A reminder to make games fun for everyone

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Super Mario Maker 2 is a game I got on launch day and honestly enjoyed. Still, I only really played it on very short and very short races or expert levels selected from the game’s Billboard tier list with higher player-decided rankings. This should have clicked faster with me; it was a game about making games with level design in mind.

Suppose you asked me to describe the game’s most important utility. I would say it allows anyone, even a child, to create a level that involves Mario doing something as basic as jumping on a single enemy. It can also give someone who is technically inclined a more accessible way to make something more complex without using an intimidating program like Lunar Magic. Used for powers of good, you can create something that pays homage to your childhood or create something truly hellish for a capable player to play on a higher difficulty level or even in a competitive speed environment.

Last farewell to Super Mario Maker 1 thanks to my Wii U which seems to run on steam with a hand crank. Source: Author.

The fact that Super Mario Maker has a large global community surprised me. When it comes to the Mario franchise, I would definitely rank it as the franchise’s most niche in recent years, as it’s Nintendo that lets you get weird with their valuable IP. When Nintendo decided to discontinue support and servers for the original Wii U release on March 31, 2021, a standout game for a justifiably unloved clunky console, level creators rushed to use the original. one last time. You can see the last level of each and that it would be missed.

Super Mario Maker for Wii U was completely removed from the Nintendo eShop on January 12, 2021. The only way you can play it now (if you don’t already own it) is to get a physical copy and find the former Creator Codes on a console and company not known for their online capabilities. I managed to get the last two I could find in Massachusetts (yes, of them) because the first one i bought i made the mistake of not checking to find the disc had a fracture.

A typical working day for Aurateur. Source: Twitch.

My rabbit hole with Mario Maker started almost two years ago when an old friend connected me with a Twitch streamer by the name of Aurateur. He’s a prominent creator and gamer and probably one of the only streamers who still plays it regularly, uploading it six nights a week since the original was released 7 years ago.

My friend at the time probably sent me the link for reasons you’ll immediately notice – it allows audio torture through uninterrupted text-to-speech gifts while playing endless Super Expert. I would need help and a whole other article to describe the lore or dadaism of her stream or why someone would give Twitch and Aurateur $300 for a female robot to spew nonsense. He deserves that money, by the way. He’s been known to grind levels for hours on end as a symphony of nonsense blasts through his ears.

GrandPooBear explaining that his levels got dropped while playing the video and audio of him calling Nintendo to find out why. Source: Author.

Thanks to his Twitch channel and using auto-hosting from other creators in that community, who then attack others, my Twitch subscription list is “Oops! All Mario Maker!”. It’s a game that relies on the consumer to create the content, thus making those who deliver it unpaid quality assurance testers. Many of these people also have complicated relationships with the game that defined the trajectory of their full-time streaming careers – creators and streamers GrandPooBear in particular, had their levels removed without much explanation. I saw BarbarousKing, another top creator who basically moved on to Super Mario World romhacks and other platforms for streaming, has some valid grievances and more or less gave it up.

These players were better at Mario game mechanics and knew how to cause glitches and mechanics than some of Nintendo’s payroll developers. Many of them wasted countless hours of work because some made the levels so difficult that it would take them over fifteen hours to clear their own creation, a requirement for your level to download judging it is playable. That’s not to say that some don’t opt ​​for an easier route to download using a hidden “dev release”. This often comes in the form of a hidden block containing something like a vine that can lead them to a door or a pipe leading to a goal post and clearing much easier.

BarbarousKing gets frustrated with a boss level with an additional clear condition to kill 100 Goombas, … then uninstalls the game. Source: Author.

There’s a dedicated community that still enjoys this game, even though it can be overwhelming, and I’ve come across a bunch of them recently. I went to Twitchcon and watched the Super Mario Maker Speedrun World Record Charity event for 3 days. I had the experience of watching sports while sitting next to Aurateur at some point. Looking back, it was surreal. He was someone I respected and had been terrified of submitting levels or cooperating with, and we’re usually both monotonous and potentially hard to read at a parasocial festival in a post world. -lockdown.

