Monday, March 20, 2017

First Impressions: Super Mario Maker (3DS)

This last weekend I made a trip back down to my old stomping grounds of Northern California and was able to spend some wonderful/quality time with Dr. Potts, whom I had not seen since, I think, 2014 when he was Best Man at my wedding; we live in different states and roughly 580 miles away.  That was when he presented me with Super Mario Maker 3DS (or is it Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, which is what the official Nintendo site says).  This was a game that I thought would be perfect for the 3DS platform when I heard that it was coming out for the Wii U and looked forward to its inevitable release.

So last night (being Friday March 17th when Dr. Potts came over for a visit; and the 18th being the day of this writing) I took out Chrono Trigger (possibly due to my theorized CPS) and put in Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (hereafter abreviated as just SMM, whenever I remember to do so).  At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through the tutorial and just jump straight into making dope-ass levels to play.  Then I immediately remembered that I had not played a Super Mario Bros. game since I dabbled a little bit with Conklederp's copy of New Super Mario Bros., and even then , it was only through at least the first area.  Then I recalled that I have not seriously played a Super Mario Bros. platforming game since I picked up Super Mario World much later than it was first released (I think I got my copy in the late '90s).

At the moment, I have tooled around a little bit the creator, but not so much to actually create a fully fledged level.  After booting up the game, I decided that playing through the tutorial levels would be the best way to go.  This made perfect sense since in one of the earliest tutorial stages, I found out that Mario is now able to jump off of a wall while sliding down it to the wall across from him.  I am still just more that a little bit comfortable with the spin jump introduced in Super Mario World.

So I decided to go through all of the basic and advanced tutorial stages where they teach you how various aspects of the game works, and how to build a level that makes sense.  Kind of like what Extra Credits did in their premier episode of "Design Club" where they illustrated how the design in World 1-1 in the Super Mario Bros. effectively taught the player how to play the game.  This was the impression that I got going through the tutorial stages.  I was a little bit less interested in the occasional bantering between the two characters (a female Human who is a level design apprentice, and a pigeon who is a level design sensei with a lust for edamame;  This whole things seams very Japanese to me, and I'm okay with that) which only became annoying when they veered away from concepts of level design.

But the one thing that really struck me during the advanced tutorial stages (where you play through a level that has concepts from the basic tutorial incorporated and are then shown the reason behind those design choices), was that I genuinely miss playing a straight up Super Mario 2D platformer.  I have in fact played a number of platformers since my last time with New Super Mario Bros. with games such as Mega Man 1 - 4 (I have yet to beat 5 or 6), Super Meat Boy, Gunman Clive I & II, Kirby's AdventureRayman: Origins, Shantae, and probably others if I thought more about it, but you get the idea.  The point is, there is something about a simple and yet, well thought out level designed for Super Mario Bros. that I did not realize I was missing until I played this game.  Maybe the fact that there is no story, or that the levels are fun to play through and did not require precise jumping on a tiny moving platform and having to jump in the small gap with one pixel of either side of the spinning fire bar.  The levels were short, and to the point and I appreciated that.  And now I am very excited to use the bits of acquired knowledge from nearly three hours I spent in the tutorials into practice.

My only gripe about the game is that it is in 2D, which it says on the cover right under the title, "Plays only in 2D", which is a little sad because I would have loved to have played some levels designed with the original Super Mario Bros. palette with 3D effects.  Do I feel that this takes away thing away from my enjoyment?  Of course not, but it was a thought I had, and it went a little something like this, "No 3D?  Ah well, too bad.  Now let's make some levels!"


P.S.  Playing SMM (see, used it!) makes me want to fish out Conklederp's copy of New Super Mario Bros. and seriously give that game a go.

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