While 2020 itself sadly isn't one big optical illusion (as far as we know, anyway), there are still plenty of brilliantly distracting examples online – and one currently doing the rounds on Twitter might be the most mesmerising yet. Dubbed 'Super illusion brothers', it depicts several figures running and jumping off a set of steps. Except they aren't moving at all.
The simultaneously fascinating and frustrating animation was shared by optical illusion artist @jagarikin on Twitter (below), and has already garnered hundreds of responses from fellow users whose brains, like ours, have been fried. If you're looking for more illusory inspiration, check out our pick of top trompe l'oeil illusions from around the world.
スーパー錯視ブラザーズ pic.twitter.com/bLkFhBOCeUNovember 20, 2020
Thanks to their changing colours, the figures appear to be running and falling, when in fact they're completely static. We've been staring for hours at the figures ascending the steps and are frustrated to report that they still haven't quite reached the top. (We'll keep watching though. Just in case.)
As the title implies, there's certainly a Super Mario Bros-esque quality to the illusion, which could indeed be straight out of a 2D platforming game (those 'falling' figures remind us a little of Lemmings – remember that one?). If you're looking for your Mario fix, be sure to check out these unmissable Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals.
@jagarikin explained on Twitter that Super illusion brothers is a 'reverse-phi illusion'. According to Stanford University (as spotted by 7News), this is a "basic effect" whereby "If a bright point appears at one position, and then reappears at a position shifted to the right, we tend to see a single object moving left to right." But a scientific explanation isn't enough to stop the supposedly "basic" illusion blowing minds on Twitter:
Oh my 🙈 what a perfect illusion! #magic https://t.co/tdihWdkM9INovember 24, 2020
I had to place my mouse cursor over this image to confirm things weren't moving. https://t.co/6bgwXgXp0GNovember 24, 2020
been staring at this for like 20 minutes. it's destroyed my brain https://t.co/aISr9zstS4November 23, 2020
OK, we have officially reached the peak of optical illusions. There is not surpassing this one. https://t.co/jQQWJxzweyNovember 25, 2020
This isn't the first time @jagarikin has wowed Twitter users with a mind-blowing illusion. Back in September, they made heads spin with a pair of 'rotating' cubes (spoiler alert: those aren't moving either). Both of @jagarikin's creations are up there with the best optical illusions we've seen this year. (If you're wondering what the worst is, look at these McDonald's kissing burgers at your peril.)