Stories & Projects

For the love of Super Mario

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An idea conceived in the UID workshop a decade ago has gone from one-off prototype, to viral hit, to the finished article. The product, a computer mouse, is inspired by the iconic Nintendo console that brought us the Mario Bros and Donkey Kong.

Text: Jens Persson,  November 2019

It all started as a basic exercise during a model-making course in the UID workshop eleven years ago. Playing around with materials and machines during his very first weeks at the school, Daniel Jansson got the idea to try to build a computer mouse in the style of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The video game console had by then become iconic in pop culture, defining the youth of a generation. Daniel included. Now, he wanted to pay homage to the legacy of Super Mario and his compatriots.

Mus OriginalThe original foam model from 2008

"This was all the way back in 2008 when I had just started the Bachelor Programme in Industrial Design at Umeå Institute of Design. A prerequisite to start using the school's workshop was a model-making course where we created somewhat simple models. The aim was to try out various workshop techniques. I chose to do a NES inspired computer mouse, to some criticism from our teacher", says Daniel Jansson.

A viral sensation

After Daniel had created the foam model of the mouse he didn't think much of it. It was not until the following year when he posted some images of the one-off prototype on his website that something happened. Almost overnight, the images of the NES mouse spread across the internet. It's safe to say that it became viral, before the term was even household. Tech blogs were raving about the design.

Engadget described the NES mouse, perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek, as "the most amazing piece of industrial design in the history of humankind" while Gizmodo declared that this was "the stuff dreams are made of". 

"Little did I know that when I posted some images of it on my website it would go totally viral. Within days, it appeared all over the internet. So many people wanted it made. But I was still in school and didn't have any industry connections at the time", says Daniel Jansson. 

The finished article

Some time ago the video game retro hardware manufacturer 8BitDo reached out to Daniel with a proposition to get the NES mouse made. This time, Daniel decided the timing was right. He collaborated with the company over the course of a few years, making prototypes and refining the design.

Today, it's finally on the market.

The mouse features a 3D touch scroll panel between the buttons, and the D-pad on the side is not only for guiding Super Mario towards Princess Peach, it's also for navigating websites.

Original 2 The finished article