It’s so clever, how did no one think of this before? You take Super Mario Bros, which in its most recognisable form is still that of a 2D game wherein you inflict massive brain trauma on Mario by directing his skull through solid bricks, and you combine that with LEGO to capture that aesthetic and give it a more creative approach in our plane of existence.
A perfect recipe, one that results in Mario Maker being more than just a digital game but a slice of plastic fun on the side for all ages. So what took so long? No matter which way you slice it, LEGO Super Mario is an idea that just makes sense and would have worked even if it was released several decades ago. What took so long for the ultimate tag team dream to be made real?
Speaking to The Brothers Brick (Cheers VG247 and Nintendo Everything), digital design lead Jonathan Bennink revealed how talks and development took up a fairly chunky amount of time to go from concept phase to finished product. “I’ve been working on this project for four years, but about a half a year before that, leaders from both LEGO and Nintendo met up to talk about what we could do together and where our core competencies lie,” Bennink explained.
We decided early on that we wanted to leverage what both parties are good at. For LEGO, that’s of course the brick, being creative and using your imagination. For Nintendo, it is seamless interactivity and innovation. We wanted to make sure that when LEGO and Nintendo come together, those two big brands with lots of fans, that we do it justice.
About half a year into the project we made this first prototype of an interactive Mario figure. I hope one day we get to share this with the world because I think it would be quite interesting for people to know where it came from and how it evolved. But it was basically just a tiny little brick, maybe four modules high with a screen and speakers that we put a cap on and paint red. Once we put the cap on, we were all like, “Yeah, that’s Mario!” and we instantly fell in love with him as an interactive LEGO character
But we didn’t know exactly what to do with him and how to make the most of the functionality. For that, we worked with Nintendo and play-tested with kids for quite a few iterations until we solidified the idea of building levels. Essentially, you can’t go wrong building levels but certain combinations and tricks will make the level better and get more coins from it.
Building levels was probably the biggest revelation of the project because that is really where the core LEGO play comes in. Everything is happening in the bricks, and it’s about coming up with ideas for levels and building anything that you want with the technology and interactivity that Nintendo is known for infused in it from the beginning.
The end result, was a LEGO kit with a more interactive bend to it that will allow you to create your very Mario level, complete with coin collecting and voice acting. Provided that this one does well, it could be the first of many Nintendo franchises to get bricked the right way. Now who do I have to pay to get a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker LEGO set.
Last Updated: March 16, 2020