by Matthew Thompson (Images-Nintendo, this game’s E3 site can be found here)
(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)
Who wouldn’t want to try to make their own Mario levels? I know I would and have wanted to for some time. Nintendo will be giving us the chance to do just that with its new Mario Maker game for the Wii U. The demo shown at E3 looked pretty stripped down, but it was enough to make me salivate at the possibilities. The Wii U’s gamepad is such a perfect fit for this and looks to make this as user-friendly as possible. I love some of the small touches available here like the ability to switch into play test mode at the touch of a button or how that play session can be turned into a ghost of sorts to make it easier to fine-tune your level layouts. The demo even allowed for a quick switch between the retro graphics of the original Super Mario Bros. or the HD look of NSMB U and the game’s producer indicated that there will be more to choose from in the full game.
And that is kind of what excites me the most about this, all the options it could have. Imagine a game that let us choose not only which artstyle to use for a level, but which game’s power-ups or abilities. Let us mix and match allowing for wall-bouncing in a Super Mario Bros. 3 artstyle. Let us create our own overworld maps. Give us a music editor. I’m not expecting all of this in Mario Maker. They should first nail the creation aspects and the ability to share them with other gamers. But there is always a sequel or expansion to add some of these other ideas in and I hope Nintendo isn’t afraid to go all out eventually.
On top of being able to try my hand at creating levels in my favorite 2D platforming series of all-time, this will also give me access to some new Mario levels whenever I want. Even if I never take to the editor whenever I have the itch for some new 2D Mario action, I can try my hand at some of the community’s creations. There will undoubtably be some talented people using this game for all its worth and giving others new challenges to take on all the time.
I know people have been making their own Mario levels for years on PC, but the idea of Nintendo embracing the idea and putting it on the Wii U (which seems like an excellent fit for it) is an exciting prospect. I just hope they don’t hold back too much and allow the kind of freedom that a Mario Maker really needs to excel.