I was born in 1981, so it goes without saying that the NES was a significant part of my childhood. The original Super Mario Bros. was my gateway drug (of sorts) in to the world of gaming, which spawned an obsession with Super Mario Bros. 2 USA, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and Yoshi’s Island as I continued to grow up. Luigi still remains my absolute favorite game character, and I’ll forever retain the unpopular opinion of favoring Super Mario Bros. 2 over the rest of the NES trilogy. Fight me.
However, when Super Mario Maker was announced, I wasn’t part of the crowd who leapt at the opportunity to craft their own Mario levels. This felt like blasphemy as a Nintendo fan.
I just don’t get enjoyment from creating my own games, and grow tired of things like Minecraft or Terraria — games that require you to make your own fun — pretty fast. A new Mario is always exciting to me, but… now I have to make my own levels instead of having the geniuses at Nintendo do it for me? Nah, I was good.
Some time has passed, and since its launch I’ve found myself enjoying Patrick Klepek’s Mario Maker Mornings stream more and more with each viewing, alongside his rivalry with Giant Bomb’s Dan Ryckert. Turns out crafting levels wasn’t the sole appeal of the game, but rather a yin to the yang of experiencing the creations of the community as a whole.
I almost bought Super Mario Maker on a whim a few weeks back, but decided to give it a rental through GameFly instead with the hopes of enjoying it enough that I’d just return it and buy the damn thing, along with a few amiibo for costumes. It’s a slippery slope.
But today is the day. Super Mario Maker has finally arrived at my doorstep, and here I am staring at the golden splash screen ready to dive in. Well, I’m apprehensive at the thought of possibly loathing it, but that’s just the pessimist in me. It happens to the best of us.
I’m not sure what to expect, really. However, I’m going in with an open mind, as far as self-crafted levels are concerned. If you have any neat levels you’ve created, or maybe have a favorite or two, drop the ID# down in the comment section so I can check it out. Feel free to drop me a few tips as well.
What are your thoughts on Super Mario Maker?
2 thoughts on “LTTP: Super Mario Maker”
It’s super fun. I eventually have to get back into it. I began porting all of the stages from The Great Giana Sisters into Mario Maker. With mostly great results.
But making your own original stuff is great too. You really have to approach it as a level editor. Just like you would approach something like Build, Unreal Engine, IDTech, Source, etc. This is an engine. My only gripe is you don’t get every tool right away, but then again, it tries to ease you into level design.
And so you want to start out making your definitive beginning, and ending to every stage. Then filling in the blanks. I find it helps to frequently play spots right after I create them to see if it’s coming together the way I want. You can also have friends, play your levels before you upload them to the world. You also want to decide how difficult you want your stage to be. Do you want to make something insane that only the top 10 Mario players in the world can beat? Do you want to make something anyone can win? Do you want to make it challenging, but not frustrating? These are all important questions to ask yourself. If you’re really good, you can even make your levels full of puzzles using the mechanics. You can set up rules. You can (to a certain extent) create your own game in the editor.
Honestly, I think it is a must-own game if you look at it as a utility rather than a game. At least if you’ve ever considered trying to learn how to make your own video games. It’s a simple utility. But it does get you thinking about game design a lot. At least enough for you to take with you into other editors. And yeah, it does have some challenge maps for those who want it to be a game. But it’s a utility in the guise of a game. It’s like Nintendo was making a Platformer stage design Trojan Horse. I think you might enjoy it.
There’s definitely a lot of potential here as an entry level toolset that can be used in insanely creative ways, much like Minecraft. I don’t think I have the devotion to create great (or even good) level designs, but so far I’m having a ton of fun playing what others have built. That alone is worth the price of admission, I think. I can still see me sitting down from time to time to kick back, have a beer, and work on a level or two, and I just see that as icing on the proverbial cake.