Nintendo Deletes Every Stage By Prominent Mario Maker Speedrunner

Nintendo Deletes Every Stage By Prominent Mario Maker Speedrunner

Nintendo has a real problem on its hands with Mario Maker. Left and right, creators are seeing their levels removed from the online servers without an explanation. David “GrandPOObear” Hunt, a speedrunner who makes a living streaming games, is the latest victim. All of his levels have vanished. (We last featured Hunt after he pulled off an amazing Mario Maker trick.)

As Hunt prepped for an appearance at this week’s speedrunning event Californithon, he discovered his Mario Maker stages had disappeared.

“Wow, all of my levels just got deleted off of Mario Maker,” he tweeted earlier today. “All my stars are gone.”

When a stage is deleted from Mario Maker‘s servers, you cannot change it and re-upload it. You have to build the level again, from scratch, and hope Nintendo doesn’t find it a second time. And because Nintendo doesn’t provide creators with feedback on why a level is removed, it’s a crapshoot.

Hunt, who estimates he’s spent more than 100 hours uploading level, is telling the truth: his Mario Maker profile is bare.

Stars are equivalent to “likes” in the Mario Maker community, a way for players to recommend a stage. Nintendo regularly deleted unpopular stages, making stars a precious commodity. It keeps your stages alive.

“Streaming Mario Maker is 90 per cent of my stream, which is 90 per cent of my overall income so far in 2016,” Hunt told me today.

It’s not hard to imagine why this is so distressing, then.

After the levels were deleted, Hunt got on the phone with Nintendo customer support. He recorded the conversation and uploaded it.

The customer service representative didn’t have much to offer. His account hadn’t been flagged for inappropriate activity, showing no marks of cheating or level infringement, common reasons levels are taken down.

“I don’t see that you’ve been flagged for anything regarding cheating or what not,” said the rep. “Mostly, if you are accused of cheating, there would be some notes on your account but there isn’t. At this time, it doesn’t look like we have a resolution for you. I can forward this to our Knowledge Team [another group in Nintendo] and they can investigate it for you.”

The phone call ended without any resolution.

As with every one of my stories on this topic, Nintendo didn’t respond to my request for comment.

This isn’t the first time Hunt has run into the same problem.

In mid-January, Nintendo removed his “Pile of Poo-POOgatory” level from the online servers. A Kaizo-influenced stage, it was one of his most popular. For more than 30 minutes, Hunt patiently talked to various Nintendo customer service representatives about his situation.

The Mario Maker community isn’t only policed by Nintendo. Players can report stages, too, and it’s ripe for abuse. Creators who stream levels have to be especially wary of trolls; all it takes is a few people reporting a level to have it taken down. And as you can imagine, getting it back is a nightmare.

Pile of Poo-POOgatory was flagged for language. On the phone, Hunt argued this was unfair, as his online handle is poo-related, and his other levels that included the word “poo” hadn’t been taken down.

“You’re deleting something because of my name,” he said.

(His Nintendo Network ID does not include the word “poo”.)

“I completely understand where you’re coming from,” said the rep.

After putting Hunt on hold, the rep returned with an answer of sorts.

“I know that this is something of a grey area, honestly, looking at this,” said the rep. “What I can do, if you want, is I can forward the level to be reviewed by the [administrators]. They will be the ones to actually decide if the content’s returned to Miiverse. However, if I do that, they will also be reviewing their other submitted levels, as well.”

Hunt offered to change the level’s name, if that was the root of Nintendo’s problem, but the rep said it wasn’t possible to do that. The way the system works, they explained, was that once a level is removed, the only way it comes back is if Nintendo decides the level, name and all, is acceptable.

The sympathetic rep said that’s “the way the system works at this point”.

The rep offered to pass on Hunt’s feedback, to hopefully influence “how we handle stuff in the future”, but said it wouldn’t change overnight.

There was one problem, however. If the rep escalated Hunt’s request, it would require Nintendo to examine everything he’s created. This would mean looking at his other levels. If they decided to reject Pile of Poo-POOgatory, they might reject all of his stages. Hunt took the risk.

