Bonus: Playing your Super Mario Maker Levels | GMTK Extra

Hi, this is Mark Brown with a special spin-off
episode of Game Maker’s Toolkit. I am not a games designer. That’s not a big
secret. I could perhaps have made it a little clearer earlier. I can’t speak from experience or
a position of authority. I’m a games critic by profession, and that’s
the manner with which I approach these videos. I analyse, critique, break down, and examine
existing games to see what makes them tick, and see if they have anything we can learn
from. The videos are primarily designed to be interesting
to people who simply play games. To get a better idea of why your favourites are so
damn good. But, of course, as the name suggests, I also hope that developers – particularly
indie game makers and students – can get something out of it too. Well, these past few weeks, I got some tangible,
immediate feedback that you can. And that this method has merit. That there’s something
to be gained by looking at and learning from existing material. And it came in the form of your Super Mario
Maker levels. Which is what I’m showing on the screen right now. These are stages that
you shared with me on Twitter and on YouTube, often saying that you took the design ideas
that I highlighted into consideration when crafting your course designs. So, in Iglian’s levels, he gives you safety
nets while you’re figuring out how the stage’s mechanic works. He builds his entire course
around one concept, making it more difficult and interesting as he goes. I remember wondering why he put a random enemy
wandering around a block, and then understood that it gave you a chance to see how this
foe works before it reappears in the middle of this tricky section. I liked “The Spring’s The Thing” from Nick
Burnham. I love this bit especially: it lures you down here, making you think that there
must be something good in that question mark block. But nope! It’s just a coin. That bit
really made me laugh. And Mithoswrath has lots of fun at your expense
in Raccoon Plains, with invisible blocks and runaway mushrooms that keep you guessing all
the time. Others discovered unique gimmicks, within
the limitations of Mario Maker. Travis built an entire level around enemies being shot
out of cannons, and ramped up the difficulty beautifully. Drew Fitzpatrick’s stage is all about springs
on springs, and introduces the idea in a safe space so you can test out the timing and physics
in peace. Violet’s gliding ground grotto, which is a name that sounds like it has been
ripped straight out of a Mario game, has these terrific bouncing platforms. Carlos found that falling platforms don’t
fall if you’re bouncing on a spring, and made a stage around that. But he introduces the
idea bit by bit, in a forgiving and thoughtful manner. Overall, your levels are great. And it’s because
you took basic lessons from Mario games – lessons about evolving challenges, limiting your toolset,
and considering safe zones – but you made something new. Something fresh and different
and personal, but inarguably improved by taking note of what came before. I must add, that the whole thing filled me
wth pride. I’ve had a number of developers tell me that others videos have helped them.
I’ve had teachers ask if they can use my videos at school. I’ve been asked to talk about this
stuff at an event next year. But, nothing quite matched seeing your stuff,
and realising that you had used my analysis to make your stuff better. And it has made
me even more excited to keep making the show. To keep thinking out loud about games – old
and new – in the hopes that it can help someone. Somewhere. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I wanted to share
the code for the level I made in that video. The course is called Saw Subject, and it’s
not exactly the same as the stage in the video. It’s better, thanks to your smart feedback.
I used red bullet bills in the 1up chase and fixed the spike trap at the end. I added a
precursor challenge to the note-block leap and smoothed out the difficulty spike on the
flamethrowers. I killed the coin-spewing troll pipe and removed some of the spinies too. In the interest of time, I’ve put ‘thank you’s
to everyone who helped with the new version of the stage in the description. I actually have another level too. This one
is called Pipeflip Airship, and is a mind-bending stage where the entire level flips upside
down whenever you go in a pipe. I took inspiration from the Super Mario Bros 3 level we looked
at in the video, where the world changed whenever Mario went through a door. I also put in a
joke at the player’s expense. But you’ll have to play it yourself to see that. But this isn’t about me, it’s about you guys.
So, I wanted to say thanks for sharing your levels with me. It was actually quite an amazing
experience and I can’t quite put into words how it made me feel without this video going
completely weird. So I’ll just say, cheers. And also thanks to everyone who has just been
watching the show. I’ve been doing Game Maker’s Toolkit for almost a year now and your support
has been incredible. I appreciate every comment, like, upvote, retweet, article, forum thread,
and email. And, of course, an extra special thanks to my incredible Patreon backers.


