Kaizo Mario is a unique type of Mario game. Instead of having the player play through progressively harder challenges at a manageable pace, Kaizo Mario is designed to get your hopes up then have them come crashing down, and many people enjoy these challenges.
The Kaizo genre is split into two kinds, but both are usually ROMhacks of Super Mario World. There is the True Kaizo, which are levels so difficult that they can only be beaten through the use of tools that allow the player to enter in keypresses one frame at a time. These games usually rely on the use of glitches and humanly impossible tricks to remain difficult despite the player having complete control of Mario through the use of these tools. The other kind, which we’ll be focusing on, is known as a Kaizo Lite. These games are humanly possible and feature immensely difficult platforming. If you’d like to see just how difficult it is, here is a run of Grand Poo World 2 at SGDQ2019, and is one of the most well known and highly regarded Kaizo games.
The difficulty of these games has created an amazing and niche community where its members create new levels and games designed to frustrate and infuriate other members of the community, sometimes making games named after another member. One of these methods is achieved through the “Kaizo Block”, a block that is invisible until you hit it, and usually hidden in the air for jumps that you are forced to commit to. After finding the Kaizo Block, players will need to memorise its position and figure out an alternative way to cross the jump.
The genre and the community has a strong theme of never giving up. It’s expected that you will die dozens of times to get that first jump right, and the first level alone may be a sink of hundreds of deaths. Although, the progress that is gained through experience and practise creates an indescribable high sense of accomplishment. What was once an insurmountable hill slowly becomes manageable, and what was once just manageable soon becomes easy. Players of Kaizo games expect this challenge and they hunger for it, pushing through failure after failure to eventually and proudly say that they have achieved the impossible.
When it comes to gaming communities, few come close to the positivity and camaraderie present in the Kaizo Mario community. If you would like to research more into the Kaizo Community, streamers such as GrandPooBear, BarbarousKing and PangeaPanga are excellent personalities and often play or design Kaizo games.