When Super Mario Maker 2 released, a lot of creators used their knowledge of the first game or even years of Super Mario romhacking to jump right in to creating tough levels for the game. These are frequently known as “Kaizo” levels, derived from an early Super Mario World romhack though literally just meaning “restructured.” One of the most famous players and creators of Kaizo games is GrandPOOBear, a play on the title of Grand Poobah and Winnie the Pooh, who is a popular Twitch streamer and often runs games at events like Games Done Quick. GrandPOOBear got big into Super Mario Maker 2 since its release and uploaded one of the community’s best known Kaizo levels until it was deleted this morning.
Kaizo levels, in this case one titled “Pile of Poo: Kai-Zero G,” tend to rely heavily on dizzying degrees of execution and exploiting the game’s mechanics to make it through, like using two different turtle shells to jump up to areas that Mario normally should not be able to reach. Some players really get into these types of levels, which are generally auto-sorted into “Super Expert” paths within Super Mario Maker 2 and unlikely to be found accidentally. When GrandPOOBear woke up this morning, he found that the level had been deleted. When he questioned Nintendo, they only told him that the level was inappropriate, and threatened that further violations would result in a total ban.
This is the email I received. There is no appeal process.
I honestly feel like shit right now and kinda heartbroken. I love this game. I’m a good ambassador for it. Why does Nintendo continue to pick on me? pic.twitter.com/Fp57WPc66b
— GrandPooBear (@GrandPOOBear) July 16, 2019
He also claims that he has spoken with Nintendo customer service representatives that insist the problem is not the word “Poo” in the level’s title. GrandPOOBear explains that Nintendo themselves use the word for names, such as in the SNES title Earthbound, and points to previous levels that have the word in it with no problem.
This is not the first time GrandPOOBear has run into this problem, as Nintendo deleted his entire suite of levels in the original Super Mario Maker on the Wii U. Once a level has been deleted by Nintendo, it is flagged and cannot be reuploaded. GrandPOOBear had to tug at strings at Nintendo for some time before they eventually admitted they had no idea why the levels were deleted and allowed him to reupload them.
While Nintendo seems a lot more stern with this deletion, it also reinforces the feeling among the Super Mario Maker 2 community that the Japanese publisher could upend the entire game on a whim. The lack of explanation for the deletion of a popular course, which is certainly not the first popular course to be deleted even a few weeks into the game’s life, is not especially surprising given Nintendo’s trademark silence, but makes people feel uneasy about uploading levels to the servers at all. There’s no telling why or when Nintendo might delete your course or whether it is even decided by a human or triggered by an auto-moderation software after enough reports.
It is especially grating for the community when there is no formula for having your levels discovered. On the Wii U, Nintendo deleted levels that did not get played enough, meaning children or people without big social media followings would have little opportunity to have their levels played and would thus get bumped from the servers. The lack of a coherent policy for deletion — whether for reasons of rule violations or virtual dilapidation — still hangs over the game as frustratingly as it did its predecessor.