Bowser’s War Tanks

Course ID: 6FBA-0000-030C-ACFC

Maneuver across and through Bowser’s army of tanks, full of obstacles and traps. As you progress further, more enemies try to stop you.

Concept and theme:
This level was inspired mostly by the traditional platforming style of SMB3, particularly the tanks designs, with the added flair of going inside certain tanks to progress through the level. The various choices are also intended to give the effect of choosing alternate routes throughout the platoon’s “architecture.”

This was one of my earliest stages, and I remember sitting down with the SMB3 blank slate, wondering what I should make. I drew the first tank, and it looked awesome to me. So I started progressing the level with gradually bigger vehicles and more weapons. That looked too similar to SMB3 and felt a little overdone, so I decided to make an underground, which represented going inside the tanks. That seemed kind of cool, and because there were a lot of tanks in the environment, I designed the underground to have mini choices for Mario to decide how to maneuver through Bowser’s army.

Just a slight tidbit: I wanted the very first room to feel as if you were already inside a chamber. Since nothing really happens there, my hope is the player is led to feel like the level doesn’t really start until Mario exits the pipe, which isn’t very typical because, by game-design, that means the outdoor tanks area is actually the “sub-world.”

Overall, this is a typical, fun platformer that is only moderately difficult and is generally pretty simple to figure out. My hope is that it has good replay value, especially with the many combinations of pathways to choose from.

What makes a good level?

I wanted to share my opinion on what makes a good Mario level. I believe that good course design incorporates a balance of fun gameplay with challenging effort – whether achieved through puzzles, obstacles, or quick thinking. I also believe that relatively good levels have some form of the following three major characteristics:

  1. Theme (aesthetics, showcasing a mechanic, focusing on an enemy set, using a particular gameplay style, etc.)
  2. Replay Value (fun to play again or keep trying, alternative experience/route, new challenges, skill development, etc.)
  3. Presentation (look-and-feel that is clever or appealing, layout or pathway that isn’t confusing, appropriate cues for the player, etc.)

These are just my opinions on what constitutes a “good” level, but they stem from my personal experience with and affection for the original Mario games (SMB, SMB3, SMW, and NSMB). Like most players, my passion for Super Mario Maker comes from creating levels that replicate a similar joy that I got from any one of the four official Mario games over the past three decades. My hope is to create levels that hold true to these three core values and offer a fun experience for anyone that plays my courses.

What do you believe makes a good level?

Welcome to my Mario Maker blog!

The purpose of this website is to showcase solutions to my Super Mario Maker levels and supplement my YouTube channel with further discussion and analyses. Various tricks, design elements, nuances, discussion topics, and trivia will be featured and detailed here. I welcome your thoughts and questions, either via comments or email.

I believe that showing solutions to my courses is a positive thing. I remember when I was a kid, I would get frustrated whenever I couldn’t figure out how to beat certain games, and the only option back then was to buy strategy guides for $30 each (money that children usually don’t have). My hope is to offer insight to my levels and encourage players to play through each challenge, but also inspire others with design ideas and fun content.

So, whether you want to see updates or just discuss some details about my levels, I hope you enjoy my blog and YouTube channel, and most of all, have fun playing my levels.