The creativity of Mario Maker creators knows no bounds. However, that vast majority of levels that go viral include the most ridiculous and difficult stages imaginable, stuff that makes for good streaming content but isn’t the type of thing the average person will enjoy. Maybe what the world needed was a different kind of troll. Maybe we needed MegaTefyt.
MegaTefyt is one of the most popular designers in Super Mario Maker 2 right now, and after playing around with his “Get a Life” series, it’s not hard to see why. “Get a Life” is both a taunt and a description. In almost every “Get a Life” stage, players can only win if they, at one point, find an extra life mushroom. That seems easy enough, right? Bounce on enough enemies, grab enough coins, find one hidden in a block. You, should, in theory, have plenty of options here.
The problem is—well, it’s easier if you just watch:
This happens every few seconds. Bait, switch. It’s Lucy and the football. A green mushroom appears in reach, only for the game to snatch it away, destroy it, or otherwise find some way for the player to avoid accomplishing their this one goal. It’s hilarious because it’s frustrating.
This goes on and on. There are even moments where the game drops in a frickin’ laugh track after a particularly biting moment, a way for the game to rub its power in your face.
I was straight up cackling at this part:
Most troll-y levels mine humor from unearned surprise. There’s nothing clever about an invisible block in the pathway of an otherwise regular jump, nothing interesting about making the player execute pixel-perfect jumps through a bed of spikes. As someone who routinely plays such levels on stream, taking pride in beating monstrosities engineered to grind you into pulp, I also understand being mad about how they overshadow what else is out there.
Mario Maker works because everyone playing it comes in with shared knowledge. We’ve been playing these games for years, if not decades. Nintendo has trained us. Part of the reason level creation tools made post-Mario Maker haven’t taken off, despite some being legitimately better and more robust toolsets, is because players lack that institutional knowledge. Troll stages exploit this built-in trust, but traditionally, it’s at the expense of the player. What MegaTefyt’s found is a different approach, one where the designer is a magician, someone playing tricks on you, but you’re part of the joke, not the butt of it.
There’s room for all kinds of creators, including, it turns out, a newer, kinder kind of troll.
“Get a Life! 3D” can be played with the level code 8KR-JSB-FYG. And if you like it, you’re in luck; MegaTefyt has a whole series of other “Get a Life” stages that riff on the same concept.
Follow Patrick on Twitter. If you've know why there's no Bully 2 yet, drop an email: email@example.com. He's also available privately on Signal.