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Nintendo is using Super Mario Maker to teach kids game design

As a fan of creative platformers, Super Mario Maker is a dream come true for me, with thousands of amazing user-created levels to conquer. With such an intuitive interface and its progression-based approach to level creation, it’s also a perfect tool to learn the basics of game design, and Nintendo is hoping this will encourage more kids to learn the craft at an early age.

During an event held yesterday at the San Francisco Public Library, Nintendo employees introduced kids (and their parents, since it’s never too late to learn) to the basics of level design in Super Mario Maker. They were shown “the ins and outs of video game level design” through a series of workshops, where they were, of course, also tasked with creating their own Super Mario Maker levels.

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“Games like Super Mario Maker allow kids to take control of storytelling elements and game design and encourage them on the path from consumers to creators,” says the San Francisco Public Library’s Megan Anderson in the official release.

Knowing how Shigeru Miyamoto designed the original Super Mario Bros., this point is especially relevant. Instead of a tool like Super Mario Maker, Miyamoto sketched out his levels on graph paper, drawing in particular obstacles and enemies at the exact point they would appear in the game.

Of course, Super Mario Maker uses a similar grid system to allow for the same level of precision, but its progression system is what makes creating levels much less daunting. Instead of giving creators access to every available item or obstacle from the beginning, it only includes a select few, encouraging proficiency in the basics of platformer design before moving on to stuff that’s a little more … complicated.

Have you thought about designing your own games after playing Super Mario Maker? Let us know in the comments!