- 2 years ago

Jump the void: Confronting existential dread through Super Mario Maker

With Super Mario Maker there's no escaping the fun... or the grim spectre of death!

Just realized that the fact that every online Mario Maker level must be beatable really limits the ability to convey existential dread.

Kyle Orland (@KyleOrl) August 26, 2015

Back in August, when I was working on my review of Super Mario Maker, I posted the above tweet suggesting that the game offered a limited emotional palette for potential levels. Because every level that gets uploaded to the game's sharing servers has to be beaten at least once by its creator first, you can't simply upload a level that traps Mario in an inescapable box or crushes him beneath a literally unavoidable ceiling of Thwomps. Levels in Super Mario Maker must always allow for the possibiltiy of success, no matter how difficult.

Or so I thought. It seems my capacity for thinking up punishing levels was much too small, and the public's capacity for forcing Mario through psychological trauma is troublingly large. 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 goal flag. While they're all at least a little bit tongue in cheek, they show the vast opportunities for creative expression and even, perhaps, the creation of the dreaded "art" word through a limited palette of platform game objects.

Don't take our word for it. See these twisted creations using the videos below, or go ahead and play them by typing the ID codes into your own copy of Super Mario Maker:

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