Super Mario Clouds [Cory Arcangel]

Silke van de Grift

Contributor

For those who always hated that little plumber.

While part of the BEIGE “programming ensemble," Cory Arcangel was into destroying old game cartridges. He literally opened up Nintendo cartridges and modified the chip. For Super Mario Clouds he hacked the game and modified it so that all that remains are the white fluffy pixilated clouds no Mario and no Luigi to be seen.

Even though Super Mario Clouds is one of Cory 'Arcangels most well known works, it was initially not intended to be shown in a gallery. The piece was first released as web art, to be seen only by nerds of the hacker community. "Super Mario Clouds" was the website, containing an animated .gif of the game, photos of the modified cartridge, the complete source code of the hack and the .nes ROM file itself. You could also download a tutorial so you could make you own version of the artwork. As I said, only for the nerd community.

Years later, Cory was asked to exhibit Super Mario Clouds as an installation, so he had to change things up. The work was shown on several big video screens and he sold an edition of five physical cartridges of the work. People could even purchase a functional NES console along with it. Art snobs buying old NES consoles, who would have known!

Cory never got a Nintendo NES from his mom and dad. To be honest, he never liked to play video games anyway! Okay, apart from that one summer he played a lot of SimCity, but didn't we all?  It took him years to become really interested in games, but only as a source for his art. With solo shows at the world's best museums, he's too fancy to be a gamer now.