Sunday 4 December 2016

Artist creates ‘Syrian Super Mario’ to show dangers of being a refugee

David Kearns

Published 14/09/2015 | 14:24

The end goal of the game is to make safety to a refugee camp Credit: YouTube
The end goal of the game is to make safety to a refugee camp Credit: YouTube

A Syrian artist has re- imagined the classic video game 'Super Mario Bros' to demonstrate the difficulties and problems which come with being a refugee.

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In the revamped version of the game, designed by a 29-year-old Samir al-Mutfi, Mario is replace by a Syrian refugee in a white shirt and a red baseball hat as he makes the dangerous journey to Europe.

Mr Samir kept to the fundamentals of the game, which turns 30 this week, but instead of the usual racing through Mushroom Kingdom, the hero has to get to the refugee camp.

'Syrian Super Mario' grabs his suitcase, has to collect his savings and tries to cross the land, paying smugglers and encountering armed soldiers and choppy waters along the way.

The refugee encounters smugglers who rob him of his money as he dodges border police and jumps over border fences intended to block his way to safety.

The character is also seen attempting to cross a large expanse of ocean, mimicking the treacherous journey refugees take in an attempt to find safety in Europe.

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On one try, he falls into the water trying to get to the other side, and on another he gets captured.

Eventually, he makes it to the camp, flying a flag which says "welcome survivors".

Based in Turkey, the young designer said he used Super Mario Bros. because “it, like music, is universal”.

"A lot of my friends have fled for Europe. From talking to them I built a clear idea of what they went through and the life threatening risks they took.

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"Five months ago my best friend drowned in the sea while travelling from Ismir (Turkey) to Greece. The engine on the boat exploded. That's when I got the idea for the video," Mr Samir told the BBC.

“It needed to be a simple and clear idea which would work irrespective of language. I used Super Mario because it's famous all over the world. It's like music - a universal language," he added.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled civil war in their nation in the last four years, according to the United Nations' refugee agency.

According to UN reports, one million more people will be displaced within Syria by the end of the year if the war there continues unabated.

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