Any Super Mario Maker 2 player will tell you that Twitch streamer GrandPooBear is one of the game’s biggest ambassadors. Not only is he dedicated to playing, making, and highlighting the best Mario levels out there, GrandPooBear also does a ton to introduce new players to the game. But Nintendo seems determined to hound him.
Back in 2016, the house of Mario deleted every single level that GrandPooBear made for the first Super Mario Maker, despite acknowledging that he had not cheated or otherwise broken any visible rules. Based on conversations with Nintendo reps, GrandPooBear believed that his courses were being taken down for including the word “Poo,” which would be easy enough to fix, except Nintendo refused to let him change level names. It was a mess — and now Nintendo seems to be repeating the mistake.
In early July, GrandPooBear uploaded a challenging yet approachable zero-G course, which you can view below. It is a completely normal Mario Maker 2 level. There are no glitches, exploits, or obscenities in the level.
Today, the course is gone. It was one of the most-played Super Expert levels in the game, as evidenced by the fact that most prominent Mario Maker 2 players have promoted it. The reason cited, according to Nintendo, is “harmful or inappropriate content,” which does not track with the actual material in the upload. GrandPooBear has no way to contest this decision.
This is the email I received. There is no appeal process.— GrandPOObear (@GrandPOOBear) July 16, 2019
I honestly feel like shit right now and kinda heartbroken. I love this game. I’m a good ambassador for it. Why does Nintendo continue to pick on me? pic.twitter.com/Fp57WPc66b
This time, GrandPooBear doesn’t think the takedown is happening due to his name, or at least he claims that Nintendo reps have repeatedly assured him the word isn’t a problem. GrandPooBear speculates that he is not in good standing with the Japanese company as his wider channel sometimes features playthroughs of ROM hacks and randomizers, although that wouldn’t explain why this specific Mario Maker 2 level got taken down. Nintendo did not immediately respond for a request for comment, so we can’t say for sure.
If indeed Nintendo takes umbrage with ROM hacks, it’s also worth noting that Mario Maker 2 owes much of its popularity to those ROM hacks, which have buoyed the speed running and Kaizo communities for years. Those same people who made and played ROM hacks before Mario Maker existed are the same people championing the game now that there is an official way to make custom levels.
“I love Mario so much that I want to play it over and over and over, and that’s what drove me to ROM hacks in the first place,” GrandPooBear told Polygon over Twitter DM. “No where [sic] else can I challenge myself with the original game engines like that.”
The specific reasons for Nintendo’s takedown, however, remain unknown. There are many possibilities here — for instance, did trolls flag GrandPooBear’s levels en-masse? One would hope that Nintendo actually reviews the levels it takes action against.
The deletion of GrandPooBear’s level is particularly egregious when you consider how much he is doing for the Mario Maker 2 community. Recently, he made headlines for creating courses that teach players how to perform Kaizo tricks that will allow them to attempt more advanced levels. Given that Mario Maker 2 seems to attract masochists who love to create incredibly hard levels, that’s a godsend. On its own, Mario Maker 2 does nothing to prepare the player for the hellscape that are some of the player-created courses. Alienating a guy who is bringing more people into the fold despite that chaos is a short-sighted move.
I played the first Super Mario Maker game for years without ever intentionally pulling off a successful shell jump. Thanks to @GrandPOOBear’s shell jump tutorial level in SMM2, I was able to do one in less than a minute. ID: 9MD-144-RJG pic.twitter.com/X6GJWNinJS— Amanda McArthur SDCC (@amandamcarthur_) July 12, 2019
“I am at a loss for words and extremely sad about this,” GrandPooBear said on Twitter. “If there is something that Nintendo could point me too [sic] that caused this, I would gladly fix that given the opportunity ... I have no idea what actually caused it, [so] I’m left feeling like they just hate me.”
Correction (July 17): A previous version of this article claimed that the level in question did not have the word “Poo” in it, when in fact it does.