With Mario Maker in mind, a niche gaming topic for a lauded franchise, it’s been interesting to watch maybe an hour of someone playing and naturally struggling, then watching Masahiro’s new Youtube channel Sakurai called Masahiro Sakurai on making games. Sakurai, the creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros. IP, has a positive approach to game design which he says is niche content that might only appeal to game developers but is for everyone. It also focuses on what it sees as the classics to use as explanations, and that makes sense because many of these titles are the building blocks of other franchises. I’m not a game developer, but I enjoyed seeing Sakurai explain concepts with an enthusiastic approach. Its mission statement is literally “Make games more fun”.

One of my many views from the three days I watched the Mario Maker 2 speedrun at TwitchCon 2022. Source: Author.

Maybe you’re mad at Sakurai because he didn’t send your favorite overlooked Nintendo character an invite to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Maybe you’re like me, someone who loves Nintendo and throws money at them but has been disappointed in them for releasing full-price titles that have enough DLC waves you start to wonder s ‘they even considered the game an end product. Whatever your opinion of Sakurai, the guy is always fun and clearly wants to explain his passion.

Its channel is a better companion to something like Mario Maker 2 than its own “story mode”, which, in theory, should show and teach you how to create levels under the guise of a story mode. From what I understand by asking people, many players have the same problem as me. They need a lot of help to create something they’re proud to share.

My own experience with making games tells a similar story. My high school graduation depended on creating an RPG in RPG Maker, then writing engaging dialogue, a dry tech guide, and an engaging manual. It was my final year project and it had to be done to graduate. While I know it wasn’t great, I also should have given myself some leeway for being seventeen. How I could have benefited from Sakurai’s chain back then!

Everybody should Welcome!

I’m hoping for a third installment in the Mario Maker franchise and some people gleaning something from Sakurai and posthumously via Satoru Iwata: We *should* have fun. Fun is subjective for everyone, but it’s hard to argue that the levels I’m watching streamers don’t look fun from a distance, even from a high difficulty perspective. Putting Mario in a frog suit with the added mechanic of wind and terrain modifiers like blocks of ice with a pixel-perfect spike jump doesn’t even sound fun when you read it out loud – it sounds like a lot of trouble. head.

Super Mario Bros. 5 by Metroid Mike in Super Mario Maker 2. Global Code: 0G9-XN4-FNF

You can create a fun and challenging level while still being creative. My example would be the actual music creator, streamer and composer that goes through com_poser. He was the only creator name I recognized before Twitch, and that’s because he does music levels, and video game music theory fascinates me. He let me, a random newbie with no influence, ask him a question while he was streaming, and he showed a level of Sakurai enthusiasm by giving me a lesson on how to execute making one.

The average Mario Maker audience may be people looking for intentional misery with the same maturity as my nieces who kept yelling at me at Thanksgiving 2019 for playing the viral “1-1 but with a twist” which is just a bunch of avoidance of too many fire bars. They’re real kids, and they have an excuse for wanting to see their aunt repeatedly fail at an intentional troll level. One of my nieces is more like me with her devotion. I hope she ends up wanting something like the labor of love that is Metroid Mike’s Super World in Mario Maker 2. Metroid Mike called it Super Mario Bros 5, a fan-made game within Mario Maker with respected and ultimately fun source material.

com_poser happily makes a musical level with available sprites and mechanics

This game is very committed to its community and honestly relies a lot on streamers who continue to make it something that can be a big thing for Games Done Quick. I’m not trying to monitor anyone, and fun is subjective, and you might like the troll levels; I’m just asking you to consider approaching it as something you’d want an actual friend to appreciate or, in the case of most streamers, someone you look up to and want to continue making this content for you. I might never be able to play this on Super Expert. I agree with that, and to some extent I think a lot of games should be approached from a “normal” difficulty perspective or intended for actual reviews. If you want to create a difficult level, it can still be fun and enjoyable for others.

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