  • DanBrad

    Good guy! Thank you for the videos, your doing great work!

  • Carlos Smith

    Thanks for showing off my level mark!

    Sorry for taking my level down! I got feedback about a broken element in my level and had to fix it. I also made the ending a little more bearable and easier to to complete.

    The stage is now "Heights and Spikes Redux" (F248-0000-0067-53D2)

  • DaveKap

    Aw crap, I forgot I was supposed to give you level codes. ๐Ÿ™

  • Andrew Flack

    Your Pipeflip Airship was great and it gave me a pretty cool idea for a level, so I thought I'd post it here:

    The Old Goomba/Koopa Switcheroo: A8A3-0000-0076-C434

    Thanks for the inspiration and keep making more videos and levels; you're great at both of them!

  • Game Maker's Toolkit

    Right! I think I've played every level you've sent me, and provided my thoughts where I could. Thanks for much for sharing them with me, it has been super cool. But I think I better stop now or I'll never get anything done again!

    Feel free to keep sending them to for others to play (or if I find a spare hour here or there) but I'm afraid I can't guarantee to play them from here on out.

    Thanks for your comments. New episode soon!

  • Mauricio Marinho

    Your videos are great and really, really helpful. Even more for those of us who don't have access to quality education on games (i'm from Brazil).

    I just wish more of these! MOAAAR! (:

  • Mellow Gaming

    A friend of mine brought Mario maker around tonight. Had quite a bit of fun on it. I made a real simple level based on taking one idea and expanding it, offered up a little cathartic bonus near the end too. It's very easy and short though. If anyone fancies trying the code is 2DCD-0000-007D-59D5

    I feel I may have to get the game for myself at some point.

    Found a cool level based on Wario Ware Inc earlier too which was a series of small one idea rooms. Even played the Wario Ware tune before entering each room.

  • Nick Burnham

    Thanks so much for putting my level in the video, that made my night! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Olodus

    Oh yeah I saw your "World flip" level when Giant Bomb played it on UPF. It is a really cool idea.


    Hi Mark,

    I've been watching this series for about nine months right now. I think it's the best video series on how game design thus far. My favorite part is how you actually "show," things instead of just telling us about them. Keep going at it!

  • Kristian Atanasov

    Hey thanks so much for the mention! Your series is awesome, there definitely needs to be more game design analysis videos out there and yours are some of the best!

    If you're considering it, I would love to see more videos about levels you made. Possibly sharing the some of the thought process that goes into the design and how they improve over consequent iterations. Could be a good way to share them with people who don't have a Wii and cant play them otherwise.

    All the best, and hope you win that award – good luck!

  • Lasse Flick

    I like your Pipeflip Airship, it have a great balance between hard and easy!
    If you have time, Would you try my course: Cloud Puzzle?
    ID: 747D – 0000 – 0037 – A467

    I used some of the Elements you Said in some of your videos. Hope you like it!

