If there's any one franchise that embodies family-friendly gaming, it's Super Mario. It's about as harmless as you can get: Mario games are about jumping on turtles and running through big, open levels. Compared to most other games on the market, Mario is actually child's play.

That's what makes the creepy stuff that much creepier. Mario games are known for sneaking in subtle references to dead people, killer pianos or something watching players as they run through a level — these sorts of moments playing out in a game like Mario make them so much more effective.

The latest example of Mario's dabbling in horror comes from Super Mario Maker. At first, it sounds ridiculous: how can a game based solely on building levels with pre-made assets possibly contain anything scary? Well, it's not as if Super Mario Maker is nothing but old art — there are a few different power-ups making their way into the franchise for the first time ever. Apparently, one of those new power-ups is designed solely to torture Mario's soul. Just take a look:

Did you catch it? The power-up in question is only on screen for a few seconds — jump to the 2:50 mark and see if you notice anything.

Still nothing? If you look toward the bottom of the screen around the 2:53 mark, you'll see this:

That's just... wrong.

Now, Mario's no stranger to growing in size: in fact, that's sort of what the original game was based on. Of course, Mario's proportions usually stay the same — he grows taller, but his head, arms and legs all grow at the proper rate.

With this new "Skinny Mario" power-up, it looks as if everyone's favorite plumber is taking a cue from Slender Man: his head stays the same, but everything else grows longer. You can almost hear the bones cracking as his skeletal structure rearranges itself.

Considering the new power-up is relegated to a small box on the bottom of the screen, it's clear that Nintendo wasn't planning on giving it much screentime before release. In retrospect, that's probably a good thing — Nintendo wouldn't want to scare away any kids hoping to buy the game.

If you're brave enough to handle Slender-Mario, you can pick up Super Mario Maker when it launches on September 11.


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