This time, you tried several new things making use of the system’s communicative features.
Yes. Using the StreetPass13 feature, you can exchange Coin Rush mode data. You can play Coin Rush mode repeatedly within a short time and collect more coins the better you know the stage. In some ways, it’s like a concentration of typical Super Mario elements. 13 StreetPass: A feature that allows users who enable it to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS system turned on to exchange certain game data with other Nintendo 3DS users whom they pass on the street that also have StreetPass enabled.
That’s why you made it so that you compete via the number of coins collected, like competing for times in Mario Kart.
What happens if you lose?
Even if you lose, as long as you clear the three courses, you’ll get to keep the amount of coins on their record once. So just by playing the game data you receive by StreetPass, we made it so that you’ll get to collect more coins. Even those who may not be that good with Mario games, may be able to get a whole lot of coins if they can StreetPass with someone who’s very good.
StreetPass becomes another way to get a million coins.
You got it! And via the SpotPass14 feature, you can learn how many coins others have collected. 14 SpotPass: A feature in the Nintendo 3DS system that when activated receives various information and content when near a wireless LAN access point.
Different regions and countries can compete with each other.
Players can compare, “Look at how many America has! Japan better not lose!”
Yeah. From now on, we’ll be deciding exactly how to present it. I’ll consult Tezuka-san again, because I really want to do it.
Another thing still to come is using the communicative functions to offer additional stages.
Between me and Mr. Miyamoto, we’ve been long discussing our position in distributing paid add-on content for packaged software. Our conclusion is that we may make that proposal as long as we can establish a structure in which we can ask our customers to pay fees as compensation for our creative works. In fact, at one of the internal meetings last year, Mr. Miyamoto picked up the possibility for download distribution of paid add-on courses for a Mario game as an example. I too have expressed our basic idea publicly. However, regardless of such discussions, Amano-san, you had a different motivation for realising the add-on courses.
Actually, this isn’t the first time for a Super Mario game to have additional stages. I was on the staff for Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 315, and it had a way to add extra stages. 15 Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3: The European name for an action game released for the Game Boy Advance system in July 2003 in Japan. The original Japanese title was Super Mario Advance 4.
By using the Nintendo e-Reader16, you could play additional stages. 16 Nintendo e-Reader: A peripheral device for the Game Boy Advance system. By using it to read a two-dimensional dot code (much like a barcode) on an e-Reader Card, users could enjoy minigames and unlock new content.
Right. We did that because when it comes to Super Mario games, we tend to make stages that anyone can play, since so many people do.
But when you do that, then players confident in their skill say, “This Super Mario game is lukewarm!”
Exactly. So for Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3, we made really sharp – really difficult – stages to add later. I played them myself and had loads of fun. I thought, “I wish more people could enjoy this.”
At that time, it was necessary to buy the Nintendo e-Reader separately.
For that reason, not as many people as I had hoped enjoyed the additional stages, but personally, I loved them! That was about nine years ago, and ever since then, I’ve been thinking I want to do that again sometime.
Additional stages have been on your wish list for nine years now.
Right! They kicked off this time when I got assigned to this Super Mario game for Nintendo 3DS and said to Tezuka-san, “I definitely want to have additional stages!”
I had also asked Tezuka-san to think about digitally distributing additional Mario levels. I felt if we were going to work on paid additional content, it needed to be a game like Mario that anyone could enjoy. Otherwise, it may not be experienced by a lot of people.
Yeah. In the case of 2D Mario games, the play content can be significantly changed by adding new courses. Luckily, because we had opened the Mario Cram School, this time we had about twice the number of staff who were able to design courses. In that sense too, I thought Mario games and the idea of additional courses worked well together. I started by telling the staff early on that this had meaning since it was for Super Mario, so we should come up with something.
Amano-san’s desire for eventually being able to make additional levels linked up at just the right moment with my desire that if we were going to try it, it had to be with Super Mario, and also with how we were able to make that possible as an organisation now because of the Mario Cram School.
We started thinking over various things, and there are a number of ways to add stages. We were able to make a solid Coin Rush mode, so we decided to try it with that.
Why is the Coin Rush mode right for additional stages?
Well, the main stages have a story, so...
The familiar story. (laughs)
Right. Princess Peach gets kidnapped, and you clear the game through a final confrontation with Bowser. If we forced additional stages into that, the whole atmosphere would fall apart.
It wouldn’t end on the right note.
Right. But you can play the Coin Rush mode several times in a short time, so it ends perfectly.
We’re thinking over that right now but haven’t made anything yet.
Right, you haven’t started working on it yet.
Yeah. We will, though. We want to hear feedback from people who have played the game before we work on it.
That’s right. We’ll make the additional stages with an ear out for opinions on what is a hit in the main stages.
That’s an important point this time. Miyamoto-san in particular is stressing that if we were to make additional content, it has to feel live. I think he feels that approach is the way to alleviate any opinions like, “Why didn’t you include it all from the start?!”
That’s why looking at the response from players and releasing additional content in a live fashion is the best way.
Yes. If we make additional stages, then players who have played them can use StreetPass to share data with people they don’t know, leading to further spreading of the word.
So it won’t end up like nine years ago?
No, I think not! And something I would like to boldly proclaim to people who have said that so far the series hasn’t been that difficult is that this time you can play some challenging stages.
But you won’t make them all totally demonic, will you?
No... And in addition to listening to the fans and thinking of a bunch of stages, I hope to hold special events that everyone can participate in.
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