My first experience with the Mario Maker franchise was honestly disastrous. I didn't have a Wii U at the time so it was with the 3DS version that released in 2016. I hated it. I didn't get it. I wasn't interested in creating levels, and why would I want to play bad Mario levels when I could be playing literally anything else (including good Mario levels actually developed by Nintendo)?
Playing the Wii U version years later reconciled me with the concept. I had a go at creating levels, looked into the community a bit more and I started to see the appeal. It was still riddled with frustrations though -- the primary one being how complicated it was to find anything, whether that was a creator or a specific level. So it wasn't until Super Mario Maker 2 released this June that I truly realised how good this franchise, and its community, are.
For full disclosure, I mostly played games from 2018 this year, with God of War and Assassin's Creed Odyssey battling at the top of my GOTY list. Also to be frank Baldur's Gate on Switch is probably my real game of the year, but turns out it's somehow less relevant to talk about a game from 1998 here.
So finding a game of 2019 to write about was surprisingly difficult. However, Super Mario Maker 2 soon became the obvious choice as it's the game I kept coming back to all year, clocking in over 100 hours. It's just everything the original Mario Maker could (and should) have been.
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