Two of the most iconic characters from video games are the brother plumber duo from the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario and Luigi. We’ve seen them do everything from save the princess, to being a doctor, to racing with their friends (while destroying friendships in the process), and in Luigi’s case hunt down ghosts in a creepy mansion. But the one thing that they have yet to tackle? Being in a Temp Agency. That’s where Mixed Nuts Productions comes into play.
4 months ago, Mixed Nuts Productions debuted their latest original YouTube series Living in 8 Bits: Super Plumber Bros. I got the chance to talk with Michael Licisyn of Mixed Nuts Productions and ask him about the creative process, why follow the misadventures of Mario and Luigi in a temp agency, and where they go from here now that the Super Plumber Bros have come to a YouTube channel near you.
I’ve been dying to ask this question, what was the inspiration behind taking two of the most iconic characters in video game history and throwing them into a temp agency?
The idea stemmed from one of our team members, Carmen Marino. After our first 50 episodes and DVD set, we were burnt out as a group and needed to take a break from Living in 8 Bits. Carmen organized several meetings with our team and suggested taking our core idea of spoofing retro video games by having all of our past characters go through a temp agency.
Previously, we had produced several episodes centered around the Plumbers and they were some of the most fun to film since they have such a well known and rich history. We decided to focus on those characters and with the help of Joey Christopher, Matt Conant, and Stephanie Yuhas, we fleshed out a 6 episode story arc in a writer’s meeting.
How has the reception of Living in 8 Bits: Super Plumber Bros been over the course of this 6 episode season?
It has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve been spoiled by having a very loyal cult following with Living in 8 Bits and our fans seemed to really enjoy this spinoff series. The most fun is showing an episode in front of an audience and hearing the audience reactions live. Now we just need to find a way to expand the audience and get more people watching.
So having just wrapped season 1 of Living in 8 Bits: Super Plumber Bros, what has been the main takeaway from the experience?
We’re very proud of how the series turned out. We think these episodes are some of the funniest stuff we’ve produced and it shows how much these retro games resonate with people. Probably the coolest aspect was how many well known YouTubers were not only willing, but eager to make cameos in our series. It says a lot about the quality of our show.
Where did the challenges lie in making the series? Did it revolve mainly around trying to concoct seemingly mundane jobs for the Plumber and Brother to completely turn on their head and give Jenna continuous migraines?
It was actually easy to come up with scenarios and situations. There are so many Mario games out there where they partake in the most bizarre situations that there was a plethora of material to pull from. If they were janitors, of course they’d use FLUDD since in Mario Sunshine, that’s how Mario cleaned. Mario has been a teacher in educational games and Mario Paint was huge, so why not have them teach an art class? In many cases, it was as simple as picking one single game and writing the scenario around it. Plus, some of the best comedy comes out of writing misery for your characters. Sarah Braun did such a great job with Jenna and we wanted her to play this character from the beginning.
The biggest challenges came from a production standpoint. The series had a low budget funded primarily from DVD and T-Shirt sales. We all have day jobs, lives, families, etc. and finding spare time to film with little funding was difficult. The entire process from conception to release was well over a year. We’re extremely fortunate to have the talented people we do on our team. Please watch the credits and pay attention to the people who worked so hard and gave their time.
Given the extremely positive reception SPB has garnered, are there any plans to develop similar style shows? Like Sonic owning his race track? Maybe Donkey Kong operating an organic banana stand in a local pop up market? I mean, the possibilities are endless!
The possibilities are indeed endless! That’s what Living in 8 Bits was founded on. The original series was designed to cover a new topic, game, or trope with a rotating cast each episodes. One episode we went from spoofing Blades of Steel to imagining the design process of Robot Masters from the Mega Man universe. That is part of the fun and appeal of Living in 8 Bits.
Speaking of the future, where does SPB go from here? Because personally, I am intrigued by where you guys left the season off at. There’s a bounty of increasingly insane situations for the boys and their friends to get into.
I sincerely do not know what happens next. We conceived Super Plumber Bros as a 6 episode mini-series from the beginning back in April of 2015. Filmmaking is a time consuming process that requires a dedicated team of professionals to produce. It is also extremely expensive. I’d love to keep making Super Plumber Bros and more Living in 8 Bits sketches in general. The ultimate issue is time and funding, which is in short supply. We’re open to ideas and opportunities for sponsorship and backing so we can keep producing quality geeky content.
For now, we’d like to keep plugging the abundance of material we have and see if we can make Super Plumber Bros take off and go viral the way a series like Mario Warfare or Video Game Reunion, which by the way, are two excellent retro game spoof series.
To everyone out there who would like to see more Living in 8 Bits sketches and series, you can help us out by giving our videos a Like, Comment, and Share. What propels a web series and makes it logistically possible to produce more videos are the numbers. So share our videos on social media, blogs, forums, websites, reddit, etc. Every little bit helps!