Weekend Highlights: Super Mario Maker & H1Z1

This weekend was a truly casual gaming weekend with most of my focus being on trying out a variety of games on my new Wii U system. This includes EarthBound, Super Mario Kart 8 and the newly released Super Mario Maker. My zombie hunting troop was attached to H1Z1 as well, calling me along for the ride.

I’ve poked my head into FFXIV every now and then, but I’m somewhat taking a break from the daily dungeon running, and it feels good to do so. I can only run daily roulettes for so long before getting completely burned out, and I’m still struggling to find a class that I like as much as Dragoon to play on Zuri. Leveling my Paladin to 60 seems like a slow process, so I just haven’t had a lot of interest in logging in, though I’m very much looking forward to the new content.

H1Z1 Hijinks

My sister discovered the radio item in game, and we quickly learned that channel 1 was sometimes used as a server wide general voice channel. I was a little concerned about this at first, but it seems most the folks using it could mind their manners so far.

She got along with a few of the more experienced players and they hooked us up with our first vehicle this weekend. This, of course, meant I had to plunk down some time making a protective base for it.

It’s functional, just not very pretty. That’s one thing I miss about other building survival games is that you can often build things that look much more attractive than the ugly metal walls. By the time I was done this weekend, that base up above had a full second level of walls for extra protection.

Having a vehicle changes the game dynamics quite a bit. You have to protect it from other players who can try to blow it up and make it respawn or simply outright steal it. But it does speed up travel and looting significantly, while acting like a storage chest on wheels. Of course, it guzzles gas and it’s not always the easiest thing to drive, though I learned how to drive it decently before the night was over.

I’m riding shotgun…

It fits 5 people, including some in the back.

Super Mario Maker

The majority of gaming time this weekend I set aside for learning about my new Wii U. I’m really interested in how the whole Miiverse works, and can spend a lot of time just browsing the plaza looking at comments and other people’s Miis. I recreated my Mii to something a bit cuter over the weekend, inspired by elements I saw in others’ Miis.

I explored Super Mario Maker quite a bit since it was released on Friday. It’s a charming game, but what really makes it work for me is the community. The basics of Super Mario Maker is a user-friendly interface that allows you to create and publish your own Mario levels.

You start out with a limited amount of tools, which you can unlock over time – I should hopefully be getting my underwater world tools soon? What you can do with it is only limited by your imagination.

One thing that I liked was the stipulation that you must be able to clear your own level before you can publish it. While some of the levels are difficult, none of them are impossible. Though this one was pretty annoying.

Look at all those Hammer Brothers! Not pictured – lava things that jump up out of the floor.

All those “x” on the screen indicate places where other players have died. So I’m in good company. I did beat the level, btw.

You can leave a comment on the levels you play to encourage the maker. Comments include just typed messages, or messages you can draw with the stylus. The drawn messages also provide many fun Mario-themed stamps, which I messed around with quite a bit.

I also quickly learned that you could pause the level by pressing the “+”  button and write a comment in the middle of the course. This places a visible comment right where Mario is standing that anyone who plays the course after you can see. It was fun playing some of the more popular levels because of all the commentary other players left!

While making courses and publishing them is a big element of the game, you can also just sit back and play other people’s creation through the 100 Mario challenges. This puts you through a number of random levels (easy mode is 8 courses) that unlock a new character costume, including popular Nintendo characters (and even Sonic the Hedgehog – really?). You can unlock these by having amiibos as well, but since I don’t own a single one, it’s challenges for me!

The first thing I realized when I picked up Super Mario Maker was how rusty I’ve become playing Super Mario platforming games. I used to be really good at them as a kid, but I haven’t touched one since the N64. At first, I thought it might be the large gamepad giving me issues, but the more I played, the more muscle memory came back to me. I might not be up to my previous skill, but all the crazy courses in this game will certainly see that I’m challenged to re-learn.

Mario Kart 8

The same happened when I picked up Mario Kart 8 for the first time. Oh, man, I was terrible.

Again, I haven’t played a Mario Kart seriously since the N64 – but I was quite good at it back then! My first race (solo only) I finished 5th place, but after that, I started getting the hang of it again. I’m still trying to find a good balanced kart build that feels right for my playstyle, and I really like how much flexibility there is when you start mixing and matching kart pieces.

Unlocking new courses and characters is fun, and the new (and old) courses are all really well designed! It’s an excellent Kart game, though I have a lot of practicing to do before I play anywhere as well as I used to.


I’m slowly making progress through EarthBound as well. I learned how to take screenshots using Miiverse this weekend, so now I can post progress as I go along! I finally made it to Giant Step (I forgot how challenging old SNES JRPGs can be), and cleared the first town. It only took me 15 or so deaths to mice and ants. XD

This game is just as crazy as I remembered. Good times. 🙂