Tag Archives: Super Mario Bros.

This Luigi LEGO portrait lights up and plays Super Mario Bros. music

This mosaic LEGO portrait of Super Mario Bros. sprites is comprised of LED panels, transistors and an ATmega328. 

By now, we’re sure you’ve come across at least one of Maker Baron von Brunk’s amazing LEGO projects. From his Starmen to Dry Bones sprites, and everything in between, the talented and quirky New York artist continues to impress us with his LED-flashing, nostalgic chiptunes-playing Super Mario Bros. creations.


Added to his growing list is the Illuminated Mosaic Musical Luigi, which combines the polyphonic sound code from his electronic Dry Bones sprites along with the structural functionality of his illuminated mosaic Link portrait. In this new project, von Brunk uses a grid of flat LED panels fastened onto a rear door, with a 16Ω speaker attached as well. Controlling the whole circuit is a homemade circuit board based on an ATmega328P that contains an Arduino code for playing the Super Mario Bros. “level complete” theme and activating the lights.

“The biggest technological feat for this project is how I successfully managed to control the 12V LED panels through a small 5.5V AVR, through the help of transistors. In layman’s terms, a small microcontroller like the ATmega328 is only capable of controlling circuits between 3-5.5V; anything else will burn out the chip. By using transistors attached to the digital outputs of the ATmega, I can control much larger loads, with the overall 12V input power being directed into the circuit via a voltage regulator,” the artist explains.

As for the LEGO portion of the project, it was rather straightforward and fortunately didn’t present any obstacles along the way. Towards the tail-end, though, the Maker did have to slightly tweak the mosaic in order to use a small tactile button to trigger the circuit. Originally, he had a large momentary pushbutton installed near the bottom of the rear door, but the button required too much pressure to push, which caused the structure to wobble and almost fall over when pressed.


“Creating the circuit board and wiring the Arduino code was also rather simple, since I used the same functionality of the Dry Bones model. Unfortunately, when I was testing out the method of using transistors for controlling the LED panels, I accidentally loaded the 12V power into my Arduino Uno’s 5.5V input — thus frying it. After purchasing a new Arduino, I successfully did some breadboard experiments with TIP120 transistors to control the LED panels,” he adds.

What’s cool is that the LEGO structure opens like a book, and on the back door are eight white SMD LED panels connected in parallel to three digital output pins of the ATmega328P — cathode to cathode, with the red positive wires being channeled into the positive terminal of the 12V power supply. For sound output, von Brunk created some makeshift speaker holes atop the right orange brick sprite. This was achieved by placing LEGO grille tiles over headlight pieces.

Reading about the portrait is one thing, but seeing it in all of its glory is a whole ’nother story. Intrigued? Be sure to head over to its official page here.

This LEGO Super Mario Bros. sprite plays polyphonic music

Maker creates an electronic LEGO Super Mario Bros. Dry Bones sprite with glowing eyes and polyphonic music.

Who could forget the days of slipping a Super Mario Bros. cartridge into their Nintendo console and the distinct chiptune soundbites that ensued from hitting every power-up? Inspired by the ‘80s pop culture phenomenon, last year Baron von Brunk created mini 3D pixelated versions of the iconic Starman and Super Mushroom boosters entirely from LEGO pieces, and impressively, embedded them with circuitry to emit sound and flash LED lights in unison.


Now several months later, the Maker has returned with another slick project — which he tweeted to us just moments ago. Using similar technology as his previous LEGO Super Mario power-ups, he has designed a new 3D sprite that can actually play polyphonic music. This is made possible through Len Shustek’s Miditones Arduino code, which is capable of converting MIDI files into binary code and then being split amongst multiple AVR timers for three sound channels.


For this particular build, von Brunk chose the Fortress theme from Super Mario Bros. 3. Along with the tunes, the eyes once again blink with a flickering red LED. However, unlike his previous projects, the Dry Bones model employs four AAA batteries along with an ATmega328P, rather than two coin cells and an ATtiny85.

“I wanted to use a standard LED to blink in synch with the music, but alas I wasn’t able to achieve this due to the ATmega’s timers being occupied with the musical score,” the Maker explains.

Intrigued? See it in action below!

Relive those Super Mario Bros. days with these musical LED sprite pieces

Remember the days of slipping a Super Mario cartridge into your Nintendo console? Who could forget those distinct chiptune soundbites that ensued hitting a power-up?

If you recall, the retro game included a multitude of power boosters, such as Starmen and Super Mushrooms, which allowed Mario to morph into Super Mario and experience temporary invincibility, respectively.


Inspired by the ‘80s pop culture phenomenon, Maker Baron von Brunk has created mini 3D pixelated versions of the iconic Starman and Super Mushroom entirely from LEGO pieces, and impressively, rigged with a circuit to play sound and flash LED lights. Inside each model lies an ATtiny85, which is programmed with an Arduino code that enable the eyes to blink in sync with the tone music (not WAVs or MP3s) with a push a small tactile button.


First, von Brunk designed three stars (glowing yellow, ice blue, gold) to play the invincibility theme, whilst the fourth star (rainbow) emits the Super Mario Bros. 3 “Coin Heaven” music and uses color-changing eyes.

Similarly, in his second build, the Maker tasked various colored mushrooms with various sounds. For instance, both of the green mushrooms (white with green dots and green with white dots) use an Arduino melody version of the “1-up” tune traditionally used in the Super Mario franchise, while the red hat variants sound small segments of both Super Mario World’s “Overworld” and “World Ending” themes.


“You’re absolutely free to deviate from my musical codes and swap out any music you’d like, so long as you know how to tweak the Arduino code and manipulate notes. I personally recommend using the Super Mario World and Super Mario 3 songs for their corresponding mushrooms to maintain video game accuracy,” von Brunk notes.

Ready to spark up some gaming nostalgia? You can access a detailed breakdown of both projects on the Maker’s official Instructables page here. Meanwhile, watch both creations in action below!