March 10th is a special day of the year for fans of all things Nintendo, as it’s the official Mario day (March 10th, MAR10). Although the celebration of the event is generally isolated to Nintendo and associated fans, occasionally other companies will get in on the fun – one such company being Google. Starting today, Google will temporarily be bringing Mario to Google Maps to both iOS and Android in celebration of Mario Day.
In celebration of Mario Day, Google Maps will now feature a new yellow “?” next to destinations, allowing you to turn the navigation arrow into his kart and ride alongside you as you make your morning commute.
The functionality of the Mario implementation into Google Maps ends there, with no need to worry about sabotage from other kart drivers like Luigi or Bowser. There is, however, an easter egg coming with the Mario event: tap the “?” 100 times and you’ll hear the 1-UP sound that has become standard in so many Nintendo games.
This is far from Google’s first rodeo when it comes to revamping maps for fun events throughout the year. While messing with the design is not a common occurrence, they’ve transformed the Google Maps position marker in a series of fun events in the past such as into a TIE fighter or an X-Wing in 2015 to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Google Maps has also celebrated Ms. Pac-Man during April Fools’ day last year.
All in all, the Mario event won’t shake things up with Google Maps too much. Outside of being able to watch everyone’s favorite video game plumber as you drive to work or the store, your navigation system will remain pretty much the same.
Mario Day comes soon after an incredibly successful Nintendo Direct event in which the Japanese video game company announced a number of new titles that would be coming to their systems: including several hotly anticipated additions to their newest console, the Nintendo Switch. Mario Day is a minor event that doesn’t get much coverage, but it should continue the hype after the announcement of releases like Super Smash Brothers for the Switch as well as titles like Dark Souls and Okami HD.
The homage Google Maps is paying to one of the most iconic video game characters in history is no doubt appreciated by Nintendo, and while it’s just a minor event that will last a day or two, it drives home the cultural impact that Mario has had on the world of media and entertainment. By joining iconic franchises like Star Wars and Ms. Pacman, Mario will once again be brought to the forefront during this important reminder of Nintendo’s rich history.
If you’d like to experience the magic of Mario during your commute tomorrow, just make sure Google Maps is updated and tap on that “?” mark when it comes time to drive.