This is what Super Mario Maker 2 lets you do. It lets you unleash twisted perversions of beloved memories into the world, making life demonstrably worse in the process.
YTSunny is a Super Mario Maker 2 streamer. They’ve played other games in the past, of course, but right now it’s pretty much all Super Mario Maker 2, all the time. And although normally they stream videos of their progress through the story mode, or tips on how to create your own levels, they’re getting a lot of attention today for a level that they created in the game—an unholy abomination that thumbs its nose at all that’s good and right.
It’s Super Mario Bros. level 1-1, that oh so familiar world that’s immediately recreated in every single game with a level creator. Only this time it’s an absolute hellscape colonized by dozens of spinning fire bars. Any delay or misstep will spell instant death, and there’s basically one single path you can take through the flames to arrive safely at the end. Oh, and there’s only 50 seconds on the clock. Just watching a video of it stresses me out, and I almost never get stressed out by games. (The second half of the 2018 NCAA National Championship game stressed me out even more, but I’m not talking about that kind of game.)
I mean, just take a look at this and try not to palpitate:
Clearly this took a lot of work. YTSunny obviously thought long and hard on this design, figuring out the perfect placement for every fire bar block. It’s frightening to think what such genius—cold, calculated, and so evil—could achieve with enough time and preparation.
Normally I don’t have time for these Mario Maker levels that are simply about pure, punishing difficulty. I’m totally okay with letting the Kaizo craze whoosh right past me. What I like about this level, though, isn’t just that it recontextualizes one of the fundamental building blocks of our gaming knowledge into something so dastardly. It’s that it’s so minimalist in how it does that. It focuses on the addition of one single element that’s normally not expected in 1-1, and then repeats it so furiously that it dominates and redefines the entire level. The Kaizo levels tend to throw every single trick and trap into the pot and then crank the heat up to the max, but YTSunny plays it cool despite working with fire. This level also doesn’t exactly rely on cheap surprises that force you to die and try again. Yeah, the initial fire bar might be unexpected, but once you realize the score you know everything you have to know to make it through. Most extremely difficult Mario Maker levels require a lot of thought and effort to create, but this one is genuinely thoughtful in a way that’s rarely seen in this game.
If you want to roast Mario repeatedly in what should be a safe space, check out YTSunny’s hellacious 1-1 with this Course ID: