If you’re anything like me, you spent tens, if not hundreds of hours during the 1990s in front of a TV set playing Super Nintendo games like Super Mario World.
The game is often heralded as the greatest 2-D Mario game ever made, and is still played even 22 years (feel old yet!?) after its original launch.
You’d be wrong, though, if you thought that people were still playing just the levels that Nintendo crafted for its consumers decades ago; throughout the world there are entire groups of people with ROM files and hacked versions of the original game code who are regularly creating new levels, sometimes entire worlds, of their very own.
But why create nice, gentle levels filled with dancing flowers and 1-up mushrooms when you could create the most sadistic, mind-bending stages ever conceived of and force your friends to play through them?
A series of videos titled “My friend plays modded Mario” hit Japanese video sharing site Niconico Douga around five years ago, in which one man recorded himself trying to play horrendously difficult levels designed by his friend.
How hard could an old 8-bit game actually be?
Levels that begin with drops into bottomless pits, coin blocks that only appear once Mario jumps, smacking his head into them and falling to his death as a result… this is some gloriously nasty stuff.
After that a new modded Mario video debuted on Niconico and was promptly viewed hundreds of thousands of times. It has since been taken down from the site due to copyright infringement, but we managed to find a reposting of it over on good old YouTube for you to enjoy:
The new levels, this time using the much prettier Super Mario World game, poke fun at the player in new and original ways, including messages from Yoshi, the green dragon that Mario has been repeatedly known to sacrifice whenever the need arises.
“So, you’ve come back huh? Dammit – Throwaway Yoshi”
And finally, after five years of waiting, sadistically modded Mario is back for another round of punishment.
As the level begins, we see instantly how much of a challenge it’s going to be. Mario drops down from a pipe where he is immediately confronted by a walking cactus. With nowhere left to run, Mario has no choice but to but wait for the enemy to close in and kill him…
This is clearly an exercise in trial and error!
Learning from his mistakes, the player pulls off some moves that average players wouldn’t even conceive of; sprinting, dodging and spinning his way out of seemingly inescapable situations time and time again.
He bounces along lines of moving bullets…
Avoids baseball-slinging turtles…
Before finally reaching what seems like a safe location…
Only to be chased by a wall of bullets that he then has to use to vault to the top of the stage.
And of course, just as poor old Yoshi lamented in his letter, Mario abandons his green pal in order to save his own neck…
These levels are nothing short of evil, and have understandably gathered a lot of attention on the video site, with compilations of the player’s frequent deaths in particular garnering row after row of “w” (from “warau”, the Japanese for “laugh”) comments that scroll across the screen.
While I’d personally rather not try these levels out for myself, it’s great fun seeing this player traverse such punishing and meticulously well-designed stages. The videos are almost infuriating to watch, yet somehow maintain that “just one more try” feeling that addictive old-school videogames are renown for. You can’t help rooting for the gamer, yet at the same time squirming at the very thought of tackling these levels for yourself.
Super Mario World (C) Nintendo image edited by RocketNews24