A week or so later, in the middle of a stream, Hunt got a call.

“We were able to get your level returned to Miiverse,” said the Nintendo rep.

Overjoyed at the news, Hunt thanked them for their help.

Unfortunately, the good news didn’t last for long; the level stayed offline. Days later, Hunt was informed by the same rep that he spoke too soon, that “it was a design decision that it [the level] couldn’t come back, they were very sorry and would change how levels were taken down in the future”.

That was in the middle of February. A little over a month later, all of Hunt’s levels are gone, even the ones that didn’t include joking references to poo (that is, OOP fo elip: doesn’t feel right).

Understandably, Hunt feels targeted. He’s worried the way he’s publicly called out Nintendo for their policies (or lack thereof) means he’s been punished for speaking out. Unlike other Mario Maker creators whose levels have been removed, Hunt has a video trail documenting his experience.

“This hurts, in some ways, my standing in the community,” he said. “[Making] me just looking unaccomplished, etc. I know that stuff is silly, but that’s the economy we live in as streamers.”

You’re going to kill this community, Nintendo.


  • Heavy handed and incredibly disrespectful to the user who supports what is supposed to be a community based game. Nintendo need to explain themselves.

  • So it’s an act. A persona.

    Look, there’s sympathy for the apparent scores of level makers who have fallen into this trap but not this dude. Not going to blindly defend the mysterious ‘administrators’ or whatever, but look at that second video thumbnail – the game is just a prop on a show.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t most console games with user-created content that can be played via download elsewhere get subjected to weird and overwrought curation?

    This game is probably the best ad for Kaizo Mario anyway, I guess.

    • I’ve got a few Little Big Planet levels that I doubt anyone has played in a long time, but they are still up there. I don’t think they do anything like deleting levels due to unpopularity like Nintendo seems to be doing.

      This does seem to be a bit different to the previous stories about level deletion though, since it seems every single one of his levels had the word “poo” in the title (or “poo” spelled backwards). I’m kind of surprised he didn’t rename his other levels when he found out they might have a problem with the name of one of his levels.

  • I didn’t think Nintendo could pull off an online file sharing type service that Mario Maker needed, but they surprised me … now they’re just reminding us how much they just don’t get this stuff.

  • Full retail price for a stand-alone 2D level maker and they can’t even manage the servers.


    • Nintendo are managing the servers, just not to a standard that some players agree with.

  • It’s pretty on par for Nintendo though isn’t it? They have similar policies to Youtube channels, any user related content, etc, etc. And they typically don’t care who’s toes they step on.

    tl;dr just Nintendo doing their thang.

  • Nintendo built up a lot of goodwill over the ’90s and early ’00s but they sure have done a lot to try to squander that over the last few years between this, the YouTube fiasco and others.

    It’s like they just don’t get the current environment. It’s not like their heyday when it was a case of “the manufacturer controls all, deal with it”. We live in a much more collaborative, shared environment now when it comes to gaming. Livestreaming, Let’s Plays and so on are incredibly popular. Hell, some games are even a success in large part because of these mediums.

    Nintendo just don’t get it.

    • I thought they almost got it…. I mean it looked at first like community collaboration was the conceptual spark behind Mario Maker.

      But then it became apparent that a 2D level maker was just the laziest, least time consuming way to put a full-priced Mario game on the WiiU release schedule.

  • I’m gonna put my course IDs here and hope people play them so they don’t get taken down.

    Learning How to Use: Yoshi: 20F4-0000-01FC-A967

    Touhou x Mario: Bowsers’ Air Fort: F129-0000-01F8-CC0E

      • They remove them if they’ve been up for a certain amount of time and have little plays. These levels have been up for a few days now and have a total of 4 plays. This is much less than my other levels which have a total of over 300 plays. I worked hard on them and really don’t want them taken down.

  • Nintendo are still the best AAA game DEVELOPERS around, but by GOD their PR and relationship with their playerbase is abysmal!

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!