Did you know that in the initial Super Mario Bros. instruction manual, the information about the level-up mushrooms referred to them as “magic,” meaning psilocybin mushrooms might have inspired these powerful animated fungi?
Den of Geek pointed out how this isn’t the only time the Super Mario Bros. team had referenced psychedelic mushrooms when speaking about the legendary video game.
According to the report, a 2009 interview with the game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, noted that he wasn’t entirely influenced by Alice in Wonderland but by the overall affinity between mushrooms and magical places.
“Some time ago, I was being interviewed, and I spoke about Alice in Wonderland…But it seems there was some misunderstanding, and it’s since been stated that I was influenced by Alice in Wonderland. That isn’t the case. It’s just that there has always somehow been a relationship between mushrooms and magical realms. That’s why I decided that Mario would need a mushroom to become Super Mario,” Miyamoto said in the interview.
Photo by Johannes Plenio / Pexels
So does that mean Super Mario is only powerful and “magical” when coming into contact with a mushroom? This would make sense, considering the actual mushroom we see in the video game stems from the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
While this species of fungi isn’t known for its psychedelic effects, it’s wildly popular for being quite poisonous that can lead to nausea, seizures, and death in extreme doses. However, it’s reported that the Amanita mushroom offers some psychedelic effects when ingested in small amounts.
This could be euphoria, intense visual and auditory hallucinations, and overall enlightening experiences that empowered users and positively affected their lives.
This particular fungus has been written about in fantasy novels and movies for decades, mostly because it has an “otherworldly” look that features a large red cap and small white spots.
Another interesting tidbit was how Miyamoto had made efforts to distinguish the positive power-up mushrooms from the negative mushroom-shaped Goombas. He did so by using a mushroom that has more color, vibrancy, and lighthearted appeal rather than the plain-looking enemy.
So is Super Mario Bros.’s mushroom power-up really influenced by psilocybin mushrooms? While Miyamoto has come out and clarified this, the proof is in the pudding, and there’s far too much evidence to prove that the powerful effects of magic mushrooms didn’t inspire these helpful fungi friends.