UPDATE: Hahahaha the number works:

Best of all, though, are the testimonials, including one from Spike, who is actually the brothers’ boss, and who is making an appearance in the movie (he’ll be played by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco).

Image for article titled 'Mario Rap' Makes Comeback In Super Mario Bros. Movie Super Bowl Commercial

Screenshot: Illumination


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Image for article titled 'Mario Rap' Makes Comeback In Super Mario Bros. Movie Super Bowl Commercial

Screenshot: Illumination

It’s weird that one of the things people have been most interested about as far as the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie is concerned is how everyone sounds. I mean, we know who the cast is, have known that forever, but what we haven’t known is the extent to which each actor was going to ham it up.

It’s why everyone has been so obsessed with Chris Pratt’s Mario, and why Jack Black seems perfect as Bowser because…he’s done that voice 1000 times and he was born for the role. One major voice we haven’t heard yet, though, is Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, and it was also one that could have gone in any number of directions.

READ MORE

This AI Makes Endless Super Mario Bros. Levels With A Few Words

A Super Mario Maker image showing Mario running away from perilous danger. While not MarioGPT, the text-to-level tool does the same thing as Super Mario Maker.

Image: Nintendo

The technology we casually refer to as “artificial intelligence” is suddenly everywhere. It’s used to “create” art, dialogue and voice, text, even video games! It’s nigh impossible to escape as we enter a dystopian future in which generative technology seeks to threaten entire livelihoods (including those of Twitch streamers). But sometimes, despite how fraught the discourse around AI can be, you’ll discover something kinda cool. So, let me introduce you to MarioGPT, an artificial intelligence tool that creates classic Super Mario Bros. levels via text prompts.

Read More: What People Get Wrong When They Think About Video Game AI

AI research began all the way back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and it’s been a gradual climb since. Today, we plug massive sets of data into advanced generative technologies so we can adapt and shape their output.This leads us to our current discourse, with tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E becoming mainstream. Simply entering a text prompt into an AI tool such as Midjourney will produce a machine-generated result culled from hundreds if not thousands of data sets. Ethical questions around ownership arise, some even leading to lawsuits around copyright infringement, but the sales pitch is that anyone can create anything with the help of artificial intelligence. Have an amazing idea for a novel but can’t write for shit? No problem! Plug your ideas into a writing AI like Jasper, then sit back and watch as technology writes your novel for you. Why struggle with creativity when you can have a robot do that instead?

The same thing can be done for video games. Created by a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, MarioGPT is a tool that can generate an endless supply of side-scrolling level layouts based on classic Super Mario Bros. stages. According to Sebastian Risi, an AI researcher who collaborated on the project, the trained tool uses “a fine-tuned GPT2 model” to gobble up text prompts and spit out levels that somewhat mirror what an actual human might create. Risi noted on Twitter that although MarioGPT “sometimes” fails to create levels on a given prompt, it “works well” in most other situations.

Kotaku reached out to Risi for comment.

Read More: AI Creating ‘Art’ Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare

The researchers posted an eight-page PDF detailing MarioGPT’s methodology, noting that the tool is probably “the first text-to-level model” in existence. The goal, according to the researchers, is to “allow for the open-ended generation of an increasingly diverse range of content” to address the challenges of making procedurally generated games. There’s a GitHub for the tech, which requires Python. You’ll need some technical expertise, but considering MarioGPT is available for free, anyone can pick it up, study the tech’s underpinnings, and use it to create their own Super Mario Bros. levels. It’s like Super Mario Maker but powered by artificial intelligence.

 

Mario Kart Fans Are Aghast To Learn About Secret Points

Mario sitting on a kart.

Image: Nintendo

The Mario Kart community recently found out that the Game Boy Advance entry in the series, Super Circuit, was secretly giving bonus points to certain characters in the roster, and not everyone is happy about it. Characters such as Bowser get the largest amount of bonus points, while Peach and Toad get less. It turns out there might be a good reason why these point distributions are so uneven. Except for Yoshi. I think someone on the Super Circuit development team just really hated Yoshi.

