One day, I decided to come up with a completely new powerup for the Mario Bros. universe… something that hadn’t been done before, but would fit in their universe without duplicating a powerup that Mario had previously been able to get. Thus, Bullet Mario was born!
Imagine, if you will, a wide open level of Super Mario Galaxy in which Bullet Bills are flying everywhere, and the only way to get to your destination is to fly with them as a bullet. But beware, because hitting a wall will destroy a Bullet Bill, and as Bullet Mario, if you hit a wall, it will destroy you too.
I figured that would be a cool idea for a level, so I made a song for it entitled “Billions of Bullet Bills”. You’ll find it at the Music Player, song number 20.
I’ve mentioned how I’d love to make a Wii game someday, but to do that, there are a lot of things that I still have to learn, and one of them is good level design. If you’ve ever played a game where every location feels the same, or if you’ve played a game where finishing the level requires some kind of near-impossible jumps and maneuvers, you’ve been a victim of bad level design.
I decided that one of the best places to look for good level design is in popular games and memorable games, and very few games are more popular or memorable than Super Mario Bros, and Level 1-1 is so well known that it became a stage in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, so let’s see what makes this level tick!
(I’m going to be writing this with the assumption that you are not particularly good at video games. It helps to see games from a new user’s point of view.)
Here we are, the start of the level. It starts out very boring, and I’m pretty sure that’s on purpose. All you see is Mario, the sky, and the ground. You try walking to the left, but that doesn’t go so well. You try walking to the right. Oh, what’s that? A question mark box? What could be inside? It’s very subtle, but putting that question mark box on screen gives you a gentle push as to which way you should go, inviting you to explore a bit more.
(click to read the rest of this post…)
By now, most everyone who knows video games knows Mario, and those that own a Wii are probably already aware of Super Mario Galaxy, a game that burst onto the scene in late 2007. As of this writing, it has already sold over 8 million copies, and my reviewing the game is not likely to cause much of a bump in sales. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to review it anyway, because it is one of the few video games ever made that I could call perfect.
Two years ago, when I heard that Mario Galaxy was coming, I decided that it might be wise for me to get used to playing Mario games in 3D, as I’d never played classics like Mario 64. So, I picked up a copy of the Gamecube game Super Mario Sunshine – which, of course, plays on the Wii – and started playing. I soon discovered that I was not particularly good at the game… I had a difficult time mastering the controls, and there were too many precision jumps for me to master. Less than a tenth of the way through the game, I put the game away, hoping that Super Mario Galaxy would not be as difficult for me.
Fortunately, it is not. The controls are perfect, and the spin ability while jumping means that, if I’m about to land somewhere that I wasn’t intending to, I have a second chance before landing to correct my jump and land properly, which was much easier to master than Mario Sunshine’s F.L.U.D.D. system.
(click to read the rest of this post…)
Another fan named Alex sent an e-mail saying “My name is Alex and I would like to see you draw Waluigi because he’s my favorite Mario character.”
Why not? I’m having a great deal of fun with these Mario ones:
Somehow, I don’t think that Waluigi would feel particularly bad to have been the one SENDING the blue turtle shell…
Side note about Waluigi: the first time I ever saw a video of Charles Martinet, he was doing the voice of Waluigi saying “I’m Waluigi! Everybody’s a cheater but me!”. Charles Martinet, in case you were unaware, is the English voice of many Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, and Wario. Anyway, when I saw the video, I was surprised seeing what the voice of the character actually looked like, and I’m fairly certain that memory influenced this picture.
Over the last week and a half, I received not one but two e-mails requesting a scared Luigi. One e-mail suggested that Luigi should be running scared from a ghost, so here we go.
I get the feeling that Casper the Friendly Ghost isn’t what the e-mailers had in mind.
Clockwise from top left: Goomba, Lakitu and Spiny, Bullet Bill, Bowser, Angry Sun, Piranha Plant.
Let me just say, Bowser is surprisingly complicated. I wouldn’t look forward to animating him.