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This week, Nintendo released a detailed trailer on how Super Mario Maker will have more content then previously expected. The game will have the ability to add sound effects that could also have a visual effect, music blocks that perform different notes depending on where it’s placed and thus be able to create tunes, and the ability to play a variety of stages with a set amount of lives. Though one important part we saw is that Nintendo is not allowing creators to access the suite of tools on day one, instead we see that they are doing the most Nintendo thing they could possibly do, and that’s a timed release schedule.
If you play in the level creator for five minutes a day, the next time you’ll play will unlock another chunk of content to use. You only start off with 12 objects to use, and the next day will have another seven or so things. It seems from the trailer that you need to play for nine days before the first five rows of objects. It seems they’re doing the Splatoon method of a trickle down schedule, but in fact, they are just prepping users so that they don’t do the same mistakes that games like LittleBigPlanet did, which is offering too much too soon.
The trailer says it right, the sheer amount of things you can do in the game is daunting. That alone would make users hesitate taking advantage of the software or ignore some of the things that you can do in the game. This allows beginners to take advantage with what they got in order to get them to get ready for the trickier stuff. It’s very Nintendo to make users work within constraints so that they can appreciate the next bits, as if the people playing Super Mario Maker are developing on Nintendo hardware. While that will piss off hardcore gamers and designers at first, it’ll be a godsend for those who are designed-challenged or younger.
I say that creating levels in this tiered-unlock fashion is like developing on Nintendo hardware because Nintendo hardware is built with Gunpei Yokoi’s “Lateral thinking with withered technology,” meaning using older, more understood technology and taking the most advantage with it. Doing so creates a lack of defects and ease of development, which is what Super Mario Maker is executing. If players got the whole suite, sure some may overcome it and make something cool, but this way they are taking their time, going back to it over the course of days and honing their craft. It’s funny that even 18 years after his death, Nintendo is still using the philosophies of Yokoi to work.
I brought up LittleBigPlanet because my experience making stages on it weren’t the most positive ones. I tried making a few attempts at making stages, and ended up trying to use everything I could at once, crating a messy, “too many cooks in the kitchen” stage that wouldn’t have been worth sharing. And when I downloaded others’ stages, they would be a small amount of great stages, and a glut of junk. With Super Mario Maker, I feel that this tiered release schedule is a prevention of that because someone can’t just create an incoherent stage filled with buzzsaws, pipes, giant Bowsers with no rhyme or reason.
We’re a few weeks away from Super Mario Maker, and never did I think that the game would be this in-depth. What started with a meh in 2014 buried in the hype of Super Smash Bros., Bayonetta 2 and Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire turned into the first legit Wii U game, meaning one that flawlessly blends the GamePad, the Nintendo Network and the console’s horsepower in complete synergy. This should have launched with the damn thing.