Super Mario Maker
|Super Mario Maker|
Wii U cover art
Super Mario Maker is a side-scrolling platform video game and game creation system developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U game console, which released worldwide in September 2015. Players are able to create and play their own custom courses, based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U, and share them online. Over time, new editing tools are unlocked, allowing players to download and play courses designed by other players.
Super Mario Maker received critical acclaim upon its release, with reviewers praising the game's user interface and course editing tools. In May 2016, Nintendo announced that over 7.2 million courses had been created worldwide, which had been played over 600 million times. An adapted port for the Nintendo 3DS, known as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, was released in December 2016.
Super Mario Maker is a video game which allows players to create their own levels from the Super Mario series, and then publish those courses to the Internet for other players to experience. Players can base their courses on the gameplay, and visual style of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U, which all share the physics of the latter. The gameplay mechanics and enemy behavior varies between the game modes. Some elements are limited to specific game styles while others can be added to game styles that previously did not have them in the original game, such as Boos in Super Mario Bros.
In addition to traditional Mario elements such as Goombas, warp pipes and power ups, players are able to manipulate the behavior of various elements in unique ways. For example, they can stack enemies, have hazards come out of question blocks and warp pipes, use shells as protective helmets, and make cannons and Lakitu emit any chosen objects. These combinations are possible because editing tools in the game work in tandem with one another. This allows players to enlarge an enemy by giving it a mushroom, grant an enemy the ability to fly by giving it wings, combine different attributes, and more. The Sound Frog adds audiovisual effects to particular locations, including microphone-recorded sounds, though user-generated sounds are removed from uploaded courses. Editing elements are introduced gradually, over a course of nine days, with new elements unlocking as the player spends more time creating courses. The Mystery Mushroom, which can only be used in the Super Mario Bros. theme, dresses Mario in one of about 150 costumes. A Mystery Mushroom has the same effects as a Super Mushroom, except Costume Mario is the same size as Small Mario. Each of these costumes can be unlocked by playing through the 100 Mario Challenge, clearing special Event Courses, or by scanning a corresponding Amiibo figurine. Additionally, the 8-bit Mario Amiibo figurine adds a Big Mushroom that makes Mario giant while making enemies look like Mario characters.
Once the user is able to play through one's own newly created course, that course is then allowed to be published to the online Course World. There, all players can browse and play various user-generated courses, or participate in the 100 Mario Challenge, where they can play through a set of randomly selected user-created courses with 100 lives. Its difficulty levels are Easy, Normal, Expert and Super Expert (which was released in the last major update). Alternatively, players can play the 10 Mario Challenge, where they play a selection of the game's pre-made courses with only 10 lives. Players are initially limited in the amount of courses they can upload online, but by receiving stars from other players, they can earn medals which allow them to upload more courses.
The game was first announced at E3 2014 with the name Mario Maker. The game was originally conceived as a tool by Nintendo's internal development team, to be used only within the company. The team, however, quickly realized the tool's potential as a game and pitched the idea to senior game designer Takashi Tezuka. Meanwhile, Tezuka had been wanting to make a Wii U followup to Mario Paint that utilizes the Wii U GamePad. Upon seeing the Mario Maker tool however, Tezuka realized that a course-making tool was more marketable than a mere art program. He noted to Polygon that building courses is "not as difficult or out of reach as drawing is" but that he "was inspired to bring the fun of Mario Paint into this course editor". The game was directed by Yosuke Oshino, who previously worked as a programmer on Pikmin, Pikmin 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The game's soundtrack was composed and arranged by Koji Kondo, Naoto Kubo and Asuka Hayazaki.
An adapted port by Nintendo Software Technology, with some elements of the original version being removed or altered, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan on December 1, 2016, in North America and Europe on December 2, and in Australia on December 3. The 3DS version of the game is able to send courses to friends, along with the ability to exchange courses through StreetPass.
Marketing and release
In May 2015, Nintendo announced that people could try out Mario Maker at Best Buy stores across North America on June 17 and 20, 2015. The game was demonstrated under a new name, Super Mario Maker, on June 14, 2015, during the final round of the Nintendo World Championships event preceding E3 2015. The four courses created by Nintendo Treehouse for the Championships are available to play in the final game.
Prior to the game's release, Nintendo partnered with Facebook to host a special "hackathon" event. 150 Facebook employees were tasked with constructing courses using Super Mario Maker, and the winning team was given the opportunity to create a course to be featured in the game on its launch. Several notable video game designers showcased courses they had created, such as Michel Ancel, Koji Igarashi, Tim Rogers, and Derek Yu. Ancel's course is included in the base game as an Event Course.
Super Mario Maker was released worldwide in September 2015, with a corresponding Wii U bundle. Each copy of the game is packaged with a 96-page booklet of creative ideas, which is also available as a PDF download. Alongside the release of Super Mario Maker, Nintendo launched an 8-bit Mario Amiibo figurine, available in two different color variations. The figurine is sold alone, and within particular Super Mario Maker game bundles. A downloadable, Super Mario Maker-themed stage for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U was released on September 30, 2015.