  • Bari Silvestre

    Hi! I have also used your video on the 4 step level design to make Kill the Plumber. Every new enemy is introduced after 4 levels. So everytime I introduce the new enemy controls and abilities, develop it, add a twist (like timed level or new powers) and then conclude it with 4th level. I also teach at local school and do talks at conference and have shown them how useful your video is. here is the link to Kill the Plumber. It is also one of the 10 finalists at IGF China this October. thanks once again

  • JordyT1998

    The Cristopher113 level called "little big plannets" sounds like a very back handed homage to LBP for PS3-PS4-Vita
    Or was the Little big world called Little Big World? I can't tell, either way I don't like its title.
    Thanks for an amazing 'follow up' (the word you were looking for) video! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • JoPe - TuYaTroJoueY

    happy to see your advice so relevant for lot's of beginers un game design or even veterans ? ๐Ÿ™‚
    i've also shared lot's of the on the gaming analysis community i run : TuYaTroJoueY (YouPlayedTooMuch in French) ! Hope to have spread your advice to a much broader audience… (french audience in this case :p )

  • qvistus82

    I've seen a lot of levels that follow these principles and they are usually good levels. Actually I've seen so many of them that it started to feel formulaic (when the design philosophy is too obviously visible). It's just like in music: In the old times there were strict rules to how you were supposed to compose music, what intervals, rhythms and harmonic patterns to use. It wasn't until about 100 years ago when people started to break those rules. People booed Stravinsky when they heard the Rite Of The Spring for the first time. Good level design is pretty subjective thing – just like music. This Nintendo's philosophy of game design is only one philosophy among others. They try to make games for everybody but who is this "everybody"? Some people like Dark Souls instead and some people absolutely love those Pit Of Panga levels in Super Mario Maker. But I have to admit that you have brought out good points, like limiting the toolbox.

  • Baggigamer hd

    good luck ๐Ÿ˜ธ๐Ÿ˜ป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ โ˜โ˜โ˜๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘โœŒโœŒโœŒโœŒ

  • Rogue Carrot

    Airship Sabotage seems to be missing now. I guess the maker removed it?

  • Ryan N

    I've been binge-watching your shows. It's so hard to get good information on just the general idea of what makes video games tick and makes them fun. Your videos do a great job of that and teaching me how to think about games, while also being fun videos to watch. So thanks for the series!

  • greensaishadow

    I am making my first game in unity and the one thing no one has instructional videos on is what makes games good. Although I had some fairly solid ideas from other sources, this series of videos has been the best in terms of really breaking down existing mechanics and looking at what works vs what doesn't and most importantly answers why. Every single time I watch one I have an "ah huh!" moment and thats amazing in its self. Please keep making these video's.

  • A. F.

    Hey mark!

    ย I love Game Maker's Toolkit Iโ€™ve
    been a subscriber for a while now! Any chance youโ€™re going to play any of your
    subscriber levels again in SMM? If so I would love for you to check out my
    Single zone challenge levels! Iโ€™ve taken A LOT of the lessons your have talked
    about in your videos and tried to apply them to the levels!! so here are the IDโ€™s
    I would love your feedback on them as Iโ€™m always egger to learn more!

    ID: 163B-0000-01D9-FC5A

    ID: 9A5D-0000-01D9-FD69

    ID: BA42-0000-01D9-FD70

    ID: 96F5-0000-01D9-FE5D

    ID: 173D-0000-01D9-FE77

    ID: 26E4-0000-01D9-FE8B

    ID: 7AB0-0000-01D9-FE9A

    ID: D262-0000-01D9-FEA2

    ID: 2930-0000-01D9-FEB1

    ID: 0C12-0000-01D9-FEBA

  • Ultimo Games

    is an indie game developer I can already say that your videos helped me with my designs and insights. So thanks mr GameMaker's Toolkit!

  • Mipmap Games

    IMO you've got the best voice on youtube even when you're sick

  • S L Koch

    I hope many game devs take heed and this helps improve the overall effort in design. Your work is fantastic and I'm very glad you do what you do. Thank you so much for making videos!

