The Marquis de Sade and New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Just last week, I beat Bowser in New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the second time. For me, it was a huge accomplishment to beat King Koopa himself even just the once—I’ve never beaten a Mario game before this one, after all. But, to beat him a second time, that was amazing.

What was not so amazing was why I needed to beat him a second time in the first place. You see, there are these star coins spread throughout the eight worlds of the game. And while it’s easy enough to pick up some of them as you’re going along, there are others that seem far too hard to bother with, and others still that are hidden away in places you’d never think to look. So, when I beat the game the first time, I made no effort to be a star coin completist. I got what I could, and ignored the rest.

Big mistake.

You see, after you beat Bowser at the end of World 8, the princess you’ve just rescued alludes to a mysterious rainbow world that she saw while in captivity. And you’re all like, “Wow, an extra world!” But then you get there, and you can’t play any of the levels. Why? Because you haven’t picked up all the star coins.


So, I set about to beat the game again with the sole purpose of collecting the star coins. Along the way, I figured out how to earn 99 1-Ups in World 2-3, and I had myself a blast (yelling at the screen only occasionally) beating the levels of World 9 as they became available to me. Then came World 9-7, and oh how I cursed the name of Shigeru Miyamoto.

Let me just say this, right here and right now: World 9-7 of New Super Mario Bros. Wii was designed by the Marquis de Sade. They brought that motherfrakker back from the dead, asked him to create the most sadistic scenario he could possibly envision, and then laughed maniacally as they coded that special bit of hell into existence. Fire-breathing pirana plants, unkillable black snapper thingies trapped in ice, a coin located between two ice walls with no platform beneath it—this was ridiculous!

What made it all even worse was this video. Yes, I know that these Super Skills videos are meant to show us what’s possible, not what’s probable. But, man: just watch the video after having played this level a few (hundred) times and try not to put a fist through whatever screen you’re watching it on. That video is the icing on the cake of torture that Nintendo has shoved into our poor, unsuspecting faces.

I did eventually, finally beat the level by starting off with a star power-up every time and focusing on a single star coin each time through. But, man, it literally took a hundred or more tries.

So, all of this prompts me to ask you, my friendly neighborhood Fivers, what is the most ridiculously challenging video game (or video game level) you’ve ever played? Drop a note in the comments, and let us know.