One of the coolest things I saw from Nintendo’s E3 digital… tree-house… conference… thing was Mario Maker. As the name implies, this game is kind of a Mario by way of LEGO whereby you can create your own SMB levels- essentially, a big tool set for customizing Mario boards. It might not seem like a big deal but I think it’ll be one of the more important things we’ve seen from Nintendo.
I want Mario Maker to be a huge hit.
Listen, we’re not all awesome at coding or designing. Mario Maker allows us to basically role-play as legendary creators such as Shigeru Miyamoto or Makoto Kano. What kid from the 80’s hasn’t sat down with a sheet of graphing paper and pen, outlining levels for their favorite games’ heroes to explore? I know I have and still do. We’ve all probably dabbled around with some daydream designing. This is really the first Nintendo has made something like this since basically Excitebike. I know I’m gushing over this, but I don’t care because I’m really excited about making my own Mario levels.
The trailer makes creating look both simple and fun. Click and drag mechanics are perfect for sketching out on the gamepad and instant playtesting makes creating less of a chore when fine tuning. It’s such an elegant way to have players of all talents be able to make levels quickly.
Also there’s nods to Mario Paint and that’s just damn cool. It was a blink and you miss it shot but I spied the familiar gloved hand and flyswatter that was featured in one of Paint‘s minigames. It’s a nice callback and who knows, maybe we’ll see of these features emerge with the final product.
Of course, creating levels will be the meat of the game. Side note: whenever gamers are given a creation kit of any kind the go-to design is almost always Level 1-1. So what is the protocol here? Do we simply go with remaking the iconic level? Will the universe explode if we don’t? Probably. Anyways… some truly nifty builds will eventually come out from the community. I’m hoping that with social hooks – sharing, voting, etc. – the cream will rise and maybe even get some build of the week recognition not just from the pool of users but even from Nintendo.
Perhaps I’m reaching too far with this one but imagine if Mario Maker is massively successful. It would incentivize Nintendo to release updates to include more of the Mario series, such as the Mario 2‘s grabbing mechanic or Mario World‘s physics. Maybe they’ll even open up some source code to allow for some really zany things? Of course, what I really want is for these tools to take root into other titles completely. I want a Zelda Maker. I want a Metroid Maker! My god do I want a Metroid tile set!
The possibilities are virtually endless and with Nintendo’s rich library there isn’t any shortage of material. Hey, maybe Capcom will get bought up by Nintendo and we’ll finally get Megaman Universe?