5 Things Super Mario Maker Taught Me About Level Design

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On the 11th of September, 2015, Super Mario Maker marked 30 years since Mario first came into our lives in all his pixelated glory. It was the first time we got to see Super Mario Bros from a different angle: as a level designer, not just a player.

Despite it’s undeniable awesomeness, Super Mario is pretty simple as a gaming concept, right? One button to sprint, one to jump. Get power-ups, don’t fall down holes or get hit by enemies. Yet with the release of Super Mario Maker, it looks like there is still a few things we could learn about this gaming classic after all…

1. Designing levels is harder than it looks.

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A few blocks here… fifty Goombas here. What’s the problem? Oh, that’s right, this is now the worst level ever! It’s very easy to underestimate the immense level of thinking, creativity and planning that goes into even the most simplistic of levels. Take Level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. for example. Think about pacing, breadcrumbs and how the level introduces you to scenarios and mechanics that will help you later on in the level. If

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