Mario Maker's last content update dropped over a year ago, but hardcore fans aren't ready to let go yet. Instead, some of the community introduces new features through glitches, though Nintendo doesn't seem to be a fan of the practice.
Since release, Mario Maker players have found all sorts of ways to exploit the level-creation tools to frankenstein courses together -- one of the most prominent examples being invisible platforms. As patches and fixes rolled out, players just found more ways to bend and break Mario Maker. Late in 2016, rumours of how to pull off forbidden mechanics trickled down to Psycrow, a game designer and Mario Maker fan.
"I'd read a comment in a video which essentially stated that if you shake a lava bubble on a track (curving the track), put a mushroom on it, and hit Undo, strange things happen," Psycrow told Kotaku. "I did some experiments and I discovered that this was like a backdoor into the game's inner workings."
A whole new world opened up for Psycrow, who became dedicated to finding more Mario Maker glitches. Psycrow developed techniques for all sorts of things: invisible pipes, Cloudless Lakitus, teleportation, cannons that shoot at warp speed, the ability to include way more Bowsers in a level than intended. Psycrow even discovered a way to make in-game slopes, something that players had been begging for since release.
Many of these techniques were detailed on Psycrow's personal website, where he shared tutorials so that other people could replicate the exploits. And, naturally, Psycrow also uploaded levels to Mario Maker itself, so that others could play them. The levels became popular: some Psycrow creations have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, while racking up "stars" in-game.
All the same, some of these levels were taken down by Nintendo. Not phased, Psycrow reuploaded some glitch levels under new names, only to get console-banned from the service:
Miffed, Psycrow decided to call Nintendo's main hotline personally.
"So after Nintendo banned my first account, ThePsycrow, I called and told them how while they have been busy NOT adding any new features for a year, I was generating a lot of interest through glitches which basically add features," Psycrow said. "This game is dying," he pleaded during the call.
Nintendo would not lift the ban. Instead, it seemed to take notes on some of the glitches that Psycrow described during the call, judging by patch that addressed exactly those techniques later on. Psycrow didn't give up, though. He just found ways around Nintendo's bans.
"You don't need to buy a new console each time [you get banned] -- if you have two consoles you can get around an infinite number of bans using the System Transfer option," Psycrow said. To date, Psycrow's gotten banned twice, but he kept uploading glitched levels anyway. For Psycrow, his creations are a way to keep the game fresh for other people who are still enjoying the game, like speedrunners, YouTubers, and Twitch streamers.
Just a few weeks ago, some of Mario Maker's most dedicated fans held a stream featuring a Psycrow level. Together, they raised thousands of dollars for charity, as you'll see below in Grand POOBear's video:
"The Maker community loves what [Psycrow] does," Grand POOBear told Kotaku.
"[Mario Maker] was abandoned prematurely by Nintendo," Psycrow said. "My levels have actually gotten to #1 in the worldwide rankings for proportional stars in the past, showing how strong the interest has been in glitch levels."
There are no plans to stop, either. Psycrow says he is currently working on a big level that will feature a "huge-headed cloud snake," "dancing enemies," "laser beams," and more.
"Glitch experiments and pioneering new things is fun to make and fun to play...Nintendo being however they're going to be about things -- that's their thing, not mine," Psycrow said.