My Mario Maker Rivalry Is Over, And Evil Won (For Now)

My Mario Maker Rivalry Is Over, And Evil Won (For Now)

Sometimes, evil wins. That’s what happened on Sunday; I was unable to beat the latest stage from Giant Bomb‘s Dan Ryckert: The Armageddan. I was close — a few times, very close — but in the end, despite my facial hair on the line, I lost.

There are Mario Maker levels, and there are Ryckert’s Mario Maker levels.

Ever since I beat Giant Bomb’s community collaboration, The Giant Bomb Level, we’ve been locked in an eternal feud. Ryckert makes a level, and I beat his level.

This resulted in a trilogy of design nightmares that Miyamoto would weep over:

The Ryckoning

The Kleopcalypse

The Armageddan

As I’ve outlined in previous articles, Ryckert’s stages are not for the timid; each requires a serious amount of time, dedication, and effort to deduce the endless puzzles and pull off the platforming sequences. I’ve probably put the same amount of time into each Ryckert stage than it takes to beat the average video game campaign. All told, I’ve likely played Ryckert’s stages for dozens of hours.

(Side note: I’m not allowed to use the editor to determine possible solutions or practice sections of the level. This makes my task much, much harder.)

The Armageddan was the end game. Privately, we were both exhausted from the ongoing competition. For as long as it takes me to beat the stages, it takes Ryckert just as long to build them. For both our sakes, this had to end.

We managed to raise more than $US10,000 ($13,941) for charity by putting a time limit on The Ryckoning, but I had no such restrictions for The Klepocalypse or The Armagaeddan. Though The Klepocalypse was frustrating, I eventually ground out the solution and made it to the end. This would have happened with The Armageddan, too, were it not for a fateful tweet I sent out on New Years Eve.

There were big stakes for this level, too.

If Dan won (aka I couldn’t beat it), I had to buy tickets to a WWE event in the future and write a book report about it.

If I won, Dan had to eat a series of meals based on his most hated foods. (Dan is a food baby who is afraid of things like mayo.)

Like most people, I had plans on New Years Eve, and if I wanted to keep my marriage intact, those plans needed to stay in place. Despite several hours of streaming the level — and good progress in deducing it — I wasn’t able to beat it.

Technically, I lost the bet. Technically, by going out on New Years Eve, I’d given up the remaining hours I could use to play the level: four hours and 42 minutes.

In a Hail Mary, I proposed that I be allowed to use the remaining time to try and beat the level on a different day. In exchange, the stakes were raised again.

If Dan won (aka I couldn’t beat it), I would have to buy Dan and myself tickets to a WWE event in the future, write a 10-page book report about it, and allow a WWE wrestler to shave my facial hair.

If I won…well, I just got to say I beat the level.

And so, it was on.

On Sunday night, I booted up Twitch and began my final descent into hell.

The level was within my grasp. I’d figured out everything you needed to do, but that’s only half the battle. The doing is just as difficult as the knowing, and while I came incredibly close several different times, it simply wasn’t enough.

With the timer running down, my four hours and 42 minutes running out, I made a desperate run. The last few times, I’d managed to make it through one of the game’s most challenging gauntlets, but I didn’t have the timing down yet.

So, this is how it The Armageddan ended:

So close, yet so far.

This is how the whole level is supposed to play out:

Ridiculous, right?

Though Ryckert won, I have beaten two of his levels, so the record is 2-1*.

I’ll be back.


  • This has been very cool and interesting to follow along with, but I can’t shake the feeling that if I wasn’t already invested and ‘tuning in’ it’d be very hard for me to get into.

    PK’s writing is great, of course, but then you get to that obnoxious random tuber’s video and yeesh. No way I want to sit through that!

    Dan Ryckert’s hopefully going to keep making levels for us mere mortals to play, the main issue with Super Mario Maker is the way the sheer depth of the tools at disposal intimidates ala grand strategy games or city builders, Kerbal, etc.

    I want to execute some (probably not very) grand ideas I have in the game but wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I need to put the time into the creator, but I also think there’s merit in a Klepek/Ryckert/etc taking a ‘I’ll make your level’ challenge.

    I don’t know, a My Kitchen Rules type of thing? Two judges get to critique?

  • Daaamn losing one of your better runs because not timing properly yoshi’s tongue must have hurt like hell.

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