Super Mario Maker is less than 24 hours away, and soon the Nintendo Network will be flooded with an array of levels from beginners hoping to be the next Miyamoto. Certainly, good levels will come from this game, but getting to that point isn’t going to be easy. You see levels online like “Metroid U” and figure it would be possible to create something similar the second the game is in your Nintendo Wii U.
That’s not exactly how it works. Good, rudimentary Super Mario Maker levels can take upwards of an hour. Something as complicated as this would take far longer, especially with playtesting.
Don’t let that get you down. You can, and most likely will, make great Super Mario Maker stages too. The important thing is to be patient and keep these tips in mind.
- Your first few levels will be garbage. I’m not saying this to be mean. It’s an accurate assessment of Super Mario Maker’s initial introduction. Think of your first two days with the game as a tutorial, since the game doesn’t have a conventional one. You won’t have many items to use in your toolbox. You won’t have any fancy customization options. Embrace this opportunity as a chance to make judgment-free levels. Nobody expects masterpieces out of the gate. Make two or three starting stages, upload them to the internet in hopes of feedback, and consider this character building.
- Stop by every day for the first nine days. You need to spend five minutes actively using the creator to queue up the next day’s content delivery. Use this time to experiment. Characters have unexpected properties in unexpected situations. Spinies that fly shoot off spikes. Bloopers out of water can be easily stomped. Sledge Bros can be used to trigger switches. You might not make a great level this first week, but you can learn about the mechanics.
- Play 10 Mario Challenge. 100 Mario Challenge is going to be far more tempting, since going online to challenge original courses one after another will unlock new Costume Mario attire, but the 10 Mario Challenge unlocks new Nintendo-created Sample Courses in the Coursebot. Some of these aren’t exactly exciting or lengthy, but they can have interesting ideas and be used to come up with your own thoughts. For example, Attack Stack shows how to deal with a stack of enemies with a koopa shell. Perilous Vine Climb puts a long vine on a track, moving back and forth, and leaves Mario to climb it while avoiding spikes. They’re great for inspiration and get you thinking about how the ideas could be used in your own creations.
- Don’t be afraid to rely on the GamePad. This may sound crazy, but sometimes it’s easier to beat the more devious levels people create if you focus on the GamePad screen and not the TV. It’s something about having it right in front of you, perhaps, or the ability to really focus on everything at once, rather than maybe only looking at a portion on a larger screen.
- Mario ghost trails are the best. Once you unlock the ability to see ghost trails of where Mario has been when you’re playtesting a level in the editor, Super Mario Maker options really open up. It’s a great way to work out jumps that might look impossible, but are totally doable, perfect enemy placement, check wall jump challenges, and more. The Mario ghost trail is one of the game’s best features and it’s a shame it isn’t one of the first items unlocked.
- Be clever to lure in players. There are going to be a lot of Super Mario Maker levels. Odds are, people won’t see them. You can input a number code to reach a specific level, but it isn’t like you can search the term “Animal Crossing” and find all Animal Crossing-inspired levels. Some people may just play whatever comes up when they click the Up & Coming or Featured tabs, not bothering to refresh or adjust the search conditions. Going with a clever name, like “Return to Hogwarts” by Sean or “Super Princess Peach” by NFuse Greg shows the affair is inspired by something or features clever use of a Costume Mario.
- Don’t be afraid to delete past uploads. You can’t upload every course you create in Super Mario Maker. Nintendo has a cap on levels. You only can upload 10 to start, and have to prove yourself as a creator to the community by earning stars before unlocking the ability to submit more. If you make a level, see people like it and have suggestions, retool and reupload it, deleting the original. As long as it’s saved on your console, it’ll never really be forgotten.
Give yourself time. Much can be done with Super Mario Maker on the Nintendo Wii U, and you’ll have plenty of time to learn, grow, and develop fun adventures of your own.