Jan. 10, 2014 at 5:09 PM ET
Humans have had more than three decades to enjoy a wealth of excellent "Super Mario" video games, so isn't it time that we let some of our furry friends have a turn? That was one man's idea when he turned what could have easily been just another cat complex into a real-world rendition of Nintendo's beloved video game franchise for his two cats, complete with his own toned-down version of the game's green tubes and golden question-mark box.
Mike Wilson, 30, a carpenter and owner of a pizza restaurant in Portland, Ore., started toying around with different types of furniture he wanted to make for his pets after he and his girlfriend, Megan Hanneman, 24, got their two cats, Ickle and Heisenberg. A longtime fan of "Super Mario," he kept coming back to the idea of turning some part of the game into a household decoration.
"I have some of the original Mario games for Super Nintendo, and I could just play those games forever," Wilson told NBC News. "Unlike all these newer games, I just never get bored of it."
The cats don't either, it seems. After Ickle and Heisenberg took to the Mario-themed playset, Wilson posted the contraption on the popular online DIY marketplace Etsy.
"I felt like most cats could get into it," Wilson said of his contraption.
Apparently, there is a big overlap between Mario-lovers and cat-lovers, because Wilson said that he's been having trouble keeping up with orders ever since. He told NBC News that he's even begun to look for contractors to help him build the things fast enough. It's received strong reviews on Etsy, too.
With all the good press about the new "Super Mario" for cats, is there any room for a sequel? Nintendo's excellent new "Super Mario 3D World" for the Wii U gives the pudgy Italian plumber and friends special cat suits of their own, after all, so the timing is certainly serendipitous. Wilson said he didn't have any plans — though he has made another game-themed cat complex as well, this one modeled after Tetris.
You can see all of Wilson's cat-centric creations on his Etsy page.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.