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2015 Game of the Year #2: Super Mario Maker

This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. Coming in at #2 we have the joy of 2D Mario spreading its creative juices to the masses, Super Mario Maker.

Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor: I walked into Super Mario Maker with something of a sense of dread, because it felt like we finally hit the saturation point. This would be the end of 2D Mario. Really, once you put the tools in the public's hands, there's nowhere left to go. So in some ways it felt like the end of an era.

It's been three months later and while that still feels true to an extent, this truly feels like enough Mario to last me forever. It's endless Mario! It's ALL the Mario! There's enough here to last years and it's only getting better with the more support that Nintendo is giving it.

Steve Watts, Editor-in-Chief: User-generated Mario is what we all thought about when Sony first showed off LittleBigPlanet almost a decade ago. I've said it before: Nintendo takes its time adopting new ideas, but when it does enter an arena it has a unique spin that sidesteps some of the pitfalls of its predecessors.

In the case of Super Mario Maker, it's the brilliant (and brilliantly executed) idea of making creation itself a game. The act of laying down a level is almost as much fun as actually playing one. That's partly because the design itself is rooted in this rich history that we all spent decades familiarizing ourselves with, but I think it's equally because the tools themselves are so well-made. Including item combinations was a stroke of genius that invites a sense of play that far surpasses the usual "UGC" bandwagon that fizzled.

Josh Hawkins, Guides Editor: I remember the first time I played a Mario game. I was young, too young to remember my age, and my parents had just bought my brother and I a brand new Super Nintendo System. Back then, I wasn’t even decent at video games, and most of my time was spent listening to the Mario death sound over and over again. But the joy it brought me back then has only be rekindled my Mario Maker.

It's kind of funny when you think about it. I've spent a number of my years playing games and wishing that I could somehow, one day, make a game for others to enjoy, and Mario Maker virtually gives me that ability. It also gives me the ability to work inside the confines of one of the greatest video game worlds I've ever had the pleasure of exploring. Nintendo might not be completely proud of the Wii U, and how it's sold. But Super Mario Maker will ensure that the Wii U continues to be played, and used, long after the NX hits store shelves.

Asif Khan, Chief Executive Officer: Super Mario Maker is the greatest thing to happen to video games in the last 20 years. It is a game that some pan as being a level editor app and others herald as the second coming of Nintendo. This game incorporates everything that is right and good at Nintendo, from the sound effects and music while you edit levels, to the precise and intuitive user interface which incorporates the Wii U Gamepad, all the way to the vast array of details players can include in their level. Super Mario Maker does a tremendous amount of fan service, while introducing a whole new generation to the joy and history of the side-scrolling Mario franchise.

One of our longtime Shackers, virus, commented on the Chatty, "I shed a small tear and get a little emotional when my son makes me Mario Maker levels. It is seriously the greatest thing ever." Super Mario Maker transcends generations of gamers unlike any other game in this year's game of the year list as it allows us older gamers to feel like kids again while watching a new generation of gamers play with power. Watching my 7 and 9 year old nephews create and play their own levels for the first time was both a magical and joyful moment for myself and my family this year.

Nintendo has achieved something very special with Super Mario Maker, and this is the beginning of something and not the end as some folks like to say. We now have an infinite supply of levels, from intricate auto play music levels to levels full of coins and power ups. Super Mario Maker is what you make of it, which is why we see the game resonating with so many different types of gamers. I have not felt as satisfied or had more fun playing a game this year than in my time building and playing levels in Super Mario Maker and for that reason it will always be my personal Game of The Year 2015.

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