Nintendo’s fall sensation Super Mario Maker will get a software update next month, and among the improvements will be a new level designed by two Facebook engineers. This inclusion is thanks to a new feature called Event Courses that features partner creators from outside Nintendo — Facebook is the first with a corporate relatinship to the gaming company to participate.
Called “Ship Love”, the course was conceived at an August hackathon event at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. While the overall goal was to develop the official level for Super Mario Maker, only one team would get theirs in the game. Engineers Doug Strait and Roy McElmurry presented their level to a panel of judges from Nintendo and Facebook, including Bill Trinen, Krysta Yang, Rachel Kroll, Ime Archibong, and Scott Moffitt.
Super Mario Maker differs from other Mario games in that players can create and share levels, with tools to build stages from a variety of previous games starring Nintendo’s beloved plumber. It quickly sold 1 million copies shortly after its release last month, and it was one of the best-selling games of September. It also shows that Nintendo, a company that has long had issues with online gaming, can find a way to engage its players in new ways. In addition to creating and sharing stages, Super Mario Maker players are putting thousands of levels up on YouTube.
Judges thought the “Ship Love” was frustrating to play at first — but otherwise enjoyable. Others said that it took advantage of what was unique about Super Mario Bros., but also had a puzzle piece that was akin to what you’d encounter in The Legend of Zelda (another hit Nintendo game franchise). Strait and McElmurry were among two other finalists. All of the submissions had to epitomize what makes Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. special but also the openness and connected-ness that Facebook seeks to share with the world.
Nintendo says that more partner-created levels will be added on an ongoing basis. “Ship Love” will be available on November 4.
You can watch the results of the hackathon below: