As of Today Google Will Let You Navigate Google Maps As Nintendo’s Mario for a Week
Google has never been on to be subtle about pop culture references. With Mario Day is right around the corner (March 10- MAR10) it looks like Google is putting on a little celebration. Nintendo’s beloved red-capped plumber has started cropping up in Google Maps.
Mario’s trademark “? Block” appeared today in the Maps UI and tapping the block offers the option to show Mario driving along in his famous go-kart as your position marker. According to Google’s blog post:
To get started, you’ll need to first update your app from Google Play or the App Store. Next, simply click on the yellow “?” icon found on the bottom right of your Google Maps app on Android or iOS. You’ll then see a prompt to enable Mario Time!
Once enabled, you’ll see that the navigation arrow has morphed into—who else?—Mario. He’ll be a constant companion wherever you’re driving this week—to work, to school, or the spaghetti house. Just remember to practice safe driving on the road—we don’t encourage throwing bananas or red shells at other drivers in real life!
“Mario Time” will be available all week, and it’s rolling out to all users globally starting today. To try it out, install the latest update to Google Maps for Android or iOS. It might take a day or two for you to be able to see the marker, depending on where you live. Google also encourages you to take a screenshot of your trip and share it with them on Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to scrub out any personal information such as your home/work address though.
Google Maps has been fairly consistent with pop culture references. In 2015 Google gave users the option to show their position as either an X-wing or a TIE fighter as a part of an ongoing Star Wars: The Force Awakens” promotion. Before that, Pokémon populated Maps for an April Fools’ Day event.