MEET THE DEVELOPER
What makes Mario Run
The game's director takes us behind the scenes.
Super Mario Run
Control Mario with just a tap!
Nintendo's Super Mario games have captivated players around the world with their imaginative play since 1985. Last year's Super Mario Run brought the beloved franchise to the App Store with its intuitive one-handed controls and inventive platforming challenges.
The core Mario team have worked together for more than 30 years, and know a thing or two about game design. Together, Shigeru Miyamoto, Toshihiko Nakago and Takashi Tezuka have created some of the most influential and globally adored videogames ever made. But they’re still humble about it all: “If we were a rock band, we’d have disbanded long ago,” director Tezuka says with a chuckle.
So, how does a team with this much history consistently create games that are so fun and engaging?
“After working together for 30 years, our sense of what’s good and what’s bad in terms of quality is in sync,” explains Tezuka. The three pioneers say they have a creative process that consistently works: it starts with prototypes of all kinds. Many of them go nowhere, but eventually after countless hours of tests, something clicks. And then the team dives into development for real.
That approach helped the Mario team make games they describe as having ‘Mario-ness’. Super Mario Run is no exception.
“We always made sure players felt a sense of accomplishment based on how well they played,” Tezuka explains. “We don't want to just give players a task to complete. Mario is fun because there are discoveries along the way. We believe that the players are more creative than we are, and it's their creativity that makes our games fun.”
Those who play Super Mario Run will sense that ‘Mario-ness’, as well as Nintendo's effort to appeal to a broad audience. The game combines the depth of a traditional Mario game but adds autorunning to assist novice players. It helps everyone experience that sense of accomplishment only real pros could in previous games.
With the latest update, Super Mario Run is even more accessible. In Remix 10 mode, players can zip through 10 bite-sized levels in random sequences that change with each attempt. You can even fail a level with no penalty – you’ll just proceed to the next stage and won’t need to start again. When you stop worrying about failure, the focus of the play becomes more about quick reactions and skill, says Tezuka. “We wanted players to better appreciate the tempo of Super Mario Run and play the game carefree. We wanted each encounter to feel spontaneous and unique.”
It’s this player-first philosophy that shapes the Mario games. They are all designed to elicit a sense of surprise and satisfaction – with Super Mario Run's latest update, Nintendo has added even more of its special sauce.