'New Super Mario Bros. 2' started with course design first, mechanics second, creators say

New Super Mario Bros. 2 creators talk about Dash Mario, one million coins and the "Mario Cram School."

In the latest "Iwata Asks" Q&A, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata interviews the talent behind New Super Mario Bros. 2 — Masaki Ishikawa, Yusuke Amano and Takashi Tezuka — on designing the upcoming Nintendo 3DS game.

According to Amano, Nintendo game designers started by designing more than 80 courses for Mario to conquer before they'd settled on any of New Super Mario Bros. 2's fundamental gameplay elements.

Amano tells Iwata that a group of designers from various departments within Nintendo called the "Mario Cram School" created all-new 2D Mario levels first, then "other staff were called in to turn it into an actual product."

"I heard Tezuka-san believes that the course design plays a key role in determining the fundamental elements of 2D Mario games, so he opened the cram school in hopes to spread that knowledge across others within the company," Amano says.

"Some knew a lot about games and some didn't," he says, "but the Mario Cram School we mentioned earlier came in incredibly useful. Participants got a firm grasp of the basic ingredients of what makes 2D Super Mario enjoyable and experienced actually making stages, so we were able to begin this project with a solid foundation."

"I suppose many people may take a quick glance at New Super Mario Bros. 2 and think, 'Oh, it's the usual Super Mario.'"

Amano says the concept of New Super Mario Bros. 2's goal of letting players collect a million gold coins was Tezuka's. Enemies made of gold and gold-spewing power-ups were also spawned from Tezuka's idea. At one point, Amano says the team considered naming the game New Super Mario Bros. Gold.

Ishikawa and Amano talk about some of the "surprises" in store in New Super Mario Bros. 2, including the massive ghost named the Boohemoth, which plays on the Mario mainstay Boo, and new Dash Mario stages. In Dash Mario stages, Mario is fired from a cannon and runs at unstoppable speeds to the right. Iwata likens the mode to Donkey Kong Country's mine cart segments.

"The staff had a strong desire this time to think of tough things that people might even get angry about," Amano says of Dash Mario. "And we've changed some things with regard to the setup to make a fresh impression."

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.