Watching Joey and Mike duke it out over modern vs. old school gaming has been surreal. Sort of echoes the epic battle in my house, actually. I'm old school myself — I sort of peaked with Super Mario Brothers. These days, my idea of modern gaming is blowing away zombies in Rage HD on my phone or tablet. Meanwhile, my poor hubby has been beating his head into his keyboard, trying to get me hooked on Minecraft or Portal 2, to no avail. (I know, I know, I'll get there — it just requires a fundamental muscle memory shift, I think. Stupid fingers.)

Well, if this next item doesn't get me to step it up, nothing will.

There's a Mario/Portal mashup heading our way that can offer the best of both worlds: A legendary video game for all generations, plus a current beast of a game title that has blown away the critics, all in one place. People have done concepts and vids of this before, but when this download releases on the internet, it will reportedly be a real-deal, playable version. And it will be totally free.

The guys at Stab are coding their Mari0 project from the ground up, sticking a portal gun in Mario's hands so he can move through all (yes, all) of the Super Mario Brothers levels, putting portals wherever he wants. Move through them to get a different plane or area, or just put them in the path of a goomba so he falls in. There are also plans to include a level editor, for puzzle-based play.

This looks crazy epic. (Hit the vid above for a peek.) There's only one thing that could get in the way, though, and that's Nintendo. They're no strangers to litigation, and this is based off a Nintendo game, after all. While Stab isn't making any money off this, there's no guarantee that the company will buy the argument that this project is a parody (which is what the devs are hoping). As for Valve, makers of Portal, there's probably nothing to fear from them, since it's really only just their concept and some portal sound effects being used here, no actual assets.

There's no definitive ETA yet, but by the looks of this vid, it seems close to baked. Assuming all goes well, the final release will be playable on Windows, OS X and several Linux-based systems. I can't wait. (Maybe now, I can get my husband to stop laughing at me.) Fingers-crossed on this. For more on Mari0 or to check up on its progress, hit up Stab at the source link.

And Joey, Mike: Now that this love child is about to be delivered, can we all just get along?

[via Kottke, source Stab]