Mario is the most iconic platform game character there is. There was even a point where he was more recognised in society generally than Mickey Mouse, that’s how famous he was. And is, I suppose, because while others like that spikey blue hedgehog have fallen by the wayside, Mario is still going strong.
Mario has appeared in 2D platform games, 3D platform games, a long series of Mario Party games, and the successful (because it’s brilliant) Mario Kart series. His sidekick Luigi has even had his own turn in the spotlight with the two Luigi’s Mansion games. I love Mario. I first played a Mario game way back in the 80’s. It was Super Mario Bro 3 on the NES but it all really came together for me a little bit later with Super Mario World on the SNES. It’s still one of the best platform games you can play today, even if some of the levels are incredible hard.
Now you can make your own Mario levels, and you can make them as hard or as easy as you like, because Nintendo have released Mario Maker on Wii U, which at it’s heart is a level creation toolkit that lets you design and upload your own levels for other people to play. Yes, there are challenges to do in terms of completing levels and so on but ever since you jumped over your first Piranha Plant, lets face it you’ve wanted to make your own levels haven’t you? I certainly have.
At first thought, Mario Maker seems like a common sense idea that Nintendo should have released years ago but as you delve a bit deeper into the game, it becomes apparent why it’s only out now and on Wii U. The Gamepad is a completely natural device to build your levels with, you can pick up and drop building blocks with ease, stretch of squish pipes to the size you want, draw the loop that you want baddies to follow (like the loop for the bomb above). The only thing that limits you is your imagination. And the unlock system. Rather than overwhelm you immediately with a plethora of blocks and characters to choose from, Mario Make unlocks gradually over a course of “days” (you need to play for a certain amount of time for a day to register but it isn’t very onerous).
Our 8 year old has had great fun building some fiendish levels ( in fact he’s pretty much exclusively been making levels rather than playing them). There is one particular level he’s made that he can’t complete but because I can, he refuses to change it. There is a particularly nasty jump where you sort of have to jump around a bend/change direction in mid air to avoid getting spiked, and he’s only managed it a few times and has then fallen to his death through a misjudged jump afterwards or been eaten by a piranha plant but because he’s seen me do it, he simply refuses to give up.
And that is it in a nutshell; you just want to make a level as fiendishly difficult as you can whilst still knowing it’s possible to complete. The fact that it’s you that’s made it that hard removes a lot of the frustration that would come otherwise. We’re all in love with Mario Maker and if you have A Wii U, you should be too. it’s out now and available to buy for around £30 from all good retailers.