A popular Mario speedrunner and Mario Maker level creator said Tuesday morning that Nintendo is once again deleting his Mario Maker levels, this time targeting his popular Super Expert course in Super Mario Maker 2 for the Switch, called “Pile of Poo: Kai-Zero G.”
“I am at a loss for words and extremely sad about this,” said the creator, David “GrandPOOBear” Hunt, in a Twitter thread.
Hunt is well known in the Mario Maker community for his streaming, speedrunning, and creating some of the series’ most challenging levels. Kai-Zero G is one of those. Part of a tradition of “Kaizo” levels that are known for being incredibly difficult and breaking the normal rules associated with official Mario levels, Kai-Zero G is set in Mario Maker 2's new low-gravity setting, forcing players to make meticulously-timed jumps, catches, and throws, generally while slowly falling into an open pit. It blew up in Super Mario Maker 2 shortly after Hunt released it, with videos of other people playing it garnering hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Now the level is gone, and he has no idea why.
According to a screenshot Hunt shared of an email from Nintendo he received earlier today, the course violated a prohibition on “inappropriate and/or harmful” content. But Hunt says there was nothing offensive in the level that he can think of. “It contained no inappropriate words, pictures, etc. It contained no glitches,” he said on Twitter.
He also believes that the problem does not lie with the word “Poo” in his online alias or in the level’s title. “’I’ve been told specifically by people at Nintendo that it’s not due to my name being Poo multiple times,” he said on Twitter, noting that the “Poo” part of his handle comes from a character in the game EarthBound. (Additionally, Hunt’s display name is simply “GPB” in Mario Maker 2.) That said, the phrasing “Pile of Poo” in the level’s title is certainly suggestive of something other than a fan-favorite EarthBound character, which might have triggered Nintendo’s famously opaque moderation regardless of what Hunt has been told in the past.
One person on Twitter suggested that it might be the result of other players erroneously reporting Kai-Zero G, rather than Nintendo targeting it specifically. Hunt called that “the most likely scenario,” although it doesn’t change the fact that the level is now gone. A Mario Maker 2 level that Nintendo boots from the servers cannot be re-uploaded, even if the creator makes changes to it. While he could rebuild it from scratch, he’s not sure it’s worth the effort, considering Nintendo might delete it all over again.
This isn’t the first time Nintendo has deleted Hunt’s levels. Back in 2016 the company deleted all of Hunt’s levels in the first Mario Maker, a body of work that cumulatively took him over 100 hours to construct. At that time, it did not tell him why it deleted the levels. At the time, Hunt told Kotaku that he felt like Nintendo was going after him specifically for having called out some of Nintendo’s policies with regard to the Mario Maker community. Nintendo, at that time, did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.
While the email that Hunt received from Nintendo said the decision about removing Kai-Zero G was final, Hunt has attempted to appeal to the President of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, on Twitter for help on reversing the decision.
“if there is something that Nintendo could point me too that caused this, I would gladly fix that given the opportunity,” Hunt said. “But it keeps happening despite me following their rule sets. I don’t know. I don’t want to create this conspiracy around me and Nintendo but it’s starting to feel that way.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hunt was reached for comment by Kotaku but was unable to provide further details beyond what he had already shared via Twitter.