Almost every game developer, at one point in their early lives, tried recreating the classic Mario game in one form or another. Last June, Nintendo made a surprise move by revealing Mario Maker, a Wii U exclusive that actually let you do exactly that, no programming required. At the Game Awards over the weekend, Nintendo stepped it up a notch and wowed would be game designers and gamers alike with a new trailer that shows the full power of Mario Maker’s interface, letting you change Mario’s world even as you play.
In a nutshell, Mario Maker, in the vein of software like Game Maker and RPG Maker, lets you recreate or create Mario game maps, using official and legal assets from Nintendo, with with a simple drag and drop interface. As mentioned, no programing is required, just a bit of creativity, imagination, and perhaps a bit of patience. Mario Maker gives you a wide palette of assets and appearances to choose from, starting with the pixelated Mario of the original Super Mario Bros, all the way up to the 3D roundness of Suepr Mario Bros. U.
The big reveal in the Game Awards trailer is the fact that Mario Maker lets you edit the world right from under Mario’s nose. No need to restart the level, just hit pause, change what you want, and resume where you left off. Replace monsters on the fly, make cannons spew out coins instead of bullets. It might feel a bit like cheating, but it’s also a good way to test and modify your dream Mario course with ease and fun. You can even change world styles on the fly, making Mario take a literal walk (or run) down memory lane.
Another change is that Mario Maker now seems slated for a 2015 launch. The E3 preview in June hinted a late 2014 launch, but now that date has been pushed back, probably making makers’ and players’ fingers itch with even more anticipation.