One of my “guilty pleasures” is watching YouTube and Twitch streamers who play Super Mario Maker. If you don’t know, the old school Super Mario Bros video games by Nintendo have been brought together in a very cool way. A suite of tools have been given to the players of this unique game that allow them to build levels, upload to a server, and be played by anyone who owns Super Mario Maker.
With a large variety of SMB items, from multiple classic games, the range of possible level creation is infinite. A brilliantly simple game has now been immortalized and, with only the human imagination as its limit, the wide variety of level design is showcased in Mario Maker via a game mode called “Super Expert”. The game picks, at random, 6 player created levels that have a low clear rate or a low attempt/clear ratio. Beat all 6 levels without dying more than 100 times and you rescue “Princess Peach” from the game’s antagonist, Bowser.
Simple. Right? This sounds simple, until you account for… people. These levels are created by the SAME people who comment on YouTube videos. Who post crappy photos on Reddit. Who comment “nice boobs!” on your Facebook photos. You know, trolls. The insane variable of difficulty in these Super Expert Levels is amazing. I am always humbled by the ability of the human mind to create better ways to torture other humans. Super Expert Level in Super Mario Maker is no exception.
I especially enjoy the puzzle levels that carl plays. Watching a SUPER INTELLIGENT MIND attempt to crack a difficult physics puzzle is fascinating. It can take him HOURS to find the answers, but he WILL find them. He has beaten every level he has committed to. They are ALL beatable. You CANNOT upload a SMM level without first clearing it yourself. So, it is just a matter of “do you want it bad enough?”
I have boiled carlsagan42’s philosophy down as best as I could:
“Within a defined physical framework, with an impartial, finite application of the rules, there is NOTHING the human mind cannot achieve.”
And carl proves it. Especially playing “Kaizo Mario” levels. As he puts it, Kazio is a Japanese word that means rearranged. It was originally called “Asshole Mario”, because of the hidden coin blocks the level designer places in the PRESUMED path of the player. Example, when Mario needs to jump over a large gap, he backs up, runs full speed, and jumps with enough momentum to clear the obstacle… but instead of sailing over the hole, he strikes an invisible coin block and falls straight down, dying. In order to clear the pit, the player is forced to change, awkwardly at times, his approach to the jump in order to not strike the block.
The intricacy of the Kaizo Levels are, at times, amazing.
This “kid”, who has just earned his PhD in molecular biology and works with plants in a lab to find new vaccines, is a speed runner. He has an ability that I compare to playing an instrument. He is the concert pianist of Super Mario. And when someone plays an instrument as if it is an extension of their own body, it can be a beautiful thing to see!
It is NOT easy. It requires practice, patients, and dedication. Passion, confidence, and a sense of pride in accomplishment. To see something to its completion. It is a reward in itself, just seeing a difficult project to completion. And carlsagan42 will say it, too-
You have to fail every conceivable way possible before you succeed. Eventually, after all the practice, and work, and failing, and more failing, you get it right. Then it’s “Easy every time!”
So, What’s My point…
In our government, we have seen every possible way to fail. The most ignorant of politicians, the most corrupt of politicians, the most honorable, and the slimiest have all come and gone. Some fall by the wayside in history with little lasting effect on our Country. Some, like Ronald Reagan, are ACTIVELY dictating how we live our lives TODAY via the Supreme Court.
Hope and change, a thousand points of light, a shining city on the hill, a chicken in every pot… ALL words of men who were out of touch with the REALITY of the MAJORITY of Americans. Herbert Hoover, self-made wealthy man, sought to end hunger and poverty. Believed he could do it in his Presidency. Reagan held up America as a beacon for the rest of the world, then armed rebels with illegal funds in secret and lied about it.
Do we even need to bring up GWB?
Either these men lost touch with their roots, or they had an agenda all along that was contradictory to the goals of the AVERAGE American. Being an AVERAGE American (I presume), I can say without a doubt that the END GOAL of the MAJORITY of AMERICANS is simple- helping to ensure we come closer to that more “perfect Union” envisioned long ago. No one is perfect. No government is perfect. BUT, acknowledging this, and accepting this, we can CHANGE the laws we got wrong. TOGETHER we can move the arrow toward right. So many times we have failed, but we continue to push. We are constantly looking for the missing puzzle piece or the right combination of moves that will bring us closer to the goal.
Maybe not this life, but the next. Each life moves us closer to the Princess. Remembering what we got wrong last run, we can make adjustments and dodge the obstacles we hit last time. Progress has been made. Knowledge has been obtained. We must now apply that knowledge and complete the journey.
Ultimately, life is like Kaizo Mario. A person’s inner light shines brightest when they hit the kaizo block and fall into the pit. Do you try it again? Or do you skip it?
The Princess is waiting….