  • Markus Wernig

    The Wiggler Express

  • Ace shinigami

    First I'd like to say that I am a hobbyist gamedev who has enjoyed your videos thoroughly. Although I was fairly confident that you didn't make games through some of the things you said now that it is confirmed I think you should try making a game or two. I have watched the majority of your videos and have found none about designing a core mechanic, and instead more about things like level design and balance, which is fine but I think if you tried your hand at game development you might have some ideas on the subject. If you ever decide to try making a game let me recomend love2d its how I made my start

  • Zach B.

    uses ideas discussed here

  • Alex Field

    I just saw this video for the first time. Thank you so much for including my level in the video!!! While I have slowed down my production of Super Mario Maker levels, I am using the advice found in all of your videos to help me with my own game making. I design and program games and these videos will really help me polish and make my better. Hopefully, they will one day be good enough to release somewhere like steam. Thanks again for including me in the video. Best Regards, Alex Field

  • Munay ร‘ien

    I'm an actor, from Chile, and i use your videos to create new forms to approach to our plays. Thank you, you're great.

  • KuribohLV9

    When I watch this video again, it really makes me happy to be subscribed to one of the best video game analysts on Youtube. Keep up the good work Mark ๐Ÿ™‚ you are a great inspiration to me.

  • Maya Tamika

    How do you not have more subscribers? Clearly people enjoy your content. Are we just a niche audience?

  • Neil M

    No need to apologize, movie critics are hardly ever directors themselves.

  • Dave Flynn

    I love the idea in Carlos's level for carrying the spring over falling platforms. This would make a great mechanic in an actual game. Has it been used before?

  • MrStinky

    Dude you are literally my fav youtube channel, suck well made content. Every time i watch your videos i get inspired to rush back to this gamemnaker project i have been working on for years.

  • Steven Last

    i love this channel

  • Jeffrey Morgan

    Hell yeah! Recently found this channel and going though the back log, so good!

  • Lol Lol

    Ok your content is amazing i have never seen anythin like yours other than Extra Credits and they led me here and god i am soo happy they did but your talk about mario and all of that is truly helpful its a bit easier to test with 2D space and you (even when u say ur a bad designer) have gave me a starting point into designing levels but lets kick it up a notch how about we try to apply it to mirrors edge because i am tryin to work on something simliar but i am overwhelemd so maybe try with 3D platformers like mirrors edge 1 because it starts from scratch too you turn this to a playlist and try the samething with doom and invite some pros from the game industry i would love to see your reply on this cheers m8

  • max123456lu .moredorn


  • Andrรฉ Bogaz e Souza


  • Lorenzo Tosi


  • Kabloosh

    The super Mario maker course "Mission impossible" was fun to play, plus it's the most popular right now.

  • Jax

    Dang! I somewhat discovered this before this course lol

  • MogulCrasher

    thanks man, without your help alot of my game levels would be masses of impossible jumps and obstacles.

  • BlueBitProductions

    you kinda sound like the narrorator from the stanley parable. (Not in a bad way)

  • The Garden of Eatin

    I don't have a Wii U so I can't play this game, but something I would like to do is hide secrets for players to discover. Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country II–my very favorite platform games–often hid rewards that take exploring nooks and crannies, going in non-obvious directions, or following a series of bread crumbs. I remember a level in the lava area of DKC2 that had some bananas that looked like a staircase in mid-air, and if you used the spider's web platforms, you could climb up to find a bonus barrel. Or how in certain cave levels in SMW, wherever the ceiling disappears, go cape flying. You'll probably find something good, like a 3-up moon. It adds replay value, meaning you can have more fun with the same content.
    One of the best things Yahtzee Croshaw ever said–advice I intend to take to heart should I ever build a video game–is the best thing you can reward the player with is more gameplay.

  • Mark M

    Love your videos, they always make me feel inspired to design games and remember why I love them in the first place ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ben

    Very much looking forward to picking this up at some point. Fingers crossed it stays active on WiiU. Thanks for your videos they were very insightful.

  • RedGeoBlaze

    this really makes me want to buy a wii u just to play these levels. among other games that I missed out on because I'm a poor college student.
    Unfortunately, the 3ds port is utter poo, and the switch hasn't got this game yet.