Mario Kart Super Circuit includes ranks, which denote how well a player performed in all four tracks (placing first doesn’t guarantee a top rank). Points are gained and lost based on how skillfully you played. You’d assume everyone would be on the same playing field, starting at zero points until they do something that would change their score. But no, some characters already start with a point total that puts them ahead of the pack.

The information is taken from a dataminer, who managed to calculate the individual bonus scores for each character. It turns out, each character also gets a static number of bonus points added to their final score. Bowser gets 45 points. Wario and Donkey Kong receive 40. Mario and Luigi players score 30 each. Peach and Toad are left with 10. Yoshi is the only character who doesn’t get any points whatsoever. Brutal.

Read More: Let’s Rank The Mario Kart Games, Worst To Best

As you might have noticed, most of these point distributions aren’t entirely random. Heavier characters receive more bonus points than lighter characters, likely to account for how much more difficult they are to play. The only exception to this is Yoshi. He has less speed than either Peach or Toad, and exists in a higher weight class. There’s some speculation that he was penalized for having more “grip,” AKA it was easier to maneuver him compared to other characters.

Several Yoshi mains were infuriated that they had played Super Circuit without knowing about their disadvantage. Maybe people would have been less upset if they were told about the point system upfront. Instead, the secret point bonuses led people to feel gaslit about how difficult it was to achieve three stars on lighter characters. Besides, maybe some Mario Kart drivers picked heavier characters for the challenge. That challenge goes away if they’re getting hidden bonus points for choosing Bowser as their driver.

At least the Yoshi mains are being vindicated right now. It was never you. It was a game that considered your driver to be an easy mode.

Jack Black’s Bowser Balls Censored During Mario Movie TV Spot

Jack Black in a Bowser outfits stands in front of a woman with his crotch censored via a big black bar.

Earlier today on NBC’s The Kelly Clarkson Show, guest Jack Black appeared wearing a Bowser costume that showed off a lot of his private toadstool and koopas, forcing the network censors to awkwardly blur his entire crotch.

During today’s episode of NBC’s daytime talk show, the stars of the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. Movie appeared to talk about the film and smile a lot as part of the usual media blitz associated with major Hollywood movies. And as part of this “fun” segment on the show, the cast all “tricked” Jack Black, who voices Bowser in the movie, to dress up like the character. Apparently, they told him they were all going to do the same—dress up as their videogame counterparts—and didn’t, leading to network-approved shenanigans via this totally real and very fun “prank” on the actor/comedian/musician/TikTok star.

However, when Jack Black made his silly entrance, doing all the things you expect the actor to do—like high kick, scream, and dance—things got strange as NBC decided the country wasn’t ready to see the outline of Jack Black’s ball sack on national TV. So when he enters and starts dancing, his crotch is completely blurred out.

NBC

So what’s going on here? How much of Jack’s sack and sausage could the in-studio audience and crew actually see? Well, we can get a bit of a hint if we look at Black before he leaps out like a madman. It seems the network didn’t mind or notice the crotch bulge that Black is sporting when he first talks to Kelly Clarkson backstage.

A screenshot shows the outline of Jack Black's balls in a yellow jumpsuit.

Screenshot: NBC / Kotaku

It is interesting to note that the camera operator during that intro quickly moves up to crop out Black’s crotch. Perhaps even they realized what was showing and decided to hide it. But once Black is out on the stage, there is no hiding his junk, freely swinging in the outfit that was likely picked up hours before by some intern who was really hoping to have a better job in Hollywood by now. But hey, at least you didn’t have to spend a few hours blurring out Jack Black’s dick and balls so as not to disgust the prudish audience watching Kelly Clarkson’s morning show.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out in theaters on April 5, 2023. Jack Black is in it. But sadly, I don’t think you’ll see his balls.

Looks Like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Is Getting Five New Characters

Mario Kart 8, a game that was first released ten years ago on the Wii U, is still not done. The 2017 Switch version of the game is currently in the midst of a run of downloadable content that is bringing not only new courses to the game, but new drivers as well.

We welcomed Birdo (alongside a Yoshi’s Island course) in the latest update, released today, but this fresh screenshot taken after its installation shows that there is still room for five more:

Five more! Five mystery characters in a popular first-party Nintendo game! You know what that means, everyone. It means it’s time for speculation.

