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How it all began
Sometime in 2007, a group of goons from Something Awful decided to tackle a game called Kaizo Mario World (a.k.a. “Asshole Mario World”). This group of goons consisted of three people – Proton Jon, Psychedelic Eyeball, and Wugga – and they decided to take turns playing through the stages. They suffered greatly, and their fellow goons were greatly amused. Eventually, Proton Jon’s turn to play Special Stage 2 came up… and when he uploaded the resulting video to YouTube, he was catapulted to stardom.
Kaizo Mario World itself (the name literally meaning “Hacked Mario World”) was designed by an unknown Japanese gamer and ROM-hack designer with the intent of challenging a friend of his to complete the hellishly difficult levels. Ironically, it was ProtonJon and his team’s hilarious videos which brought Kaizo Mario World into the limelight; without the Something Awful goons, the hack probably would have served its purpose and then languished in obscurity. As Kaizo Mario World‘s popularity took off, ludicrous difficulty and completely unfair level design became a huge fad among Super Mario World hack designers, and dozens of people were playing Kaizo Mario World and other hacks (many of which put up videos of their own; indeed, it would not be an understatement to say that Proton Jon was the driving influence behind the Let’s Play phenomenon gaining a foothold on YouTube). The “Move faster Pokey” moment in particular received numerous spinoffs, including Sparta remixes and more custom levels involving using Mario’s spin jump (or similar techniques) to have Pokeys or similar enemies carry the player across hazards.
Examples and Spin-offs
Proton Jon’s reaction
In the wake of the original video series’ success, Proton Jon went on to play numerous other Super Mario World hacks, many of them sent in by his ever-growing fanbase. Many of these fanhacks were outrageously difficult, much in the same vein as Kaizo Mario World (which found itself being a huge inspiration to game modders once Proton Jon and his team brought it into the limelight). However, Proton Jon gradually grew weary of the constant barrage of invisible blocks, end-of-level death traps, and other completely unfair tricks he was faced with in fan-submitted (and frequently fan-designed) hacks, and eventually decided to put playthroughs of Super Mario World hacks on indefinite hiatus to focus on other Let’s Plays (including those with his new LP team, the Runaway Guys).
Today, Proton Jon finds the “Move Faster Pokey!” meme to be tired and irksome, and dislikes it being brought up. Needless to say, this spurs people who he collaborates with (most notably Chuggaaconroy, fellow member of the Runaway Guys) to bring it up on a regular basis, much to his chagrin (and his viewers’ amusement).
“Move faster Pokey!” is by far the most famous quote from ProtonJon’s playthrough of Kaizo Mario World, but it isn’t his only quote from the playthrough of Special Stage 2 (let alone the entire game) to have become memetic. Other prominent lines include:
“100 seconds?!?”: This is ProtonJon’s reaction to entering Special Stage 2 and finding out that it has an obscenely short time limit, forcing the player to go through the entire series of obstacles – including the Pokey moving across the pit and the Chargin’ Chuck immediately afterwards – in less than, well, 100 seconds. This super-short time limit is the most likely reason for ProtonJon’s impatience when dealing with the aforementioned “time sink” obstacles, such as the Pokey and the Chargin’ Chuck.
“Jump, Megaman! Jump!”: Shortly after getting across the Muncher pit via the Pokey, the player comes across a Chargin’ Chuck in a small enclosure that is programmed to jump up into the air once Mario approaches. The layout of the level prevents this Chargin’ Chuck from being jumped over; the only way to pass it is to goad it into jumping (which usually requires Mario to be jumping himself) and then quickly dash underneath before it lands. This is much easier said than done, as ProtonJon learned the hard way; it took him over 10 tries to bypass this Chuck, and he became less and less coherent with each attempt.