Super Mario Maker 2 is, at its core, a toolset to make Mario levels, places where you jump around a screen, typically from left to right. What people actually do with it, however, is whatever the hell they want. Take the remarkable “3D Maze House (P59-698-55G)” by creator ねぎちん a level somehow manages to credibly re-create the experience of playing a first-person (!!) adventure game like Wizardy, something Nintendo cleary never intended. Yet here we are.
This thing even has a frickin’ mini-map, and truly must be seen in motion to be believed:
Full credit to game designer Tom Hall—yes, the same Tom Hall behind games like DOOM, Anachronox, and many others—for sharing this level on Twitter, sparking my own interest.
The basic setup is this: Mario needs to escape a creepy house by collecting a few coins, thus granting him a special key for a locked door. The top left of the screen is what Mario “sees,” while the bottom gives details on where Mario is located—not just what floor, but precisely where in the house, too—and the right is how Mario makes navigation choices.
The level itself is pretty easy, but the gimmick is astounding.
It would not be shocking if you’re unfamiliar with the types of levels 3D Maze House is riffing on; they’ve largely fallen out of style, outside of nostalgic revivals. Years ago, such setups were very common, specifically in RPGs—Wizardry, The Bard’s Tale, Phantasy Star, etc.
Here’s the original Phantasy Star, for example:
Now compare that to “3D Maze House,” and you’ll immediately see the connection:
Mario Maker 2 doesn’t allow custom art, but through extremely smart use of what the game does have, the designer used forced perspective to create the illusion of a first-person view.
You can watch a complete playthrough of the level via YouTube creator BeardBear:
Whatever problems Mario Maker 2 might have, whatever qualms I might have about how Nintendo handles the game, I will never doubt the creativity of the community driving it.
Follow Patrick on Twitter. If you know anything interesting happening in Mario Maker, drop an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He's also available privately on Signal.