The game was originally intended to require players to wait each day to unlock new elements, but a patch was released on the game's launch date which delivers new elements corresponding to the player's content creation efforts. Destructoid noted that there were many elements missing from the game that had appeared in past entries of the series, but following its release, the game received free updates that added new features. The first major update, released on November 4, 2015, added mid-course checkpoints, conditional power-ups, and Event Courses. Clearing certain Event Courses unlocks additional Mystery Mushroom costumes, such as Super Mario-kun and GameCenter CX presenter Shinya Arino. The game's second major update was released on December 22, 2015 which, in addition to records listing a course's fastest clear time, launched the "Super Mario Maker Bookmark" website, which allows players browse through uploaded courses through any web browser and bookmark them to play in the game later, allowing for easier sharing of courses. The third update added more Mystery Mushroom costumes that are unlocked by completing Normal- and Expert-level 100 Mario Challenges, as well as a new Super Expert mode. It also patched the "Bleeding Mario" glitch, which occurred in courses with the Super Mario Bros. 3 style and Castle theme when Mario collected coins while other ones fell into lava.
Super Mario Maker received critical acclaim. IGN's Jose Otero praised the game's social elements, commenting on Super Mario Maker's online features and highlighting positively the 10 Mario Challenge, stating that players would "see a genuine reverence for Mario’s history" in the online modes. He also gave positive comments on the course editor itself and its user interface, writing that "[n]o matter which style you choose, creating levels is an intimidating task but the well designed interface makes learning easy and intuitive" and that it "gives us a fun, flexible toolbox to build and play Mario courses like never before".
GameSpot's Justin Haywald praised the game's course editor and its features, stating that "the mix-and-match nature [of gameplay elements] allows for exciting and anachronistic additions to familiar scenarios". In contrast, he also expressed disappointment in particular limitations, such as the absence of a checkpoint as seen in Super Mario World, and the vertical and horizontal limits of each stage. He ultimately concluded that "the game won't necessarily turn you into the next Shigeru Miyamoto, but you can almost feel a little bit of that magic rubbing off every time you upload a new creation".
Polygon's Griffin McElroy wrote positively of the game, saying he had "a tremendous amount of fun playing, but the way it developed that newfound appreciation for something I've known my whole life was the game's biggest accomplishment".
The increasingly rich online library of user-generated content has been individually showcased and praised by reviewers, and has been praised by Mario series co-creator Takashi Tezuka. He described Nintendo's restraint in the gameplay difficulty of its own content, in the interest of mass appeal. He expressed both appreciation and caution for the fact that the users do not necessarily share the same restraint in their creations.
I expected that the users who wanted to play more of the hard courses would be attracted to Super Mario Maker. ... It was quite a surprise how much fun it was to watch the videos, without even playing myself. There are so many intriguing and inventive courses, like one which you couldn’t beat if you picked up a mushroom. It’s been a huge motivation for us developers to do better.
However, there were many players criticizing Nintendo for removing their online courses without warning or explanation. Patrick Klepek of Kotaku wrote that "Ultimately, the lack of communication is what’s frustrating. If Nintendo wants to have strict policies, that’s fine, but let creators know what they’re dealing with, so they can work around it."
Super Mario Maker debuted in Japan with more than 138,000 physical copies sold; it had sales of 245,000 copies in its first three weeks, by the end of September 2015. It was the second best-selling game in the UK in its first week of release, debuting at No. 2 on the UK software retail chart. It was the fourth fastest-selling game for the Wii U since the console's debut in 2012. In its first three weeks on sale in North America, 445,000 copies had been sold, with over 500,000 sold by the end of September 2015. Sales in the United States reached 1 million in mid-January 2016, making the game the sixth Wii U title to do so in the country. By December 2016, 3.89 million copies had been sold worldwide. The Nintendo 3DS version sold 162,180 copies within its first week of release in Japan. As of December 23, 2016, the Nintendo 3DS version has sold 448,160 copies in the region. As of December 31, 2016, the 3DS version sold 2 million copies.
In May 2016, Nintendo announced that over 7.2 million courses had been created worldwide, which had been played over 600 million times.
|2014||IGN's Best of E3 2014 Awards||Best Wii U Game||Runner-up|||
|2015||E3 2015 Game Critics Awards||Best Console Game||Nominated|||
|Best Family/Social Game||Won|||
|IGN's Best of E3 2015 Awards||Best Platformer||Won (tie)|||
|Best Wii U Game||Won|||
|Game of the Show||Nominated|
|Gamescom Award||Best Console Game Nintendo Wii||Won|||
|Best Family Game||Nominated|
|Best Social/Casual/Online Game||Won|
|The Game Awards 2015||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best Family Game||Won|
|Amazon Games Best of 2015||Best Game of 2015||Won|||
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR) awards||Control Design, 2D or Limited 3D||Won|||
|Game, Franchise Family||Won|
|Use of Sound, Franchise||Nominated|
|2016||Giant Bomb's 2015 Game of the Year Awards||Best Game||Won|||
|IGN's Best of 2015||Wii U Game of the Year||Won|||
|2016 Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Video Game||Nominated|||
|D.I.C.E. Awards||Family Game of the Year||Won|||
|British Academy Children's Awards||BAFTA Kids' Vote - Video Game||Nominated|||
|Giant Bomb's 2016 Game of the Year Awards||2016's Old Game of the Year||Nominated|||
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