E3 2014: Mario Maker Started Out As A Tool For Nintendo's Developers, And Now It's An Awesome Game
As those of you who've been paying attention to E3 are no doubt already aware, one of the games unveiled by Nintendo was Mario Maker; a title which will allow players to create their own Mario levels. That's awesome enough on its own, but it gets even better with the revelation that Mario Maker was never intended to be a game - it was originally a development tool.
According to Nintendo's executive officer of Entertainment Analysis and Development Takashi Tezuka, his department doesn't generally create games. They're the folks who design the tools with which Nintendo's devs work their magic. In Mario Maker's case, the tools team was working on a Mario course editor, and realized that it was...actually a whole lot of fun. They decided they might as well pitch the idea to their boss, and see where they could go with it.
He liked it just as much as they did.
"They brought the idea to me thinking it would be a great game idea because they had so much fun with [it]," said Tezuka.
According to Tezuka, he'd been toying with the idea of making a new Mario Paint game designed for the Wii U Game Pad when the idea was pitched to him. After looking at the game, he realized it could give players an opportunity to be every bit as creative as they could in Mario Paint. He greenlit the project almost immediately.
"There are lots of drawing utilities in the world, but does everybody like drawing? Not necessarily," he explained. "In order to make a [Mario] course, all you have to do is put different parts together. It's not as difficult or out of reach as drawing is. Instead of creating another Mario Paint, when I saw this course editor, I was inspired to bring the fun of Mario Paint into this course editor to make something fun and creative for people to enjoy."
Tezuka continued that he fully expects people to be completely absurd with the levels they design, and that he won't be surprised if there are plenty of levels that are otherwise impossible to complete. Mario Maker, he says, is about enjoying the process of creation, no matter how impractical the end result may turn out to be. One example he gave was a course which required Mario to run to the beginning, then back to the end, then back to the beginning again in order to complete it.
"We think this is a game that will showcase people's sense of imagination," he said. "Seeing the courses made by [those folks] made us realize it had much more potential than even we imagined."