The original Mario Maker (sort of)

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As part of yesterday’s E3 festivities, Nintendo showed off a new Wii U game called Mario Maker that will let players craft their own unique Super Mario Bros. levels out of all the basic ingredients from the 1985 original. Watching the trailer brought a smile to my face… not just for how fun it looked, but for reminding me of a little “web app” I made with a friend for a school project.

Peter Wooley and I were sophomores in college, taking a JavaScript class called “Web Scripting II.” Our final project was to break into pairs to make some sort of webpage demonstrating the manipulation of CSS properties with – you guessed it – JavaScript.

Somehow, Peter and I decided to make the Mario Scene Editor, a simple picture-maker using sprites from SMB. Here’s what it looked like in action:

Mario Scene Editor in Firefox 1.5 (vintage!)

It may seem quaint now (those crummy “glass” textures certainly don’t help), but this was quite an undertaking in the days before jQuery… especially for a couple of snot-nosed underclassmen! The tricks we used at the time haven’t aged very well in modern browsers… but surprisingly, much of it still works. You can try it yourself if you’re feeling courageous.

There was a time when the Mario Scene Editor was second only to Ramps as my highest-traffic project. We even entertained the idea of making a new version for fun a few years back (I hinted at this in my very first Dribbble shot). But now, there’s no need! I can enjoy our little app for what it is… a souvenir from my formative years of designerly pursuits, and a fun memory with a good friend.

I guess this means I should buy a Wii U soon…