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Hands On: Photos with Mario and AR Card Fun

Posted by Jake Shapiro

Koopa Troopas invade your living room!

How long has it been since you thought about AR (augmented reality) gaming on your 3DS? If the stack of AR cards that came with your system is gathering dust in a corner somewhere, go dig 'em out, because Nintendo has finally released a new AR game; it doesn't even seem to want you to know about it. Photos with Mario hit the Japanese 3DS last month, and now it's arrived in the U.S. for free to absolutely zero fanfare, hidden away in an obscure corner of the eShop – the easiest way to find it is to simply do a manual search for "Photos with Mario."

The game is intended to be used with special Mario-themed AR cards packaged with $10 pre-paid eShop cards exclusively at Target... but you can simply download the app and scan the AR images on your computer or smart device free of charge. It's perhaps surprising that Nintendo isn't trying to stop the spread of the card's images online, but considering the company appears to have forgotten about promoting Photos with Mario, it's probably not a big deal.

Photos with Mario works like a much shallower version of the AR Games that came pre-installed on your 3DS. We tried out six cards: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Koopa Troopa, and Goomba, though there are some Animal Crossing and Pikmin ones doing also doing the rounds from the Japanese release. You scan a picture, bring the character to life, and then pose it for photos with your 3DS camera, moving around the characters from all different angles for any perspective you want. You can pluck Mario and friends off their card and onto whatever surface you want using the L button, and you can press a button onscreen to use the inward-facing camera so you can place Luigi on your shoulder.

You take photos with R and use the face buttons for photo timers of varying lengths; the Circle Pad adds lighting from different angles and colours to your virtual buddies, and the D-pad adds effects like snow, bubbles, confetti, and a star shower. If you yell at your character through the 3DS microphone, they'll jump up for joy, and if you scan the "?" box AR card that came with your 3DS a warp pipe appears that will spawn different characters like Toad, Piranha Plant, and Bullet Bill, depending on which Photos with Mario card you have next to it.

That's about it, actually. Photos with Mario is such a low-profile release that as of this writing it doesn't even have its own Miiverse community. The 3D models of the characters are rendered well, and the pictures on the cards are drawn in the pleasing early-'90s Nintendo promotional art style. AR gaming has been largely forgotten on 3DS, and it's a shame Photos with Mario is such an overlooked release by Nintendo. The app isn't great, but it's free, and it'll provide you with a fun few minutes of entertainment and a glimpse of the portable's untapped AR potential.

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User Comments (32)

PrincessEevee9

#1

PrincessEevee9 said:

Finally my lifelong dream of that autographed Princess Peach and get to pose with her for a picture!

rjejr

#2

rjejr said:

My kids are gonna flip to get their picture taken w/ Pikmin. They really want a Tomodachi Life Animal Crossing game where their Miis can hang out w/ Pikmin and create a world. Pikmin was far and away the best part of Nintnedo Land. That and Zelda were all we really played, but Zelda became less fun and more trial and error serious about halfway thru.

Thanks for the AR links. I'm in Target 2 or 3 times a week and don't recall ever seeing those cards. Not that I would buy a few cards for $10 anyway. At least they play all the time w/ the Skylanders toys.

Edit: NVM, $10 eShop cards, not AR cards. Still haven't seen them though.

Axed84

#3

Axed84 said:

I heard about this last night, but when I searched the eShop it was nowhere to be found. I saw somebody post about having the same issue in an online forum, and (perhaps uncoincidentally) it turned out that we're both from Canada. I'll check the eShop again later today, as it sounds like a neat little app.

Haywired

#5

Haywired said:

I'm soon going on vacation to the sun, so it will be a good opportunity to get the AR cards to work with the correct amount of light needed.

SkywardLink98

#6

SkywardLink98 said:

Will the new intern be writing any articles in the near future? I think that cat has loads of talent.

KodyDawg

#9

KodyDawg said:

Wait, do the Animal Crossing and Pikmin cards work qwith the Mario app, or do they have their own apps exclusive to Japan ATM?

endy_n_omni

#10

endy_n_omni said:

I actually found this a few days ago, looking through the eShop. I didn't see any information on the internet so for, like, a day I felt special.

I kinda think they might make it known on the eShop once Target gets the AR point cards? Regardless, I buy a lot of point cards and I like collecting things so I'll get them. I really hope we get the Animal Crossing and Pikmin cards, too. Mainly because I want to increase my AC merch shelf.

dkxcalibur

#12

dkxcalibur said:

Honestly, after downloading this last night, we played with it for a few minutes and then moved on. It's free, but it's not that exciting either.

Anguspuss

#13

Anguspuss said:

AR mmmm never took them out the box to be honest. 3D switched off use the cameras with that quality nope.

Maybee its time they ditched some of the gimicks & release a budget 3ds.
Do any games require the camera. Sorry change that to any good games use the camera

Anguspuss

#16

Anguspuss said:

PHDragoon said:
@Anguspuss Kid Icarus Uprising uses the camera to get collectable Idols and watch characters fight

Im left handed just hate the controls for Kid Icarus even with the little circle pad pro xl attached

Barbiegurl777

#20

Barbiegurl777 said:

Just went on Google & typed in Mario AR Point's Card's under ''Images'' then opened microsoft word & copy & pasted then hit print & got my cards. The app is already free to begin with & plus I never shop at Target.

Why would I spend money on the e-shop cards just to get AR card's if I can google search it for free under image's...

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

123akis

#23

123akis said:

would be great if Nintendo made DLC for AR games, such a missed opportunity!

Chibi-Hobo

#28

Chibi-Hobo said:

@Neko_Chan --

That's the day that Mario was unleashed to leap his way to victory in saving his first of several damsels (Pauline), in that blip-blip-bleeping awesome arcade machine about a gorilla gone wonky named Donkey.

In other words, that was the epic day that the world was told, in no uncertain terms, that the time had finally come, as humanity was tasked to "Get It On... Like /Donkey Kong/"!

ToonLink795

#31

ToonLink795 said:

Just checked the E-Shop for this game. Don't know if anyone has realized but the release date for the app says it was released in 07/09/1981 lol.

TySoN_F

#32

TySoN_F said:

omg, idk why. But this was really funny and it made me happy xD I would've never known about this.

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