  • Seth the Waffle Enthusiast

    I honestly think that the airship level you made should have been called "Flippy Shippy"

  • etherraichu

    the mushroom platforms definitely make you feel less safe. They make you think you're going to slip off for some reason. its very weird, since nearly everyone says that, but its never actually been the case.

  • MrEkich

    Keep it up

  • TheJazzMan333

    Listening to your excitement in this video had me playing the "Tarrey Town" soundtrack in my head after the video ended.

  • The BTTF Channel

    NO!!!!! Don't die!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew2121

    please play and starD99B00000303B46B

  • Ethan Flinner

    Why did you change the title of the video? I know I'm being picky but the title being changed is just kinda strange.

  • Hayden the eeeeeeeeeeevil male eukaryotic organism

    your shit is the shit

  • Jonathan Lee

    `1 question, why don't you make games?

  • Cynical Sheep

    Please don't die!

  • Devon Hunter

    Have you ever heard about kaizo? Thats an interesting twist on this stuff

  • uqbar42

    Perharps you are not a game designer, but the narrative structures you point out are top-notch, not only for game-makers, but for any storytelling designer out there.

    I've learn from you and I'm a filmmaker!

  • bobcharlotte

    why ANY thumbs down on this?? it is a thank you video!!! fucking internet.

  • Otto Harder

    this is probably the most wholesome video ive ever seen

  • David

    I just discovered this channel and watched like 8 videos of yours and enjoyed all of them but this is the one that made me subscribe, heart warming content, it was great watching this right after the original mario maker video and immediately seeing the fruits of your labor and how much you cherished it

  • SJNaka101

    Wtf this is the best YouTube fan thank you ever?

  • Justin Davis

    Your Ueda video heavily influenced me getting back into and cleaving the hell out of a game project I was and now again working on. Your videos are a huge in inspiration, alternate thinking and more. Thank you, man!

  • Weezl3

    You deserve more subs

  • Kieran Culliton

    I like the sultry Mark Brown voice

  • Finn Sampson

    Iโ€™m creating a game now thanks for the tips I made the models and animation while coding it in phaser

  • Draco Mundo

    I hope you realize I take notes on your vids. Seriously, you and Seamus Black are making game design soooooo much less stressful

  • Realraum3

    "…realised you used my analysis…", yes, it is called science ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank's to you I creat funny and interessting dungeons for our Pen&Paper groupe by avoiding liniarity and using your systems.

  • Peter Nelson

    Don't you hate it when you're dying or something,

  • Marco Maruszczak

    I loved this video and how you talk about why you make these videos and how it fills you with pride to see the community levels ๐Ÿ˜€ made me smile like an idiot xD

  • absinthespoons

    Dude, your voice is your instrument. Be nice to it and give it rest when you're dying or something. I'm serious, your vocal folds will thank you in the long run.

  • NotBizzy

    I think your videos are great ๐Ÿ™‚

  • QuantumCalibrationist Studios Official

    Ive found all of these videos helpful as an indie game developer!!! I think your series is great!

  • Emily Ballin

    Oh wow! I really apreciate this and the original episode because I had no idea that that much thought could be put into a level like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yves Gomes

    I think it woul dbe awesome to watch a talk from you at GDC. (I don't go to GDC – just watch the videos they release on YouTube).

  • Steven Tyler

    Your stuff is awesome man! My cousin and I have been working hard on designing a game and your videos have been a real help ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Dutchman

    my cousin is making a video game and i recommended this channel to him because it helps people/ game developers understand what makes a good game

  • MAC-10 Candy Apple

    Here Lies Mike Brown
    …or something.

  • friedpinnapple

    Ive realized you dont have any videos on turn based rpgs. Is that by choice as you dont care for those kinds of games or just an oversight.

    (Im going to go double check that im right. I know you have made videos on things like sidequest in the past)

  • Patrick

    Man, do I wish Nintendo would port Super Mario Maker to the Switch. Seems like the perfect platform for it, even if they'd have to change the level creation interface if the system were docked.

