UPDATE: These two goofballs just raised over $11,000 for The American Heart Association. After four livestreams, more than 10 hours of abuse, and hundreds and hundreds of deaths, Patrick finally completed The Ryckoning. Most fans were actually watching two live streams last night– Patrick’s final attempts at the horrific level and Dan, watching Patrick come agonizingly close to the end then cackling with maniacal glee each time he failed.

I know Super Mario Maker is all about being creative, but who could have predicted it being used like this? Patrick’s chosen charity has received a huge grant on behalf of his, Dan’s, and Super Mario Maker’s fans around the world. Meanwhile, Dan, who had way more fun torturing his friend than anyone ever should, signed off last night with this chilling tweet:


Of course it can! These two go way back, both professionally and personally. There’s no bad blood here, just haphazard, nightmarish level design and a strong will that’s unable to back down from a challenge.

Over the past couple of weeks, Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb and Patrick Klepek of Kotaku – both longtime veterans of games media – have become locked in an escalating battle of endurance. The battlefield? Super Mario Maker.

It started when Dan Ryckert and the Giant Bomb crew sat down to create a Super Mario Maker stage in a fairly unconventional way. During a live stream, with Dan at the helm, the team essentially crowdsourced a level. Working almost entirely from the live chat channel, the goal was to incorporate as many random and ridiculous ideas into a level as possible. Dan, with commendable confidence and skill, jammed the creation full of some of the most malicious, yet manageable obstacles imaginable. After all, he would have to complete the level himself to get it online.

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Meanwhile, Patrick Klepek had his own Super Mario Maker arrangement, a daily live stream he calls Mario Maker Mornings. Having both a weakness for and mastery of extreme difficulty curves, Patrick caught wind of this Giant a-Bomb-ination – lovingly crafted by his former coworkers – and couldn’t resist. In a very entertaining two hour morning stream, Patrick dissected the nefarious level, piece by piece, and finally bested it. After smashing a beer can on his head and dancing around the room, he issued an informal challenge (of sorts) over Miiverse to Mr. Ryckert, his soon-to-be arch nemesis.

Thus the feud began.

Dan simply could not stand for Patrick’s deserved but dramatic celebration. In this increasingly official standoff, fueled by adoring (and antagonistic) fans and social media, both parties began to see where things were heading. Before long, the Giant Bomb crew held a second audience-powered creation stream, this time with the express purpose of breaking Mr. Klepek’s can-and-will-do attitude. But as the streams themselves will attest, this was all still in good fun.

Two more hour long morning streams later, Patrick once again asserted his dominance over Dan and the Giant Bomb community’s second monstrosity. After another a.m. beer and a now-signature happy dance, Patrick issued a much more direct ultimatum to Mr. Ryckert: “You cannot beat me”. He made it clear that he would not be deterred by any challenge that Dan could concoct, and swore to conquer any Mario level he could upload. Four hours and hundreds of deaths into this thing, you’ve got to admire that determination.

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With all of these threats, challenges, and attempts at soul crushing, you might start to think that things would take a sour turn. Well, as of today, things did take a turn… for the charitable. Not only is this twisted duel of endurance and wits now fully acknowledged on both sides, but Dan and Patrick have decided to raise the stakes a bit. The two have mutually started a gofundme campaign, benefitting charity, in which Patrick will face off against a third level of Dan’s sinister design, this time crafted alone and in secret. It’s a friendly battle of determination versus cunning cruelty, and the outcome should be epic.

This whole unscripted saga has been the best kind of tense and downright hilarious to watch. If you’re familiar with the guys involved, you’re probably already up to speed; but even if you aren’t, there’s plenty to take away from it. Super Mario Maker is something truly special, a game that fosters limitless creativity and never ending fun. And this entire story is one simple anecdote of what it’s capable of.

I should warn you that the live streams that comprise this conflict contain some cursing, but they’re an absolute blast to watch. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann has documented the events, video archives included, here.

The gofundme campaign currently sits at $2,475 of a $500 original goal.

And now, we wait…

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Written by Brittin Shauers

Brittin literally grew up with Link, Mario and Samus. These three characters and their worlds collectively capture everything that he loves about video games.

Brittin Shauers