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Takashi Tezuka

At Japan Expo in Paris this Summer, both Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka were present at a panel / stage show and talked a bit about their creations during their time at Nintendo. Mario was an especially big topic, given the series 30th anniversary this year. The video below is a small excerpt from the show. Among other things, Tezuka and Miyamoto talk about level design in Super Mario Maker and give tips on how to build a great level.

We’ve seen a wide array of Super Mario Maker since its launch last month. Quite a few of the user-made levels have proven to be particularly difficult.

Takashi Tezuka, a well-known developer of the Super Mario Bros. series, told EDGE this month that he isn’t surprised that many tough courses are being made. He also mentioned that these creators don’t truly realize how difficult they are for other players since they are already aware of the design and how things will play out.

He said:

“When you design levels for a product, you need to take into consideration a wide range of users. This limits the amount of extremely difficult courses to only a fairly small part of the whole game. I expected that the users who wanted to play more of the hard courses would be attracted to Super Mario Maker, so it’s not surprising to see that a lot of difficult courses are being made.”

“There is a tendency for the courses people make to be a little harder than they think they are. The creator already knows the design, where they have placed their traps, and the best route to take. So it would generally be easier for them to play through than someone trying it for the first time. As a result, the course ends up being more difficult than the creator meant it to be.”

Tezuka also noted the following when asked if any levels have caught his eye thus far:

“I’ve been watching lots of different courses on YouTube. It was quite a surprise how much fun it was to watch the videos, without even playing myself. There are so many intriguing and inventive courses, like one which you couldn’t beat if you picked up a mushroom. It’s been a huge motivation for us developers to do better.”

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Last month’s issue of GamesMaster contains an interview with well-known Nintendo developer Takashi Tezuka. There were a few interesting topics that we wanted to highlight.

First, here’s what Tezuka said when asked about why Mario resonates so well with people and the key to his longtime success:

“Personally, I think that even before people come to like Mario as a character, it’s the gameplay of Super Mario that really resonates with them. We created Super Mario Bros paying close attention to intuitive feelings – things that anyone in the world can relate to – which users feel through the gameplay; running is fun, jumping high is something you want to do, falling is scary and spikes hurt you if you touch them, etc.

I think it all started with how the gameplay resonated with players. From there it’s been how we’ve continued to make Mario games for so long, and all the work we have put into making sure that Mario is never used in an inappropriate way, that has allowed him to slowly become such a well-loved character.”

Last month’s issue of GamesTM has a lengthy interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. As you would expect, the discussion is largely focused on the Super Mario Bros. series.

A few interesting comments came about when Miyamoto and Tezuka were asked if they ever made any choices that they were concerned about being controversial. Miyamoto started things off, and spoke about how it’s difficult catering to both advanced players and beginners.

He said:

“For me one of the things was maybe the gap between the really advanced players and the first-time players. The difficulty balance is always something that I hear frustrations about from the public, whichever way we decide to go. We always have the testing team test our game, but whatever they say is really fun, the first-time players might consider to be very difficult. One of the things I do sometimes at the later phases of development is go in and hear the testing team’s requests and actually pull that away and lower the barrier or change what it is they want. Sometimes I even hear from the testing team, ‘You’re destroying the fun’, but on the other hand, the flipside is you hear the first-time players saying ‘If I can’t clear a level it’s not fun for me. If I can’t complete a game it’s not fun for me’. The more years that have passed, the gap between advanced and first-time players has become wider.”

This month’s issue of GamesTM has an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. The two developers talked about all things Mario, including the evolution of the character’s design.

Tezuka shared the following when asked about Mario’s appearance and how Nintendo has resisted the urge to modernize him:

“I do think it’s changed a bit… For example, in Mario 3 we made him a little cuter. And perhaps with the Tanooki tail and the cape we definitely added items and features so that there’s more variety in Mario’s actions.”

Miyamoto shared a few words on the subject of evolving Mario as well. He also stated that Nintendo keeps Mario close to the vest, and doesn’t allow other teams to develop the core titles since the company wants to be control of the character and his abilities.

“In terms of the 3D Mario performance, it has evolved, but we have always been consistent in trying to be cautious in terms of when you do a B-dash, how far he can jump or how many blocks he can break. We have made it a little bit simpler for players as it’s evolved, because there are more complicated things that we’re asking the players to do. In the original Mario when you’re stopped he can’t do B-dash, but you can do it now with more recent games. So we have made it a little bit simpler and tweaked it throughout the years. In terms of Mario games we definitely don’t have other teams develop it, because we do want to control it and manage those features.”

Not all of Super Mario Maker’s content is available to players as soon as they boot up the game. Basically, you need to play around with the level editor for about 15 minutes before new tools and items are added.

In the latest issue of EDGE, Nintendo producer Takashi Tezuka spoke about Super Mario Maker’s unlock system. He told the magazine:

“This decision was part of our basic policy. We wanted the rewards to increase as you became more familiar with the game and to look forward to what would unlock the next day,” he says. “From our testing, we learned that if too much was available all at once then many players weren’t sure what they should do and didn’t have as much fun with the game. However, I do understand the feeling of wanting to unlock things earlier.”

Nintendo did end up changing Super Mario Maker’s unlock system right before launch. Previously, players would need to wait several days to unlock all of the game’s content.

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Well before the release of Super Mario Maker, there was some confusion as to whether or not the game would feature unique physics for the different game styles. It wasn’t entirely clear if Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U would all play like they originally did.

This is something that was pretty much assumed with so many people getting their hands on Super Mario Maker, but we can now officially say that all game styles are based on New Super Mario Bros. U. And in an interview with EDGE in its latest issue, well-known Mario developer Takashi Tezuka explained why Nintendo went in that direction.

Tezuka said:

“In the end we used the New Super Mario Bros. U system for all of the game styles. There was quite a lot of discussion about this within the team. Staff who had strong attachment to the original games expressed a strong desire to see implemented the same system they remembered. However, when players who are used to the modern Mario physics tried playing with the old physics, they found it much more difficult than they remembered. The original Super Mario Bros would only scroll to the right, so we tentatively made it so that it doesn’t scroll left in this game style. However, many people on the team complained that it was less fun to play. Still, we have left in some unique aspects to each game style, like how you can carry shells from Super Mario Bros 3 onwards, but you can’t throw them upwards until Super Mario World, and you can only wall-jump in New Super Mario Bros. U.”

USA Today has published a new interview with Takashi Tezuka. Tezuka spoke all about Super Mario Bros., including the original game’s origins, the series’ legacy, and why it’s been able to maintain such longevity.

You can find a roundup of Tezuka’s comments below. A couple of additional questions and answers are on USA Today here.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., Nintendo of America added a “special interview” video to its YouTube channel today. Along with some talk about making the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Maker, the opening and closing portions also show a young Shigeru Miyamoto! You can watch the full video below.

Nintendo has previously spoken about how a part of Super Mario Maker’s origins stemmed from wanting to create a new Mario Paint. This was a desire held by longtime developer Takashi Tezuka.

During the 30th anniversary Mario concert in Japan today, Tezuka reiterated that he wanted to create a Mario Paint title for Wii U. However, Shigeru Miyamoto pushed Tezuka to make “something grander”. That ultimately led to the creation of Super Mario Maker.

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