How to Create Your Own Super Mario Bros Levels with Level Editors

For decades, Super Mario Bros. has been one of the most iconic and beloved video game franchises. Level editors allow regular players like us to make custom Mario levels without any advanced coding knowledge. They provide user-friendly interfaces and tons of assets so you can easily design the Mario stage of your dreams.

In this piece, I’ll walk you through the basics of using these tools to craft fun and unique Super Mario Bros. levels to share with the world.

Choose Your Level Editor

The first step is picking a level editor that works for you. Some popular options include Lunar Magic, SMBX, and Super Mario Maker. This is how it works:

  • Lunar Magic is a classic editor originally created for Super Mario World that lets you alter level layouts, objects, enemies, and more.
  • SMBX (Super Mario Bros. X) works for New Super Mario Bros.-style games and includes a big object library.
  • Super Mario Maker is Nintendo’s official editor integrated into a full game on the Wii U and Switch.

I recommend Super Mario Maker for beginners, as its drag-and-drop setup makes designing levels simple. But any of these editors will allow you to unleash your creative Mario-crafting potential!

Get Familiar with the Interface

Once you’ve picked your editor, take some time to get comfortable with its interface and controls. How do you access item menus? Are there toolbar shortcuts? What do the different editing modes allow you to change? Fiddle around with placing basic ground tiles and enemies to understand the basics.

For example, in Super Mario Maker, you use the stylus in handheld mode or controller buttons in docked mode to select from item trays along the top of the screen. You can switch between editing layer modes to place foreground and background objects. Getting a handle on these tools from the start will make your level design process much smoother.

Plan Out Your Level

Now comes the fun part – plotting out your Mario level! Get an overview in your head first before you start placing individual elements. Do you want an athletic stage focused on jumping challenges? A maze-like ghost house to confuse players? An underwater level with swimming galore? Decide on a core concept to inform your overall layout and structure.

From there, think about variations to introduce throughout the level, like enemy types, hidden areas, power-ups, and set pieces. For example, you may start with basic platforms and Goombas, then mix in Koopa Paratroopas, add a secret room with treasures if Mario takes the high road, and conclude with a Bowser boss battle. Spreading out these ideas will make your level exciting from start to finish.

Build and Playtest Your Level

Okay, it’s time to bring your vision to life! Place ground tiles to define paths and choose a tileset style you like. Use the editor’s assets like question blocks, pipes, enemies, and coins to decorate. Test play as you build to get a Mario’s-eye-view and adjust tricky jumps or gaps as needed. Pay attention to difficulty and cheese potential (shortcuts players can exploit) as you polish.

Since playtesting is key, take advantage of editors’ instant testing capabilities, like Super Mario Maker’s tap, to switch to playing mode. Seek feedback from others and observe how far players get. Adjust anything confusing or overly hard based on playtesting – just as Nintendo does. Iterate until your level provides a fun, fair challenge.

Customize Details and Add Personal Touches

With the structure down, have fun applying the finishing touches to make your level visually distinct. Most editors provide a wealth of artistic assets, so browse through their object libraries thoroughly by:

  • Choosing a music track that fits your theme
  • Picking out small decorative elements like hills and clouds to dot the backdrop
  • Crafting signs with hints or jokes to amuse players

This is also your chance to inject personal creativity, like representing yourself as an NPC or drawing pixel art for custom objects. Really make the level your own with special details only you could imagine. Have a blast brainstorming fun additions to delight Mario fans.

Share Your Creation with the World

You did it – you built your very own Mario level from the ground up! Now, it’s time to share your masterpiece. Most editors let you generate a shareable file or code. Upload published levels to websites like Super Mario Maker Bookmark so other players can find them. Consider recording a video playthrough of your creation as well to garner interest.

Designing your own Super Mario Bros. levels using editable toolkits opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities. With the techniques covered here, you’ll be able to bring any concepts and challenging gameplay ideas to life. So grab your favorite level editor and let your imagination run wild, dreaming up exciting new Mario experiences. The Mushroom Kingdom won’t know what hit it when you unleash the custom levels you can now create!

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