Nintendo will delete Mario Maker levels from its servers for any number of reasons, be they glitches, inappropriate content, or unspecified offenses that leave creators baffled. This practice can be frustrating, but it was previously confined to levels that had already been uploaded and thus were obviously under Nintendo’s purview. It’s recently become clear, however, that even offline levels aren’t safe in Mario Maker 2.
While watching the latest Ceave Gaming video, I was directed to instructions on how to create “black holes” in Mario Maker 2. Black holes—glitched-out areas where items can be layered atop each other and enemies can be cloned endlessly—were originally discovered in the first Mario Maker, but were thought to have been removed in the sequel until a new setup was found last week by Icay, another popular figure in the Mario Maker community.
In just a few short steps, anyone can create a black hole in Mario Maker 2, giving them the ability to craft multi-spoked fire bar traps, crazy spinning arrows, and more designs that aren’t possible without this reality-bending glitch. The Mario Maker 2 black hole setup requires a trick that allows creators to go over the sprite limit, the ceiling that keeps players from filling levels to the brim with enemies and obstacles and generally making a mess of things. And when you bypass the sprite limit, save the level, and then go back to the Coursebot menu of your offline courses this happens:
Yep, Mario Maker 2 somehow detects “corrupt data” and outright deletes your level, with no way of recovering any of the work you’ve put into it. While this isn’t a big deal if what you were doing was deliberately trying to glitch the game out, it’s incredibly easy to bypass the sprite limit inadvertently by simply copying and pasting an item or enemy when you’re already near the threshold. I immediately imagined someone putting hours of work into a level, unknowingly skirting the maximum sprite usage, and tragically watching their creation go up in smoke.
A quick search of r/MarioMaker shows that several people have already run into the “corrupt data” message, one of whom lost a course they had already spent two hours developing. Evidently, the error can also pop up during saving and uploading, allowing the creator to go back and remove any offending sprites, but in the event that Mario Maker 2 allows the level to be saved, it will be lost by the time you return to the Coursebot screen. One would assume that any levels that are, for all intents and purposes, offline would be safe from such regulations, but this situation shows that courses are still moderated even if they haven’t reached Nintendo’s servers yet.
Similarly imperiled are levels that have been downloaded. Kotaku editor Chris Kohler pointed out that courses he has downloaded from online for play offline have been deleted from his Switch once they are removed from the Mario Maker 2 servers. In the original game, players would often download levels that utilised glitches in order to keep playing them offline after Nintendo inevitably vaporised them. But Nintendo never sleeps, and now it won’t let deleted levels live anywhere.
Mario Maker 2 is an incredible game that somehow improves upon even the seemingly unlimited creativity of the original. It’s important to remember, however, that what you think is offline isn’t truly safe from the ever-watching gaze of Nintendo. Like Sauron, they see you wearing the One Ring that is the unintended glitch behaviour of the updated Mario Maker engine, and have implemented automated systems that will squash bypasses, no matter how unintentional. Keep your levels secret, keep your levels safe, because there’s no telling when deletion will strike.