Super Mario Maker has been out for a little over two months now and we’ve seen some amazing creations in the hands of players, from simple levels that play themselves to the impossible that takes 56 hours to beat.
While the creations that players have made in the game are certainly interesting, the more interesting aspect of the game on the development side is how producers Takashi Tezuka and Yoshikazu Yamashita got the team working on the game to think outside of the box in terms of a Mario game. Polygon has a very interesting interview with the two of them discussing how certain aspects of Super Mario Maker development played out.
According to Tezuka, the staff was given a huge collection of children’s toys early in development and both he and Yamashita watched how the toys were played with among the developers and which toys created lasting appeal. The idea was to see just how many different interactions could happen with the toys and by the time the experiment was over, the team had documented more than 160 forms of play.
Director Yosuke Oshino recalled that Tezuka put the team’s mind at ease by telling them not to ‘color within the lines.’
He kind of put our minds at ease by telling us, ‘You know, this isn’t your typical Mario game, and you can think that the elements in this game are not actually Mario canon. So feel free to put in strange things.
Tezuka wasn’t as concerned about the cohesiveness of Super Mario Maker because he knew players would put together things that didn’t make sense and that would be okay. He also believed that those strange elements in the game is what would create lasting appeal for most players.
We really wanted to create a type of play that would be memorable and that would have kind of a lasting impact on people. And I think those stranger elements are one of the ways to do that.
As for stranger elements, this is one of the first Mario games that actually considered appeal of a Western audience in addition to the traditional Japanese audience. Tezuka elaborated some by saying the game had to appeal to anyone in the world, no matter their location.
In the earlier Mario games, we weren’t really considering worldwide culture or international culture when we created them. But that has been something that we have had to consider more recently. We want our games to be enjoyed and understood worldwide by as many people as possible.
As for the continued success of Super Mario Maker, Yamashita says he views the game more like a service, rather than a complete project. This perhaps confirms that Nintendo plans on adding new things to Super Mario Maker within the forseeable future.
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