Super Mario Maker players finish million-level challenge, clear game before server shutdown

Mario games and community-created challenge runs go back decades but most aren’t being run against a ticking clock. After multiple years of coordination, however, a group of Super Mario Maker players has completed the ultimate test—clearing every unbeaten level before the game’s servers shut down—with one hiccup.

Known as Team 0%, the group started in 2017 trying to clear the 13,000 uncleared levels that were uploaded within the first year of Super Mario Maker’s Wii U release in September 2015. That goal was accomplished in less than a year and the team had grown substantially over that period as they continued to truck along and clear as many levels as possible while players were still creating new ones.

The cleared look for Team 0%'s Mario Maker tracker.
A game with no end at launch has now been beaten. Screenshot by Dot Esports

In a March 19 interview with ArsTechnica, Team 0% admin Black60Dragon noted that Nintendo shutting down the ability to make new Mario Maker levels on Wii U in March 2021 changed things drastically for the group, as it made clearing the game’s remaining uncleared levels an achievable goal with a static endpoint.

According to an IGN interview with the team, over 10.5 million uncleared levels were hosted on the Mario Maker servers at the time of Nintendo shutting down submissions in March 2021, with an estimated total of over 68.6 million total levels having been in the game at one time—with many having been previously cleared or deleted. With that number in mind, and guidelines on what counted as a completable level in place, Team 0% set out on a mission to clear every single level in Mario Maker on Wii U. Yes, all of them.

That mission had a massive wrench thrown into it earlier this year when Nintendo announced it would be shutting down the online servers for Wii U and 3DS systems on April 8, putting a deadline in front of the team if they actually wanted to reach their goal. But instead of being intimidated, the team redoubled its efforts, bolstered by an influx of new participants all working to beat the clock.

It was a mad dash to the finish line but, on March 15, team member kazeihinn cleared “The Last Dance” to finally end Team 0%’s completionist pursuit—or at least that is the case now. At the time, there was still one hurdle left—a now infamous level called “Trimming The Herbs” was the final course without a clear on the board.

Player after player threw their all at Trimming The Herbs and, slowly, a dent was made into the incredibly difficult level. But after almost a week of the entirety of Team 0% focusing on a single course, it still stood strong and hope was dwindling. That is, until the creator of the course Ahoyo came clean, revealing that his six-year-old video showcasing a Trimming The Herbs clear in just 25 seconds was actually TAS (tool-assisted) and not legitimate for the purposes of the team’s goals

For reference, for a creator to upload a level in Mario Maker, they must first complete the level themselves as is constructed in the level editor. TAS involves the use of modded or hacked options that can allow for things like rapid frame-perfect inputs that players are incredibly unlikely to pull off in succession, and as such, those levels are viewed as illegitimate and unfair.

According to Ahoyo, he designed the level to be “unreasonably difficult and to cause a ruckus” so that he could reveal TAS did exist for Mario Maker back in 2017. Things spiraled, however, as he never revealed the truth and seven years later the “time bomb finally blew” on a troll attempt that was never meant to get this far. “I’m sorry for the drama it caused with the community and I regret the ordeal, but at least it was interesting,” Ahoyo said on X (formerly Twitter). “However, in the end, the truth matters most. Congratulations to Team 0% for their well-earned achievement!”

With that announcement made, Team 0% and the wider Super Mario Maker community celebrated their victory at having cleared every eligible level in the game just over two weeks before the Wii U goes offline for good and all of those created courses are lost to time. But that doesn’t mean the grind is going to stop here. 

The team is still focused on performing the same task with Super Mario Maker 2 on the Switch and a chunk of dedicated players will spend every waking moment up until the Wii U servers go down on April 8 trying to do the near-impossible and trim those herbs to reach the glorious 101 percent clear rate. “Even though Trimming The Herbs was TAS’d, some people will still keep grinding it for eternal glory until the service ends,” Team 0% said. “Please keep supporting their dedication!”

You can view a bulk of how Team 0% tackled this challenge dating back to early 2023 on a custom website that breaks down when certain milestones were hit, which players contributed the most clears, and more.

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