Since I first played Super Mario Bros on the NES, (my second console that would lead to an obsession and lead me to lose interest and unplug my Commodore 64.. only to desperately want to own a C64 again 24 years later) I always dreamed of levels that could be added to what was already a great platformer, and making levels for it. Since then, I fantasised about becoming a game developer for many years to come, (school never gave me the guidance or path I wanted to take, and also explain the importance of my hatred of Maths would have to do with physics in video game development). Which regrettably, I never fulfilled.
24 years on, the Mario franchise is an unbelievable 30 years old. Spanning over 20 games on more than 11 platforms. Mario, is undoubtfully Nintendo’s most recognised mascot.
September 2015 brought my wildest childhood dreams to life in ways far greater than I could have imagined possible. Nintendo hands the level creator to YOU, the player. It has been a painful wait over nearly 3 years since the announcement of my most anticipated game ever. But the updates, extra features and content have been so worth holding out for.
Super Mario Maker allows you to create your OWN levels of Super Mario, on not just 1, but 4 Super Mario games
Super Mario Bros
Super Mario Bros 3
Super Mario World
New Super Mario Bros
This is not exactly new news to anyone that has followed the progress and updates from Nintendo on Super Mario Maker, but perhaps the most mind-blowing feature is that you can switch between the 4 Level modes at the push of a button (or 3). Just take a moment to think about that. It’s incredible!
So far there is no sign of Super Mario Bros 2 being added to the concoction (and it’s something I’m desperate to see added), but I wouldn’t rule it out with DLC being a possible gateway in the future.
So what we have with Super Mario Maker is a tool Palette full of wonderful items.
Originally it’s purpose was an interface tool for Shigeru Miyaoto and Takashi Tezuka. Preloaded with items, they could quickly select an Icon they required to make the level creation process quicker and easier for themselves. They quickly realised what they had created could be a tool, Anyone could use, to make a Super Mario game… So that’s exactly what they did!
You start with a blank canvas level and you need to fill it. The world is your oyster. (making this a haven for Trolling users with extremely difficult, but intuitive and ingenious levels. But worry not! Not every level will be a gargantuan task, and there are level ratings to suit your pace ). Taking full advantage of the Wii U pad’s touchscreen and stylus, you touch and drag items to position on screen. These items can be made bigger, wider and taller. You can double items up and give special abilities to them. While touching and dragging an item, be sure to give it a shake by rubbing the stylus back and forth on the touchscreen. There are many surprises and variants to be discovered for most items. Some items keep on giving the more times you shake them.
Some items (enemies included) available in the tool palette were not present in some of the games, though very cleverly they have been reimagined to how they would have looked on the games, had they been in them.. at the time.
You will find a lot of items can be mixed, and playing around will lead to a wide variety of discovery. For example without giving the game away too much, dropping a mushroom on an enemy will make them grow, just like it would with Mario. Enemies can also be dropped into question boxes to trick your friends and family when they attempt your creations.
On the level creation, you will be able to choose from not only your chosen Mario game mode, but also level mode. Whether it be the standard land-based levels, to underground, underwater, Lava levels, ghost house, airship and so on.
Throughout level design, you can test the levels. This is handy for calculating jumps and avoidance of obstacles. Mario will be replicated many times as a ghost image so you can perfect your landings, or alternatively, give players a feeling of doom with near misses. Again alternatively you can also encourage players to blind jump/leap of faith onto hidden platforms.
The key to making your masterpiece level… will be down to practice, discovery, and playing other users levels for inspiration. Your first level is unlikely to represent anything near what you always imagined it being, but don’t be deterred and don’t be too harsh on yourself.
One huge thing I was hoping for was the world map level hub of each game, and World hub creation tool, to actually add your levels too.
While this does exist, it’s nothing like I had hoped. There is nothing more satisfying on the games than roaming the world maps avoiding or facing sub-bosses and going into bonus areas.
Mario 10 challenge and the 100 challenges are interesting options. As the name suggests, you have the option of 10 or 100 lives to try to beat a set of levels.
Amiibo’s being a function for unlocks on many Wii U games now, makes an exception to Super Mario Maker. On my last count, over 70 Amiibo characters have compatibility to Super Mario Maker. That is a lot of fun and surprise to be had. Be sure to do your home work and see if any Amiibo can do more than one function.
Amiibo collector’s cards
Amiibo Collector’s cards, is a fantastic idea for a few reasons. Like many collectables, the price varies, depending on, age of the item, the amount of each figure in this case, is made. And the popularity. These reasons can rocket the price of a figure as they become highly sought after for collectors.
Quite possibly as a clever retalliation to an aftermarket Amiibo clone, (which is a common occurence in the video game market when unknown companies want to cash-in on the next big thing) that has a pretty hefty price tag nearly equalling nearly the cost of 4 regular Amiibo, the Amiibo Collector’s cards were announced. They will be released in waves similar to it’s brother version and will include uncommon to rare amiibo figures, as well as the more common.
The Amiibo cards will still have the NFC fucntion that is found in the figures. They will not only save you a good few pounds on even the most affordable Amiibo’s but will create a new wave of card collecting again. They will look great in card holder walletts, while keeping their condition and all Amiibo verions will be to hand. I also predict that well kept Amiibo card collections will grow in value in the next couple of decades.