THE INCREDIBLE PACO is a 30-year-old Mario YouTuber and Twitch streamer from Canada. On his videos, he displays exceptional skills and continues to improve after every video he posts. He has completed some of the harshest levels in Mario Maker history, including Ryukahr's insane "Commander-in-Chief (DTFP 5)", which required precision jumps, including triple dunking Bowser Jr. between towers of spike. And that's not an easy thing to do.
PACO was incredible enough to reply to an email I sent him earlier, answering some questions about himself and the Mario gaming in general.
How long have you been gaming?
PACO: Started gaming when I was 5 and my first gaming experience was with Mario on the NES and then shortly after, I progressed to SMB3. I have both of the original cartridges and still play them sometimes on my modded Hi Def NES.
Besides streaming and YouTube, what else do you do?
PACO: I'm a huge basketball fan. I keep up with the NBA and have been a diehard Raptors fan since Vince Carter entered the league. I'm also an avid reader and binge books.
What are your top five games?
PACO: 1. Unreal Tournament 99 2. Super Mario Maker 3. Donkey Kong Country 2 - Diddy's Kong Quest 4. Super Mario World 5. Super Mario Bros 3
Both 1 and 2 are largely propped up by user made content however I believe that DKC2 is the most polished and well put together single player game. It's perfection.
You started posting let's play videos in 2013, then slowly started focusing on Mario Maker. Why?
PACO: I used to run a UT99 community and would occasionally shoutcast games with mrgrins. He's the guy who inspired me to go out and buy a webcam and start my stream up. Other than UT99, most games that I got into had limited replayability and I'm the type of gamer that likes having a solid and reliable game to fall back on.
I saw some Mario Maker streams on Twitch and immediately fell in love with the concept. Within a week I had picked up a Wii U and I officially started my journey into the masochistic world of Mario Maker. The game and concept are both really awesome but it's the community that really makes Mario special. Really nice content creators with a great audience.
Can't speak for anyone else, but when I learned when you can do all these crazy techs in Mario, I'm surprised that it's one of the most, if not the most, technical game ever. Did you have a similar reaction?
PACO: When I bought the game, I had no idea how many neat tricks were actually possible. I was aware of shell jumps but had no idea about midairs (and all of their variations) and was particularly clueless about NSMB tech. I stopped playing Mario after SMW so New Super Mario Bros levels were a big adjustment for me.
I enjoy a lot of tech but some of it goes from fun to tedious. NSMB has so many movement options so it obviously has the most tech and it's one of the reasons why I'm less enamored by NSMB compared to its counterparts.
What does it take to become a serious Mario player? Especially for those interested in diving into romhacks? I've heard stories where people try to complete a level for over eight hours. That's some dedication.
PACO: The thing about Mario is it's like anything in life. If you want to get good, you need to practice and put in reps. There is a huge skill curve and players have been pushing limits for a while. One of the ways that I taught myself how to play was by building levels with tricks that I wanted to learn. I always advise new players to try a similar approach.
I've certainly spent more than eight hours on some levels. It's a lot but I don't consider eight hours to be an insane amount. Some people spend a lot more trying to upload their levels or even just trying to beat levels.
Some MM levels and all romhacks are brutal and masochistic. Why go through them? There are thousands of levels that are less trolly and fun. Why risk your sanity?
PACO: I think it all depends. There is a difference between a well- made hard/trolly level and a poorly made hard/trolly level. It's easy to distinguish what is skillful and challenging versus what is made artificially difficult/annoying. If I'm picking levels, I'm not wasting time on levels that are hard for the sake of being hard but I have no problem dropping a few hours on a well-made brutally hard level.
I do play a lot of 100 Mario though which is six randomly generated "Super Expert" levels that I'm given 100 lives to complete. Most of these levels are terrible but the audience enjoys watching the player suffer and most players enjoy their audience so it's a mostly happy and reciprocal relationship.
JON to readers: To clarify what PACO said, the six randomly generated "Super Expert" levels are six levels randomly selected from the millions of uploaded levels created by other people.
What's your favorite romhack?
PACO: I currently have the WR on Kamikaze Bros 3. It's an SMB3 romhack made by BarbarousKing. It's really well made and a lot of fun to run. The jumps are difficult but not tedious and the length/pacing is really good.
Any level creators you recommend that deserves more love?
PACO: There are so many cool creators and I spend a lot of my time trying to find underrated ones. Freakin HA probably makes my favorite levels followed by HaeFly, DANtheTANK, wilsonpenn and Sumire. They all have unique styles.
Advice to aspiring Mario streamers?
PACO: Don't worry about being bad, everyone has to start somewhere. I always tell people that even good players will struggle with hard levels so don't stress about the struggle and just focus on getting to the finish line.