Super Mario Maker: 32 Days Later

Games | Oct 15, 2015

Nintendo Super Mario Bros Super Mario Maker Wii U

Thirty-two days. I've been playing "Super Mario Maker" for thirty-two days, at work, two-three hours a day, between lunches or after office hours. Every time my boss caught me playing it, he'd just raise an eyebrow and ask if I've finished all the other work-related stuff. I said yes, which was not true.

"Super Mario Maker" is a firestorm of awesome and spiteful insanities. It is, Nintendo's final hurrah to get a few more Wii U sales, and I've got to admit, it's a damn effective one.

But we have to look at this game through the lens. This isn't just a final hurrah, some people might see this as a way for Nintendo to steal ideas from players who have labored hours or days into building the perfect course. And indeed, the combinations we see in the game, are things Nintendo would have never thought of. It's also a game that puts its own players into labor, while level designers chill in their seats, drinking a Sapporo light beer.

We play Mario, because it's a fun platformer that single-handedly saved videogames. To hell with the story, we wanted to gobble up shrooms, step on turtles, and get laid after saving the princess that might or might not be in need of a rescue. "Super Mario Bros. 3," and "Super Mario World" re-introduced the gaming world a bunch of levels and full of mysteries to discover, and by the time we've finished it, we want more, we crave it. Nintendo supplied us well, and added some new innovations along the way with titles such as "Paper," "64," "Sunshine," and "Galaxy," but they were all weird and lacked that spell that charmed every gaming generation. And for sales reasons, it seemed, Nintendo has always played it safe when they launched the "New Super Mario Bros." games. Despite our cravings, it's the same old game.

That's how "Super Mario Maker" is such a success. It opens up a universe of endless Mario stages for people to play as much as they want, on a single purchase. At the same time, fulfill every basic game designing fantasy, by building an original Mario-themed platformer.

In this, we can't really review "Super Mario Maker" itself, when majority of its levels have been built by other players. We can only praise the available tools, as Nintendo gave everyone a lot of breathing space to build all sorts of courses.

There are experimental courses such as a "walk-in-a-park" style, where the player literally walks across the course while bearing witness of unfolding events. Then there are roller coaster types of courses, where the player doesn't need to do anything, as the course will complete itself in a matter of seconds. There are troll courses, where everything is out there to kill Mario that requires insane platforming skills. And there are the basic courses that are either easy or challenging, which everyone appreciates. In this sense, "Super Mario Maker" transcends from becoming a platform maker into a canvas for self-expression. Every course builder is no longer a player, but an artist as they strive for recognition through the world of medals and praises from the comments sections.

And like every artist needing an agent, popular YouTubers have opened up channels specifically for "Super Mario Maker" where course builders would send them their course code, and hope their courses get played for the tens of thousands of subscribers to be seen. It's the closest thing of getting an art gallery. And there is satisfaction when this happens, as the player gets to see their course get played, and become a subject of praise or a target for criticism. Artists will welcome both.

I think it's safe to say that, Nintendo, will be gearing up for another "Super Mario Maker" sometime in the future. Maybe two or three years from now, in their new console. For now, the current game has a lot of room for growth, there are still a ton of Mario items, enemies, and objects missing, and we can only speculate that Nintendo is holding back to cash it in at the right moment. We can hope it would be available for free, but that's a long shot. 

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