Mario Stairs
Image: Reddit

In a debate that's sure to go down in history alongside the likes of 'the chicken or the egg' and 'the ship of Theseus,' the internet has recently been baffled by a picture of Mario running up some stairs. Or is he running down some stairs?

That is the question that an outpouring of Twitter users have been attempting to answer through careful calculation, model analysis, geometric angling — anything other than simply watching the episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show from 1989.

As highlighted by the New York Post, despite being published on Reddit three years ago the debate of Mario's ascension — or, indeed, descend-sion — has continuously had people scratching their heads. Perhaps, in years to come, scholars will look back on this discussion as we look back on the great philosophical debates of ages past.

Check out some of our favourite workings below and see which side of the generation-dividing debate you fall on:

If, like us, you have been close to losing sleep over this castle conundrum, then worry no longer. The scene is taken from Episode 23 of the short-running TV show, titled 'Mario & Joilet,' and the timestamped video at the bottom of the page reveals all for those hungry for the 'correct' answer: he's running upstairs to escape the pursuing Koopa Troopas.

However, much like the great puzzles that have come before it, the mystery of Mario's stair shenanigans is almost without a definitive truth. Can there really be a 'correct' response? Be it up or be it down, we're just pleased to see so much love for our favourite plumber once again gracing the internet.

What were your initial thoughts on this illusion? Is it up or down? Let us know in the poll below and feel free to get philosophical in the comments.

Is Mario running up or down the stairs?