Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Met <i>Super Mario Maker</i> there is no escaping the pleasure… or the grim specter of death!”/><figcaption class=

Of Super Mario Maker there’s no escaping the fun… or the grim specter of death!

In August, when I was doing my review of Super Mario Creator, I posted the tweet above suggesting that the game offered a limited emotional palette for potential levels. Since any level uploaded to the game’s subservers must first be beaten by its creator, you can’t just upload a level that traps Mario in an inescapable box or crushes him under a literally unavoidable ceiling of Thwomps. Levels in Super Mario Maker must always consider the possibility of success, no matter how difficult.

Or so I thought. It seems my ability to come up with levels of punishment was far too small, and the audience’s ability to force Mario through psychological trauma is disturbingly high. With over a million Super Mario Maker levels already uploaded, there are at least three that manage to force Mario to confront some dark existential questions on his way to that target flag. While each is at least a little tongue-in-cheek, they show the vast scope for creative expression – and perhaps even the creation of the dreaded word “art” – through a limited palette of platform game objects.

Don’t take our word for it. Check out these twisted creations using the videos below, or go ahead and play them by matching the ID codes in your own copy of Super Mario Maker:

The Goomba: A sad tale of madness

Creator: theory mon
Mario Maker ID: BDAB-0000-0033-2697

The magic of an Amiibo mushroom transforms Super Mario into his very first nemesis, slowly marching from right to left in a procession to inevitable doom. Haunted by the ghosts of his fallen comrades, this goomba is also forced to kill them himself in a delightfully brutal room at around the 1:37 mark of the video. In the end, our sad goomba protagonist turns back into his enemy and commits what amounts to forced genocide against the fellow goombas he has come to identify with. Seriously, this is goomba hell.

Waluigi’s Unbearable Existence

Creator: Kris
Mario Maker ID: DAF8-0000-0027-7A46

Any level that starts by forcing Mario to become Waluigi already piques our interest. But then comes the coin messages that force our protagonist to face his twisted heart and lonely existence. “You’ll never fill the void,” the game tells Waluigi and the player. “You will never succeed as yourself. You never could,” it says in coins that touch our darkest fears and anxieties. The answer to the puzzle of this cursed existence is in those messages, although that doesn’t make the sacrifice at the end of this level any easier.

Will you save your son?

Creator: Geoff!
Mario Maker ID: C046-0000-003F-3825

An excellent parody of all-too-serious moral dilemmas in games, this level begins with a simple coin-letter question: “How far would you go to save your son?” If you answer “not far” you’re instantly dead. If you want to progress further, you’ll be taken on a circuitous quest involving forced assassinations, forced imprisonment and confronting some surprising inner demons… plus some tough jumping challenges. In the end, the only winner in this level is… madness.

By akfire1

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