By Henry Lopez
It is four in the morning on a Saturday and something fantastic is happening. Something that has not happened in years. I and my two older brothers are glued to TV taking turns at playing some of the insanely creative stages that people have created in Nintendo’s latest masterpiece Super Mario Maker. At my house we have not had this much collective fun with a Mario game since the release of the phenomenal Super Mario Galaxy eight years ago. By handing over the tools of stage creation to the players Nintendo has rejuvenated their most beloved franchise.
Given that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Mario franchise it definitely no coincidence that Nintendo released Super Mario Maker. Through its creation tools the game does a wonderful job at celebrating the long legacy of Mario. You can choose from either the original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, or Super Mario Bros. U as the template for each stage. Depending on which template you pick the game mechanics those of their respective games. That being said while creating your stage you can play with said mechanics for some really interesting results, like adding the mega mushroom a newer mechanic to a Super Mario Bros. based stage.
While there has been platform creator games before none of them have been as easy to understand and quite frankly as fun as this. The game does an incredibly good job teaching you how the create mechanics work. Right from the start the game has you edit the now legendary World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. By showing you something familiar and having you edit it to your liking the game eases you into what would seem like very complicated mechanics. Another aspect that ads to the ease of understanding of the creation mechanics is that the game waits for you to get used to the first set of tools and then periodically unlocks the more complex ones.
If you are really into creating stages the game can still be incredibly fun. You can go online and play the stages other people created. You can either play them individually or you can take part of the 100 Mario Challenge which gives you gives you 100 lives so you can go through a series of created of random created stages and that progressively more challenging. Given that new stages are being created every day it ultimately makes this a never ending Mario game.
While the game itself is quite fantastic this does not mean that it does not have its flaws. The game lacks any way to tag your stages so they can be better identified like if they are an auto-play stage and things like that. Also the search function in the game is cumbersome to say the least. Regardless of these flaws the game is still an incredible experience and an absolute joy to play. It has been thirty years since the initial release of Super Mario Bros. and Nintendo is still finding interesting things to do with its trademark plumber.