There was a time when Nintendo were plumbing new depths to keep Mario relevant. Games like Doctor Mario and Mario Party are decent efforts, but they hardly compare to the real deal.
He might be a plumber, but Mario was born to jump.
So when Nintendo made the leap themselves, to fan-made levels for Super Mario, it seemed like another strange decision by the Nippon giant.
Surely, no one could design levels like Nintendo could? And were ‘infinite’ fan-made Mario levels just too much Mario?
Nintendo proved us wrong again. Super Mario Maker became an instant success, with players all over the world creating their own incredible levels and sharing them online for others to play.
Now, it’s impossible to see classic, 2D Mario ever looking back.
The fans have made it their own.
Super Mario Maker 2 only proves the point. Despite being released less than two weeks ago, the top levels listed in the game are fantastic fun, ranging from speedy death-traps to witty designs that tell a story.
There’s one in which a friendly Koopa does all the work for you, before a twist in the tale late in the level.
There’s another based on Castlevania. There’s another level that traps you if don’t figure out the puzzle.
Mario Maker isn’t just about creating old-school platform levels. If anything, it’s about challenging those traditions and creating something new, with familiar sprites and mechanics.
You can use almost any sprite from the Mario canon to make something totally unique in the Mario universe.
Truth be told, much of the fun comes from the social aspect, which includes comments and illustrations that people can leave in the levels to mark a difficult spot or to highlight something cool.
This brings a real sense of shared community to Mario that has never felt so immediate. In addition, levels are ranked and you can see the completion percentages, which adds a layer of data that feels strangely satisfying.
Nintendo have never done online well, but at least those social aspects of Super Mario Maker 2 are nicely implemented.
Co-operative play was added in the sequel, however, and it doesn’t allow you to hook up with a friend online to play through. You can only play locally in couch co-op.
For those who thirst for authentic, Nintendo-made levels, there’s even a story mode with 100 levels for you to enjoy, which makes Super Mario Maker 2 a real plumb deal for fans.
Meanwhile, one giant leap for mankind may not have resulted in a Halo-like future just yet, but we can live vicariously through the games and forthcoming TV show based in the universe.
With Halo 4 announced (as Halo: Infinite) at E3, the momentum is once again building for Microsoft’s most prized gaming franchise.
Pablo Schreiber, who brilliantly plays an oversized Irish leprechaun in American Gods, is the man who will fill Master Chief’s boots in Showtime’s Halo TV show, set to shoot later this year for a release in 2020.
Schreiber has been posting pictures on Twitter recently showing his workout routine for the show, which includes being coached by EddieRaburn, famous for training Hollywood stars. In his updates, the actor can been seen doing push-ups, rope training, sprint training, and piloting an intergalactic vessel. OK, maybe not that last one.
Still, Schreiber certainly seemsto be taking the role seriously,which is good news for Spartans everywhere.
The women’s ‘game’
Finally, women’s football also hit new heights recently, with the Women’s World Cup raking in record viewership and attracting far more attention than ever before. Despite that, don’t expect to see women represented in the best football game any time soon.
Pro Evolution Soccer, which this year has been rebranded eFootball PES 2019, due to its focus on eSports, won’t contain female players, even though the developers would like it.
“I personally support the women’s game and have been following the World Cup closely,” the series’ European brand manager, Lennart Bobzien, told website GameSpot.
However, we currently don’t have any plans to integrate women into eFootball PES 2020.
This is partly because EA own the rights to the World Cup in gaming. EA’s Fifa series did integrate women’s teams a few years ago, to a limited degree, but it remains to be seen if they will increase that presence for Fifa 2020.