Darin: I’m Grouchy!

Andy: I’m much less Grouchy!

Both: And We are the Grouchy Gamers!

Darin: HEY EVERYBODY, welcome back to the Grouchy Gamers. I’m Darin, and this is

Andy: I’m Andy

Darin: And today we are going to be doing something completely different, that we have never done before – playing Mario Maker 2!

Andy: I’m really excited

Darin: Me too. I just need to find a level….you know, it’s been a while since I’ve played a Mario level before, so I think I’ll start off with something a little easier (navigates menu, selects first level)

Darin: Oh yeah, this is so easy – check this out! (Falls into the hole). (Yells) What the hecky!

Andy: What happened?

Darin: I don’t know, I just fell into a hole! (Does it again). Oh Jeebus!

Andy: I’ve never seen, player or heard of video games before but is there any way to jump over that gap?

Darin: OF COURSE NOT! I don’t even think this game has a jump button. Besides, I’ve already tried that, obviously. (dies again) Oh, I have an idea! What if I tried jumping OVER the gap? (Jumps over gap)

Andy: Wow, great job!  I never would have thought of that

Darin: Yeah, well that’s why I’m the gamer man! I’m the one who succeeds! (begins to clear the rest of the level) I just needed to get warmed up

Andy: So is this the last Mario game ever?

Darin: What do you mean?

Andy: Well, since everybody can make anything they want doesn’t that mean they can never release a new Mario game? You can just play these levels forever!

Darin: Well, not exactly. Mario maker and Mario are actually really different, and a lot of levels in Mario Maker are stuff you would never actually find in a Mario game. Take this for example (scrolls through menu, selects auto level.)

Andy: Holy cow, how are you doing that! You must be amazing at this game!

Darin: I am pretty incredible, but I’m not actually doing anything – the level is designed so that you don’t even need to touch your controller

Andy: That’s so awesome!

Darin: It’s pretty cool, but it’s not really “fun”. That’s one of the things that makes Mario Maker so different – it’s really geared towards the players who make the levels, and showing off what they make, rather than the people who play the levels. A lot of levels are made more to show off the skills of the person making them, rather than to make an enjoyable experience for the player.

Andy: That make sense, I mean I wouldn’t want to play a whole game that just plays itself like that

Darin: Totally. Making these sorts of levels takes a lot of time and creativity, to get all of the details exactly right, but at the end of the day they aren’t the kind of levels you would put in an actual Mario game because they don’t put the player first. And that’s not all (scrolls through menu, selects music level). Check this out!

(Music level plays)

Andy: Now this is awesome! It’s so cool to me that some people will make music out of anything. Isn’t this great!

Darin: Of course, I love this song! And I also think it’s amazing that people will use tools like this in interesting and creative ways. However, you know what music is also really good? Mario music! Mario Maker has a pretty limited set of background songs, but in an original Mario game they can come up with original musical compositions to fit the level without having to rely on note blocks or anything. They just do it! If they want to, they can even beam the music straight into your head using infrared rays!

*Editor’s Note: Darin’s statement is incorrect, and there is no evidence that Nintendo is capable of beaming music into anybody’s head.

Andy: Yeah, I get what you mean. The song was good, but it really wasn’t much of a level.

Darin: Of course, being a Mario master, this game does have some of my favorite types of levels as well (navigates to really difficult level) really tough levels! Of course ~hehe~, they aren’t very tough for ME

(Immediately dies)

Andy: You almost had it!

Darin: (dies repeatedly throughout this section, growing more and more frustrated). You can find some tough levels in regular Mario games (DANG IT), but for the most part they try to keep the difficulty to a level that most people will be able to overcome (COME ON!). Nintendo realized early on that making a game this difficult is going to discourage a lot of players, when they released Mario 2

Andy: That’s the one with the turnips, right? It didn’t seem that bad!

Darin: That’s the Mario 2 they released in America, but the original Mario 2 was a totally different game (Oh….get damp, just get damp….). It wasn’t released outside of Japan because it was so difficult – like, really, ridiculously, unfun difficult. Of course, I could handle it no problem if I wanted to, and I wouldn’t even need to rewind or anything (Start breathing loudly and rapidly, calms down “I got this, I got this). Nowadays, when Nintendo wants to include a really challenging level they usually make it optional, something that hardcore players can choose to play if they want to, but isn’t required like the secret “Darker Side” level in Mario Odyssey, or the bonus “Cheese world” in Mario 64

*Editors Note: There is not, nor has there ever been, a “Cheese world” in Super Mario 64. We again apologize for Darin’s inaccurate statements

Andy: Gee wiz, I never knew that!

Darin: Yeah, well its totally true (Dies again, completely loses it. Pauses the game, begins raging and yelling randomly away from the microphone)

Andy: You alright lil’ pup?
Darin: (Comes back to the microphone) Yeah, I’m fine. Just fine. Yep, this is the kind of levels that I like (Dies again). There aren’t many of them in traditional Mario games, but they are all over the place in Mario Maker. However, there are still some differences. Generally, when a game designer is making a level they are on the player’s side. Even when it’s hard, they truly WANT the player to win. In Mario Maker this often isn’t the case – the level designer can see the player as their enemy, and the goal is to show of your own skills, rather than designing an experience for the player. (Dies again).  You know what (switches away from the level) I don’t think I’m gonna play that level anymore. After all, it’s so easy that it isn’t even worth my time!

Andy: Yeah, it did look pretty easy

(Navigates to traditional-style Mario maker level) Ahh, there we go. You know, making levels that are way too easy, like that last one, can be just as bad as making one way too hard. When designing a full game it’s important to provide a steady difficulty curve, which is something you don’t have to think about as much when designing just a single level

Andy: This looks just like a totally normal level! I could definitely see this in a real Mario game!

Darin: I could too. There are a lot of really well constructed traditional levels out there. While a lot of level designers use this game to show off their design skills in a way that isn’t always the best for players, there are plenty of people out there who truly just want to make cool stuff for other people. Whenever you open up a tool to a wider audience of people this creates the possibility for people to make a lot of bad stuff, but a lot of good can come out of it too. People make levels with cool themes, unique mechanics, all sorts of stuff. Even when it comes to Automatic levels, speedruns, stuff like that, there is an audience out there that likes that stuff and a huge community pumping out high quality content for them.

Andy: I didn’t realize that these games were so different. I figured it would be just like Mario, only with an endless supply of fun levels. But it sounds like the audiences are pretty different.

Darin: Well, there is some overlap. But I would put it this way – if you are a casual player, you will probably enjoy a traditional Mario game, like New Super Mario Bros, more than this. The average level of quality in the levels is higher, and you don’t have to do so much work to find high quality content. However, if you want to practice your level design skills or are a hardcore Mario player who has already seen everything the traditional games have to offer, then Mario Maker would be right up your alley.

Andy: I think its almost time for “Coming up next on Grouchy Gamers”!

Darin: Already? I guess time flies when you are having fun

Andy: It really does. To all you exquisites out there – if you enjoyed this video, give it a like and subscribe for more game design content. If you want to see more, check out our other videos, like the last one that looks at the importance of designing interesting decisions in games.

Darin: You can also check out the Rempton Games blog in the description down below. And join us next time, where we will begin our dive into the lore of the Mario series. And as always….

Both: Thank you so much for watching, and we’ll see you all next time

Posted by:Caleb Compton

I am the Head Designer of Rempton Games, and primary writer for the Rempton games blog. I am currently a graduate student in computer science at Kansas State University, and work on game designs every spare moment that I can.

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