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A look at South Korea’s officially licensed Mario toys

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 by

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While shopping here in South Korea last month, I came across a few Nintendo-licensed Mario toys. And by toys, I mean marble mazes with Mario branding.

Originally, I chalked this up to some shoddy licensing by Nintendo of Korea. This is a culture that is so out of touch with the modern pulse of society that lawmakers have considered lumping video games in with gambling, drugs, and alcohol for their life-ruining abilities. So, here’s a twisting, turning, moving mess of plastic that bridges the gap between reality and gaming so parents can interact.

Look at all those features. Marbles. Mazes. Stickers!

Look at all those features. Marbles. Mazes. Stickers. What fun!

I mean, it can’t be that alcohol is so cheap that parents drink themselves into a stupor and children go to school three times as long as they sleep that is ruining this culture of socially underdeveloped young adults, right? No, it’s definitely the games that are out of control, you morally-conservative twits.

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However, I was wrong. After a little bit of research, it turns out that these toys originated in Japan and were developed by a company called Epoch. Here are a couple of videos of the games in action.

Exciting stuff. Who needs interactive, competitive gameplay in virtual worlds when you can have interactive, repetitive gameplay in the real world?

Turns out, Epoch has a history of marble maze games in Japan. Check out this video from nightram56, as he shows off some of his Nintendo memorabilia, and you’ll see a few other Epoch gems that look exactly identical. Re-purposed for a new console generation!

Negativity aside, I’m honestly considering buying this hunk of junk. I can’t help but want everything from the World of Nintendo.

About the Author

Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming. Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.

Fade to Slack has written 339 posts on Delta Attack
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  • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Markham Asylum

    I actually think these look totally awesome, and am jealous that you get to buy some. I had a few generic marble-maze types toys as a kid, and even used to make my own with cardboard, so I dig the look of these big time.

    • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Fade to Slack

      Yeah, I started off really skeptical, but as I wrote it I grew begrudgingly intrigued. I do like that the mazes can be shifted around a bit, especially the 3D Land one. I’ll check the box later to see if there are Mario sounds, as that’s kind of the dealbreaker for me.

      • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Markham Asylum

        Indeed — that would be super-annoying. Let me know what you find out.