Who doesn’t love the red mushrooms in Mario games? They are small, cute and most importantly, they turn Small Mario into Super Mario! But as it turns out, both their appearance and their ability to “change the size” of objects was not just a design thing.
The mushrooms are based on a real species of fungi called amanita muscaria (fly agaric) which are known for their hallucinogenic properties and can distort the size of perceived objects! In fact, their effects are quite unpredictable: depending on the amount ingested per body weight, their effects can range from nausea, to mood changes, visual distortions or even cholinergic crisis-like effects.
These effects have been known to humans for centuries and they have been featured in a lot of novels such as the 1762, “Citizen of the World”, the 1865 “The Seven Sisters of Sleep and A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi” and the famous “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Here’s a picture of the actual mushroom:
Now you know!
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: How Super Mario Got Its Name And Italian Heritage From A Real Man
Main Article Photo: Creative Commons, Nintendo
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Mushroom Poisoning in Infants and Children: The Amanita Pantherina/Muscaria Group