  • Cursed-Pixel -Adriaan

    I really enjoy your vids and always take notes . As a aspiring game builder its always informative thank you

  • Cursed-Pixel -Adriaan

    I really enjoy your vids and always take notes . As a aspiring game builder its always informative thank you

  • Leon

    Thank you for everything, I must say without this channel the few games I have made and published wouldn't have turned out as passable as they did, I still have a lot to learn and it's always only around 700 people that play my games but I'm still very grateful to you and this channel. so Thanks ;P

  • Lowkey Hits

    I just want to affirm, all these videos have been really helpful and totally changed for the better the ways I thing about making games, cheers

  • Evooki

    Have you considered reviewing a really hard Mario Maker Level maybe made by Pangea Panga or TheGrandPooBear?

  • Cranberry Crackle

    is that a dev exist

  • Enderjora

    Thank you so much for continuing on to make Game Maker's Toolkit! The have helped me understand games and build some as well, and every video teaches me something. Thank you, and here's to 3 more years of great videos!

  • John Doe

    Wow, thatโ€™s amazing ๐Ÿ˜„

  • Shadow Lord ะŸะพะฒะตะปะธั‚ะตะปัŒ ั‚ะตะฝะตะน

    I am an actual game dev who has watched you for quite awhile and your a great help thanks. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป(sorry if something is spelled wrong)

  • robin armstrong

    I was wondering if you'd be doing any material on RPG games and proper depth in such mechanics. How they draw inspiration from other genres (Undertale's battle mechanics, Mother 3's rhythm game combo system, and the like) and how they use that to turn convention on it's head and create a fresh set of mechanics centralized there in. Content has been great btw, I've been watching since a few thousand subs and it's been a very big help, being a dev.

  • Matthew Mazzetti

    0:00 Did you get better?

  • Michael Bonet

    I played a demo level (I think) of SM Maker at a Gamestop one day. The level had a really clever and fun twist. It was fairly straight forward except that sometimes enemies popped out of question mark blocks. This wasn't too difficult but provided some challenge when trying to find coins or power ups, and then the level kicked it into high gear when GIANT enemies came flying out of blocks making it more difficult to dodge them. I quite enjoyed this. Unfortunately, this is the only SM Maker I've ever played since I didn't own a Wii U at the time but now own a Switch and am looking forward to the game coming out for the new system.

  • Awakened Artifact

    I know this video is a few years old by now, but with the recent announcement of Mario Maker 2, plus the droves of new tools and toys to test and use within, this video has made me twice as excited. I had struggled in the original to make levels that felt like classic Mario, and to introduce challenges and gimmicks that didn't feel too difficult or confusing. This video and your preceding one are ones I am absolutely going to return to for reference when the game comes out in June. Thank you for doing what you do, I may not be a game designer, but your videos are fascinating and your analysis is engaging and pleasant to listen to. They allow me to step back and gain a newfound appreciation for the games I love.

  • Cheezy Peas

    (Original, structured, well written joke)
    Mark Brown:

    (A coin in a block)
    Mark Brown: WHEEZE

  • Noname Nobody

    Please no die, Mark.

  • HappyHotdog 722

    You're channel is one of the most useful channels for indie devs ever! It helps so many people make their games more fun and exciting and really informed novices and people who are just starting out. Your intelligence that you've shared out to the world has been a great gift to so many people, and I thankyou so much for everg amazing video you post, because your videos do really make a diffrence into people's games. Thankyou so much.

  • Steven Xenoknight

    Without calling it a religion, this video seemed more like a testimony to me. You are as qualified to be a game designer as anyone who is currently in the field. You have truly unlocked thousands of minds into being more thoughtful about what we love – gaming. I appreciate you my good sir.

  • Oscar Plays Games

    I'm making a short puzzle game in game maker, Thank you for your help along the way!


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