Today, I wrote my very own level of Super Mario Bros. at E3. Featuring a pyramid of goombas, several randomly placed pipes, a dozen mystery blocks in a row and countless coins scattered throughout, my creation was a jumbled mess; coming up with a cool world for Mario to navigate is a lot easier said than done. But it was mine.
In the first half of next year, Wii U owners will have the same opportunity thanks to a game called Mario Maker. It's Nintendo's first attempt at producing a level creator similar to LittleBigPlanet or Project Spark, and it tugged at my heartstrings. For a brief moment, I shared the same experience as a small group of video game designers: Armed with a Wii U GamePad and its included stylus, I placed enemies, pipes, platforms and other Mario obstacles anywhere I wanted. In my demo, I was allowed to choose between the original game's 8-bit style and the high-def style from the franchise's recent titles. And just to make sure my Mario genesis was actually playable, I was able to play through it in real time.