See The Real-Life Super Mario Question Boxes Appearing In Texas

You have to see the Super Mario mystery boxes that are starting to pop up in Houston, Texas. Could the whole city become the game?

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Super Mario fans might want to head on down to Texas to see what’s going on in the Lone Star State. In Houston, there is a new street art installation starting that pays homage to the classic game. It involves painting abandoned culverts and making them look like Super Mario Mystery boxes from the popular game. If this kind of thing gains steam, we might see other aspects of the game beginning to crop up in random places as well. 

The Super Mario mystery boxes were detailed in an article from Chron about a local street artist who has started painting parts of the city, previously ugly slabs of concrete sitting in open places to resemble aspects of Super Mario Bros. The first one went up in an abandoned lot in the city which has been up for sale for some time. The artist goes by the name of Neato Rodriguez, a pseudonym used to protect his anonymity. That’s because this kind of thing isn’t exactly legal. You can see the Super Mario-themed art which he posted on his Instagram feed.

When he originally did the Super Mario artwork, he left it as a mystery for his Instagram followers to try and find in the city. Because it is located in a more industrial area, the foot traffic in the area wasn’t as high. The concrete culvert was simply left there as part of another tunneling project that was never finished. And it didn’t seem like it was ever going anywhere anyway. So why not give it the Super Mario treatment?

Neato Rodriguez told Chron that he was mostly just looking to make the unappealing lot a little bit easier on the eyes while having a little fin with the surroundings. He doesn’t just operate in Super Mario art, but rather just a pixelated style in general. This particular culvert was prime for trying something new though, a big hunk of drab concrete that has been an eyesore for some time. He had to do the Super Mario work under the cover of darkness or risk running across the wrong side of the law.

This isn’t the first time Super Mario Bros. has been featured as some kind of street art. The character or aspects of the game franchise have cropped up in all manner of places. Most famously, Banksy painted the side of a building with Mario being scolded by a local policeman. The policeman is holding a mushroom and apparently in the middle of dressing down Mario taking these magic little suckers. It’s a fantastic Super Mario piece that plays off two separate styles to show the differences between the character and the authoritarian. 

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Houston residents will have to keep their eyes peeled to see if more Super Mario images show up around the city. It would be a cool theme to get started, especially in areas that aren’t visually appealing, to begin with. Maybe we get some Luigi, Piranha plants or even the titular star himself. There is a lot to work with when it comes to this franchise.