Mario inspired 'art' causes bomb scare

'?' cubes cause panic...

UK games site today reports on some rather surprising news from Ohio, USA, where five teenage girls, residents of Ravenna, may face criminal charges after bomb disposal crews rushed to their town to investigate question-mark labelled boxes left in public places. The cubes, made famous by Nintendo's Mario games, were part of an initiative aimed to invoke a response to the bizarre objects being placed in public areas. The girls left the question-cubes in a library, a church, a high school and several other public areas and buildings.

Special units were dispatched to the town in order to deal with the boxes after residents raised suspicions. One of the girls then turned herself over to the police, explaining that the activity was meant to be a joke, nothing threatening. The stunt was inspired by a website which gave step-by-step instructions for participating in this unusual social experiment of sorts.

"Despite what Ravenna police chief Randall McCoy says, the purpose of these boxes is not "just to see what kind of response you get". It is to bring a smile to people's faces, to get them to connect with their neighbours, to bring colour into an otherwise grey urban landscape," explained the creator of the original website, emphasising that the blocks are not designed to be 'sinister', quite the opposite in fact. Who'd have thought an intrinsic part of the Mario game world could generate such trouble. Police are still considering prosecution.

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