Super Mario Maker
Release Date: 9/11/15
Gaming Platform: Wii U
It was a long time ago when I played my first video game. That game just happened to be the Super Mario Bros/ Duck Hunt cartridge that came with the original NES. Granted, by today's standard of HD visuals, and symphonic sound, the game may seem unimpressive. Back then... it was amazing. To say I became obsessed would be a little bit of an understatement. I fell in love with the concept of video games that day, and I've been a hopeless geek ever since.
Back then, I used to keep a pad of graphing paper nearby, so I could jot down my various ideas for levels, not that I thought anything would ever come of it, but rather the idea of being able to run through my "created" levels in my head was a fascinating way to spend time when I was unable to play.
Alas, those sheets of graphing paper are long gone, lost in some mountain of garbage, because I grew up and realized that my goal of designing levels for Mario would never come to anything other than pipe dreams.
Now Nintendo has decided to kick me for throwing away those ideas, and finally given me the tools I need to create the twisted Mario levels I wanted to inflict on my brothers so many years ago.
The game throws you head on into the role of game designer, allowing you to edit and test run your levels with just a tap of the screen. The game also makes the wise move of not overloading you with all the possible tools all at once. Instead, it relies on a system of timed unlocks. Play for 5 minutes today, unlock a new set of blocks tomorrow. This way, you can really get to play with one set of tools before you expand to a new set. Effectively, allowing you to learn as you go.
On top of the creative elements, there is also several pre-built stages, and an almost infinite supply of user-built stages. Effectively, this game is infinite. Granted, online you will find a lot of crap levels that people just made because... why not? The first time I played online, I was greeted with 5 different "variations" of the introduction level... But hey, it's all about experimentation. Some of the people that have created levels have created things of true beauty, creating levels that have a sort of beautiful elegance that makes me wonder if they had a background in game design.
While there are things I would like to see (like that little diagonal piece used in Super Mario World that allowed caped Mario to run up a wall) there is a lot to play with here. And the only real limit is your imagination. On top of that, if you are having a bit of a creativity issue, you can always wait until tomorrow... When the game will create a brand new level for you to use as a base for one of your levels.
Best part, after I uploaded my own level, I learned something very important.... NONE of the online levels are impossible, because the game forces you to play through them before it will let you upload! Some may be hard, some may be downright frustrating, but they are all doable!
RECOMMENDATION: If you are a fan of Mario, this is the game for you. You can play forever, and not have to worry about running out of stuff to try. And if you're not creative, the world's got your back! Bang for your buck, this is the best Mario game I have seen in years!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Grab your gamepad, and start creating! This game is the sort of nostalgic flight of fancy that hits me right in the feels. It's like being a kid again, but this time... I CAN create those levels I always wanted to try.
FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10
BONUS: The first official Slamfist Media level (that is the level I uploaded) can be found using the following code: 633F-0000-004D-2928
EDIT: New Slamfist Level (and I like how evil, yet oddly simple this one is) 795C-0000-0058-45AD