In 1985 Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. That single game would not only define the home console market, but also change the landscape of video games for all time. A simple enough premise: run from left to right, jump over obstacles, and save the princess. What took it from just another platformer to a revolution was the level design. Carefully crafted worlds that took the highest skill and most diligent minds to master. Now, Nintendo is putting those same tools in our hands for the first time and letting us create our own Mario adventure, and changing the world again in the process.
The 2015 Electronics Entertainment Expo was held June 9th through June 14. If you are unfamiliar with E3, it’s a trade show for video game publishers and developers. This year, there were a ton of new games shown for fall 2015 and beyond. Over the new few weeks I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite games shown at the show.
Super Mario Maker was announced at the E3 conference in 2014 under the name “Mario Maker.” The game, at it’s core, is a creative tool that allows you to build your own Super Mario Bros. 2D levels. Once they are built, you have the ability to connect and share them online as well as download and test your skills against other player’s levels. This create and share idea isn’t new, in fact, we have seen it for years in the likes of Little Big Planet, Modnation Racers, and Disney Infinity…just to name a few. But, just like Super Mario Bros. for the platforming genre, Super Mario Maker hopes to raise the bar and set a new standard for what creation games can and will be in the future.
So what makes it so great. Well, if you watched the Nintendo World Championships this year you already know. But the game allows you access to everything you could imagine from the Mario World. Using the Wii U’s tablet controller, you are able to drag and drop items onto your level. Then, with the press of button, you are able to jump into the level and test the edits that you have just made. Not only do you get access to the various Mario assets, but you also access various art styles for the series. Again, at the press of a button, you can jump between classic Mario art, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros U art. Each one is distinct and brings with it the features of that generation of Mario. For example, if you are playing in the New SMB art style, you will have access to wall jumps and triple jumps.
The game just bleeds style. From shaking turtle shells to putting wings on Hammer Brothers to making Goomba’s swim, the game is filled with everything that you never knew you wanted in a Mario game. You also get Amiibo support and by scanning specific Amiibo you will be able to use that character’s 2D pixel art as playable in the levels. There is plenty more to say about the game but it can be summed up by saying that this is Nintendo at it’s best. Nintendo pours their heart and soul into projects like this and in the 30 plus years I’ve been playing Nintendo games they never fail to ignite my imagination far beyond what I thought possible. Super Mario Makes is poised to not only be a game of the year contender in 2015, but probably the best game in the Nintendo Wii U’s library. Best of all, it’s out on September 11th, so we don’t have much longer to wait.
Keep an eye on the site around release. We will be doing some written features on what the game has under the hood as well as plenty of Let’s Play videos to share.