It's been a little while since our last Ninterview, but we're bringing back our series of articles which see us interviewing people with unique and shining a spotlight on their interesting roles within the gaming community.
This time, we meet Tim aka Super Mario Faker from Instagram, a graphic design artist who does a fantastic job of visualising some dream physical games both recent and historic.
Nintendo Life: So, how did the "Super Mario Faker" account get started?
Tim aka "Super Mario Faker": So, 4 years ago I started an Instagram page documenting my game collection. But because I always worked until 7pm, I didn't have the chance to take decent pictures in the evening because of the bad lighting. So I started editing the covers and the screens to make it look decent. After a while, I did it with real games that weren't out yet and I noticed people going crazy and asking how I already got them so early. That's what gave me the idea to start making totally unrealistic things like Super Mario on PS4. Instagram then shadowbanned my other page for no reason and I decided to give my fakes a page of their own. And that’s how Super Mario Faker was born.
I studied Graphic Design so making them is a piece of cake for me. A couple of years ago, I lost my job as a designer. I was one of the designers for Official PlayStation Magazine here in Belgium, so it was nice for me to have a creative outlet again.
How do you decide which games/systems to work with?
Well at first I was like, the Nintendo Switch is a very cool device, but it lacks the games I really want. So I started thinking what I’d really wanna play on it. Or I’d go like… "damn, I really wanna play the Mass Effect Trilogy on PS4". Every generation I’m kinda sad to leave certain games behind, you know? And I know there are a lot of people who feel the same way. Every month I also ask people to send in requests, as crazy as possible. It’s a fun way to interact with my followers.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Sure, usually I get started by just taking a normal photo of a game and a platform. Then I design the cover for the fake game and I edit it on the picture I took before. Sometimes I totally transform the platform; I sometimes Photoshop an amiibo to go with it. I've designed a fake package of a Switch, a Game Boy, a Nintendo DS. It depends on how much time I have at the moment. I try to not spend more than 45 minutes on one fully-realised fake.
You must have quite a big collection of your own games and amiibo, do you consider yourself an avid collector?
Oh yes, I have a couple of thousand games and I think between 60-80 boxed consoles and handhelds. I started collecting games about 15 years ago so my apartment is basically a little museum. It goes from every Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox platform to smaller things like the Nokia N-gage and SEGA Game Gear.
I also collect statues, figurines, art books, goodies and Funko Pops. On the amiibo front, I think I own every amiibo that was released in Europe and the US. The only ones missing are the Monster Hunter ones that only came out in Japan.
What has the reception been like to your work?
For the most part, it has been amazing. I received 1.7 million likes in my first year, gained 45,000 followers so people are really loving it. But yeah, I get my fair share of hate and negative comments too. I think some people are p*ssed off that they just spent an hour Googling where to buy a copy of Fallout 3 for their Nintendo Switch. Or people don't read the caption and assume I’m just lying. But other followers are just waiting for it when someone tries to call me out in the comments. “You know this is fake right?”
It looks like you have a lot of fun, which project(s) stick out that you have enjoyed the most?
I just did a Game of the Decade countdown, which was a lot of fun but also very challenging because I was forced to fake two games each day. My Overwatch Switch Lite was a lot of fun to make; it was watched almost 300,000 times, which is mindblowing. I’m also having a lot of fun creating the amiibo. Recently I did a Skyrim Ring Fit Adventure, which I also loved a lot. It’s a challenge to keep it fresh and new, so it’s very rewarding when I find a new type of game to fake.
If you had to choose just one of your fakes to be real, which would it be and why?
That’s a very difficult one. I’m gonna have to go with the Metal Gear Solid remake. I just have such fond memories of the first Metal Gear Solid and it breaks my heart that it’s unplayable for me after so many years. Even the Twin Snakes remake on GameCube just doesn’t do it for me anymore. The controls are too clunky and the graphics are too blurry and ugly for me to enjoy it. So if Konami could just do with Metal Gear Solid what Capcom is doing with Resident Evil right now, I’d be so happy. And while they’re at it, they could give Silent Hill the same treatment.
What are your future plans for the account?
I’m hoping to hit the 100k mark on Instagram this year and I want to focus more on the things I love to do. People were begging me to make YouTube vids, to go on Twitter and Facebook, to stream on Twitch. And it has been very stressful juggling all these platforms, working full-time and getting a degree in 3D animation in the evening. So 2020 is more gonna be about having fun with it for me.
So there you have it. We'd like to thank Tim for his time and encourage you all to follow Super Mario Faker on Instagram if you like his work. However, if you don't like seeing these 'unicorn' releases we'd recommend you steer clear.
What do you make of Tim's work? Let us know as always in the comments below.