When it comes to creative, enjoyable video game level design, the Super Mario franchise stands apart. Even at their hardest, the Mario games deliver clever challenges that test players’ capabilities in a number of ways, from twitch reaction to strategic planning. With Super Mario Maker, Nintendo turned the reins of its storied franchise over to players, asking them to build and share their own Mario courses.
And of course, that inspired thousands of Mario fans to try to destroy the spirits of thousands of other Mario fans, using only a beloved game and their sheer psychopathic malice to do so. We’ve compiled seven of the most wretched Mario Maker levels that yet exist, so you can enjoy watching them torture people other than you—or put yourself through Mario hell by punching in the level codes provided and trying them out.
Just, please: if these levels inspire you to create your own Mario courses, use your powers for good, not evil.
7. SUPER MARIO BOY
Level code: BA34-0000-0015-F84C
Our first level brings the cycle of influence, homage, iteration and mastery back to its beginning. “Super Mario Boy” is a super-hard, sawblade-filled level inspired by Super Meat Boy, which is itself a super-hard, sawblade-filled game inspired in no small part by the likes of Super Mario. This one’s all dismemberment and wall-jumps.
Level code: 3759-0000-001C-8932
The toughest Nintendo-made Super Mario courses tend to be those in which the screen moves ahead of Mario, forcing him to keep in constant forward motion. YouTubers JK Bros took that idea to its logical extreme, creating a course that crushes Mario beneath its inexorable momentum, throwing him in pits and forcing him, screaming, face-first into those spinning fire wand things.
5. DUNGEON DWELLERS, OR: A REALLY LONG AND CONVOLUTED LEVEL
Level code: A14E-0000-005A-062C
YouTuber TWD98 throws pretty much everything he can think of into this level, which includes multiple boss fights, walls players have to blast through, and a trampoline you absolutely cannot leave behind. You can use this video as a cheat sheet if you need it. (You will need to.)
4. THE FOUR TOWERS OF HELL
Level code: BD99-0000-0062-6FC7
Super Mario has been a huge influence on game developers of all stripes, so game site Polygon had the great idea to create a video series in which developers of other games try their hands at creating Mario courses. “The Four Towers of Hell” is the work of developer Derek Yu, the creator of another very hard game: Spelunky, in which players work through ever-deepening caves filled with deadly enemies and traps. Yu’s stage puts players through four challenges with different themes, each engendering a different brand of potential torment on the player.
3. PIT OF PANGA: BOMB VOYAGE
Level code: 2A8F-0000-0049-9485
Level creator PangaeaPanga is known for creating some of the most ludicrous Mario Maker levels out there. These are levels that require crazy feats in which players have to leap out over pits, throw things ahead of them, land on those things, and then bounce off even more stuff. “Bomb Voyage” has the added wrinkle of requiring players to carry bombs and place them in precise locations to proceed. More than 11,000 attempts were made at beating this one before YouTuber Bananasaurus finally pulled it off.
2. PIT OF PANGA: P-BREAK
Level code: 6059-0000-005E-4FB5
You can’t just upload any old Mario Maker level and then sit back and watch as the peasants of the internet struggle in the diabolical Mario-killing snares you’ve created. In fact, you can’t upload any level unless you can complete it yourself. That means “Bomb Voyage” creator PangaeaPanga was the true first person to beat that horror show, as well as this plumber’s living nightmare. Panga writes in the video description that it took five hours to create this monstrosity, and another nine hours of attempts to actually beat it. Stare into the abyss if you dare.
1. THE TRYING CHALLENGE
Level code: ECA4-0000-0035-DD8F
Take perfect jumping and add unpredictable, flailing enemies, and you have this level. Everything is a death trap here, and the only way forward is with singular patience and the hindsight of a million deaths. Perfectly timed jumps through seemingly impossible passes are required, and clearly this is a stage that chews up players and spits them out: of the nearly 76,000 who have attempted it, only four have been successful.
Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. He was hoping the latter would help him get Han Solo hair, but so far he’s been unsuccessful. He lives with his wife and annoying cats in Los Angeles.
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