My Top Ten Games of 2015


#9 Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void

#8 Tales from the Borderlands

#7 Ori and the Blind Forest

#6 Super Mario Maker


Super Mario Maker is such an obvious winning formula it’s amazing we’re only just now playing it in 2015. Super Mario Maker lets Mario fans craft their own original levels using most of the props and objects from multiple generations and decades of classic Mario games.

Nintendo has always been the king of accessibility. Their Mario level editing software is a brilliant mix of freedom of tools with a structured interface. Built-in sharing tools and a ranking system help players find and share an infinite amount of content.

A campaign mode of sorts lets you shuffle a random selection of levels together, creating a gameplay experience that can be just as fun as building new levels.

My love of the Mario franchise (and platformers in general) dissipated with the advent of 3D movement in the mid-late 90s. I love my side-scrolling platformers but just couldn’t get on board with trying to make jumps in a 3D world.

Thankfully Super Mario Maker operates entirely in 2D. By utilizing several major Mario generations – Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 3., Super Mario World, and Super Mario Bros Wii U, fans get a wide variety of art styles and differing power-ups, objects, and abilities to incorporate.

Super Mario Maker NES

It’s been incredibly fascinating seeing what the community can create. Entire sub-genres have risen up, including the auto-scroller, the music player, the puzzler, and the maze. I’ve played brilliant remakes of Metroid and Mega Man, made even more fun by the use of amiibos.

The Wii U gamepad really comes into its own in designing levels. The touch screen and stylus are damn near critical for placing objects and building a map. I often found myself simply building levels on the gamepad while watching football, or while my daughter watched cartoons. Levels can be played just as easily on the gamepad, making Super Mario Maker one of the most gamepad-friendly games on the Wii U.

Super Mario Maker has been a blast, but it’s not without its limitations. Currently you can only create and share a single level at a time, and Nintendo’s friends list tools are still notoriously awful. I’d love to see a campaign or overworld format that could string levels together. There’s also some gaps, like Super Mario Bros. 2’s unique gameplay and designs. With Nintendo’s recent post-game DLC and update support for games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon I’m definitely looking forward to Super Mario Maker getting the same treatment.

If you’ve ever loved a 2D Mario game, you have to play Super Mario Maker. The tools are simple enough that anyone can quickly create a fun level, and robust enough that elite players can create daunting torture chambers unlike anything you’ve ever played.