While the series previously liked to keep things in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario Kart 8’s updates have slowly introduced characters from other Nintendo franchises, ranging from Zelda to Splatoon. Meaning these five characters could, in true Smash Bros. fashion, be coming from anywhere.

Maybe it’ll be someone new, but expected. Samus is an obvious choice here, especially as a car based on her ship would be such an obvious combo (and a Metroid-themed course would also kick ass).

Maybe it’ll be a different take on an existing character. There are multiple Marios here…is there room for a second Link? A Wind Waker Link, perhaps? If it’s good enough for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s good enough for Mario Kart 8.

It could, however, be someone else. Nintendo has a long, long history, after all. It’s a little weird that characters from F-Zero, a Nintendo series about racing cars, aren’t featured here in Mario Kart 8, a Nintendo game about racing cars. Captain Falcon would slot right in, especially since there’s already an F-Zero course (and vehicle!) in the game.

Maybe it’s time for some Pikmin? Punch-Out? Is Arms too obscure a reference in 2023? Maybe the space is being left for the movie versions of some famous Mario characters?

Maybe you should take over now. Nintendo-related speculation is hard work.

UPDATE: This might help narrow it down. Nintendo says in a press release accompanying today’s DLC that “Two upcoming waves of DLC are still to come, featuring more returning courses and characters from across the Mario Kart series”.

“Returning characters” certainly kills off some of the wilder suggestions above! And leaves us with possibilities like Petey Piranha and…Wiggler?

Final Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer Debuts At Nintendo Direct

Today, during Nintendo’s special Super Mario Bros.-themed Direct, we got a look at the third and final trailer for the anticipated, animated Super Mario Bros .Movie .

Before the trailer rolled, we got to see the Hollywood cast, Miyamoto, and Illumination founder riff about how March 10 (which spells “MAR10″ or “Mario” when looked at a certain way) is the official day of Nintendo’s plumber. But Jack Black then butted in, arguing that it should in fact be Bowser Day. Black’s word is law, so happy Bowser Day. Then, the final trailer gave us a better look at Mario tearing up fools on Rainbow Road, as well as Bowser’s legion of Koopa. You can watch the trailer below.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Direct – 3.9.2023 (Final Trailer)

After the trailer, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, the film’s directors talked about how they worked hard on making Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road and the vehicles racing down it authentic to Nintendo’s games. Finally, Miyamoto announced that Mario’s silver-screen shoes will be available to view at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood.

While Jack Black’s Bowser featured prominently today, the previous Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer gifted us with a closer look, or listen, to Seth Rogan’s performance as Donkey Kong. Rogan is implementing Mario portrayer Chris Pratt’s method of using his regular human voice (stoner edition) in the Donkey Kong-focused trailer, where DK continued to put paws on an unfortunate Mario. It spawned a bunch of memes where fans repurposed the clip of Donkey Kong winding up to sock Mario with scenes from other popular tv shows and video games. Whether the movie turns out to be spectacular or god-awful, you can’t deny how meme-worthy its ad campaigns are.

Read More: Everyone Sounds Awesome In The New Mario Movie But Mario

Shigeru Miyamoto stunned the world back in 2021 with the one-two-punch that Nintendo and Illumination Studios (the folks behind The Minions movies) were working on an animated Mario movie with a bizarre-yet-undeniably star-studded Hollywood cast. In addition to Pratt and Rogen, other notable performances include Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, and Fred Armisen will voice Cranky Kong, among others.

Super Mario Bros. Il Film | Teaser Trailer Ufficiale (Universal Pictures) HD

While many continue to hem and haw at Guardians of the Galaxy actor Pratt’s inconsistent Brooklyn accent and his plumber’s lack of an ass, the majority of folks online are digging Jack Black’s show-stealing vocal performance as Bowser. But let’s be honest, all anyone really wants to hear is Zombieland Saga voice actor Mamoru Miyano belt out a hearty “let’s-a-go.”

The Super Mario Bros. was originally slated to release on October 6 last year but was delayed to April 7 and moved up to April 5.

 

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