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Mario! Mario!! Mari- oh… For gamers and excitable kids alike, it’s a curious feeling to spot one of your fictional heroes on the street, only to realise that it’s a little more than a clever knock-off. You’re at once drawn to them and want to dive in with your phone to take a quick selfie, yet a little bit saddened that it’s not the real deal and wrestle with a sense of betrayal.

The above Super Mario clone was spotted on the streets of Myeong-dong, Korea last week. Even with the subtle, lawyer-placating aesthetic changes, however, the character was still generating a lot of excitement among passers-by.

Standing outside a game cafe in one of Myeong-dong’s popular shopping districts, this Mari-no mascot was discovered by a reporter from Japan’s Gold Rush news site. Aside from the removal of his trademark “M” plumber’s cap, the character was a dead ringer for Nintendo’s beloved mascot, albeit a little on the skinny side.

The fake Mario was patrolling the streets in order to advertise “Qplus”, a manga cafe-style establishment where customers can play on video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 while sipping drinks and enjoying snacks. The low asking price of 6,000 Won (US$5.25), as Gold Rush’s reporter notes, almost makes the Mario mockery forgivable…

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Regardless of the imitation factor, shoppers and tourists alike were delighted to see the faux Mario, waving to the character as cries of “Hey, it’s Mario!” could be heard all around. There were even a few adults stopping by to have their pictures taken with the mustachioed mushroom slayer. We’re slightly more curious, however, as to the nature of the sweater the woman in the background here is wearing…

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Is that… Spongebob Squarepants drag?

Source: ゴールドラッシュ

▼ Mario, you’ve lost weight, sir!

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