Super Mario Maker is coming out in September, and if you're a fan of the platforming plumber, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.
Why? The answers probably seem obvious. You can create your own Mario levels, use the amiibo figures you've collected that are now strewn about your house in and out of packaging, and it's a reason to keep coming back to the Wii U.
But those are the very obvious reasons, and having spent about 8 hours with the title so far and experienced about 20% of the tools available for use and the levels created by others, I know this is a very special experience that is going to completely change the way players think about Mario as a whole. It could, in fact, change the way we see the platforming series in the future. And it's possible we might see something much, much different in the coming days when it comes to classic Mario platforming.
The game'll be big for a few very important reasons, and one is the sense of community it engenders. Though the levels available for play right now are limited to Nintendo employees, early adopters, and other lucky players, there's a sense of community brewing between players that's been missing from the Wii U for some time.
Maybe you played a level that you thought was exceptionally creative and you want to share those thoughts with the person who made it. You can, and they'll see them (and so will everyone else) in the level itself. It's instant feedback, and everyone wants to make a level that does well. Everyone wants to reap the rewards for their hard work. Super Mario Maker lets you have your cake and eat it too, and you feel as though you're part of a community whose sole goal it is to create worthwhile Mario levels for everyone to enjoy. There's no envy, no competition, just a lot of fun, and some very devious levels.
And then there's the matter of creativity. Not everyone has been able to simply draw up a Mario level over the years. Super Mario Maker makes it as easy as dragging and dropping what you want where you want it. You're only limited by your creativity, and that's absolutely not in short supply here. Paging through others' creations, it's plain to see the people who would make absolutely excellent level designers and who's a talent just waiting to happen, with levels that run themselves and ones that force you to forgo mushrooms or stars while throwing them and catapulting them at you with rocket force. These are important ideas for plain old Mario, and some that may never have been shared with the populace otherwise.
That's why the game could totally change the way we view and play Mario. With new ideas like these cropping up, there's virtually no need for a new traditional Mario anymore. The only way to go from here is up, and the very fans and community who have stalwartly enjoyed Mario throughout all of the different iterations over the years are making it possible to try new things and to grow in new directions. In a way, it's been turned over to the fans, and I wouldn't have it any other way. How else would I see a level that's essentially a bunch of falling mushrooms and bizarre, long-limbed Marios? Where else would Sonic, Peach, Pit, or King Dedede make sense in the trappings of the classic platformer?
Super Mario Maker is going to transform Mario as we know it, and despite the fact that it doesn't come out until next month, it's already inspiring people to create. Games should definitely have that kind of effect on people, and I'm happy to see that Super Mario Maker does as well. And if you don't buy into all that, well, at least there's a reason to open all those amiibo figures you've been hoarding and can't find room for. Free them so you can use them in-game. It's liberating, just like the creation tools Nintendo has given us here.