TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An illustrated map of Taiwan inspired by the popular video game Super Mario World has gone viral in Taiwan.
On Thursday (March 4), Peruvian illustrator Miguel Alfaro, 29, uploaded to Reddit a whimsical overworld map of Taiwan inspired by the classic Nintendo game Super Mario World.
Alfaro told Taiwan News that he had made the map "in the last couple of days with vectors from scratch." It quickly gained him over 1,000 upvotes on the social media platform.
When asked what his inspiration for the illustration was, Alfaro said he had always dreamed of going to Taiwan since watching a Discovery Channel introduction of Taipei 101 as a child. He said he is employed at a local airline and had been planning to fly to Taiwan when the pandemic struck and put the plan on hold.
Since he cannot yet realize his dream of visiting Taiwan and with Mario Day (March 10) fast approaching, he decided to combine a video game from his childhood with a map of Taiwan to create a virtual trip for himself. Alfaro said that because work at the airline had slowed, he took up the hobby of creating such maps for countries and states around the world, turning it into a side business on his Instagram page (@thegeographypin).
The illustrator said he had integrated Taiwan's forests, railways, and roads into the illustration. Netizens noticed that the country's major cities appear to represent different Mario levels.
Although Penghu is depicted, the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu are absent, leading some Redditors to speculate that these are secret levels only accessible through pipes in certain areas. Many have appreciated details such as the presence of the character No-Face from the Japanese animated film "Spirited Away" in Jiufen, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei, the Tainan Confucious Temple, and Kaohsiung's Fo Guang Shan temple.
Overworld map of Taiwan inspired by Super Mario World. (Miguel Alfaro illustration)