Amidst a sea of eSports, survival games, and new releases, Super Mario Maker repeatedly floats to the top of the most viewed games on Twitch.TV. While it’s has yet to pass into the realm of Top 3 Most Viewed Games (usually dominated by competitive games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, CS:GO, and Hearthstone,) Nintendo’s blue-collared boy has taken the streaming community by surprise. While Super Mario Maker did not receive a lot of buzz before its release, great critical reception and a rapidly growing enthusiast community quickly revealed that Mario Maker would be one of the best games 2015 has to offer. At the same time, Mario Maker is the best new game to livestream (and to spectate!) in 2015. Here’s why:
1. Random Elements: a different viewing experience every time
In Super Mario Maker, the 100 Mario Challenge—which gives players 100 lives to beat 16 randomly picked user-created levels—is a crapshoot where terrible level design runs rampant; however, watching someone else play it is a different story. Levels that would be horrible to play become hilarious to watch, sometimes even moreso than the ones that are well put together. Every 100 Mario Challenge is totally different. You’re never watching someone play the same level twice. Super Mario Maker is infinitely rewatchable for the same reason competitive games are: it never plays out the same way twice.
2. Unprecedented viewer interaction
Super Mario Maker has the highest level of viewer interaction of any game due to viewer-created levels. Often, streamers will have the level ID number that they are playing available on their overlay, such that the entire channel can play along with them. Watching a streamer play your level (and die repeatedly to it, over and over) can be really rewarding, and the chat room is sure to be very… honest about how they feel about your submitted level. Not only does it make for a great show, but being able to submit you levels to be played live is a great way to enjoy Super Mario Maker even more. Making a level is more fun when you know someone will play it, and you’ll also be more conscious to make the level well designed… or not. But hey, that can be fun too.
3. Easily Digestible and Understandable
One of the reasons why Super Mario Maker is more critically acclaimed than similar games such as Little Big Planet is that it is more readable and easier to use. While Little Big Planet has a far more robust engine for creation and better curation tools, SMM operates off the fact that well… everyone knows what a Mushroom does in Mario games. For this reason, SMM is one of the most watchable games out there, which is easily achievable when you compare it to the likes of League of Legends or DOTA 2. That said, while Mario Maker is easily understood, the game still has…
4. A High Skill Ceiling, Can Never Be Truly Completed
Whether you want to discuss speedrunners such as Trihex, iateyourpie, Witwix, or designers like CosmoWright and Panga, Super Mario Maker has caught on among several highly talented players. While no one actually takes a speedrun of the 100 Mario Challenge seriously (please tell me Trihex doesn’t take it seriously), beating Panga’s suite of levels takes some serious time and commitment. It’s also fascinating to consider that there is an endless stream of difficult user-made challenges to overcome.
5. Rivalries Between Creators and Designers are Even Better than Pro Wrestling
Forget Austin and McMahon, the new best rivalry is Dan Rykert and Patrick Klepek’s “The Rykoning”, in which Rykert calls out Klepek on Youtube:
“I’ve been pulling punches when I make levels. I’ve been doing things to make it easier when I know I could have been way more of a jerk about things… but this time, Patrick, I’ve made a bad level. It’s not bad in the way it’s poorly designed, it’s meticulously and perfectly designed to break you as a person. I’m talking about the kind of bad where I had to sacrifice a part of my soul to make something this diabolical.”
The two made a bet: Patrick had three days to beat Dan’s level. The winner had to donate 100 dollars to the loser’s charity of choice. The two then created a GoFundMe and raised over 12,000 dollars during the event for charity. Due to generous donations from the community, the money was split evenly between the American Heart Association and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.
6. Lesser Known Streamers Will Have an Easier Time Growing Their Audience
Many viewers for Mario Maker aren’t interested in the top streamers; instead, they want to find people playing viewer levels so they can try and get their level played. Because of this, some will gravitate toward streams that have fewer viewers as it increases the odds their level will be seen. As a new streamer, Mario Maker is a great pick for this reason: it will give you a small pool of viewers to start off with thus giving your stream a chance to prove itself. If viewers stick around after their level is played, you know you’re doing something right.
Who is your favorite Mario Maker Streamer? What's your favorite Mario Maker level? Have a level you want us to try? Tell us in the comment section below!