Developer(s) – Nintendo R&D1 & Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director – Hirofumi Matsuoka
Producer – Gunpei Yokoi
Released on the Super Nintendo in 1992, and making use of the SNES mouse peripheral, Mario Paint allowed players to create their own personalized artwork within a video game. It was extremely well received by critics; AllGame even stating that it was “perhaps the most ingenious and inspired idea Nintendo ever came up with for a product”. Although I personally wouldn’t label it as such, nor even give it a perfect score as they did, I do need to state as a prerequisite, I spent a lot of time playing this game, and I still think it holds up for various reasons despite the creation of the very similar Paint software for PCs.
Graphics – 6/10
Though many people may argue that Nintendo didn’t include much within the game to give players a rough idea of what possibilities lay before them, and the general a layout of the games look extremely empty, that was the point. The game was all about players having to use their own imagination to create whatever they saw fit. Though Nintendo had failed to put out a decent educational game prior to this, it was successful due to the fact that it would encourage creativity, eventually even leading to schools contemplating using the same method. This game was also one of the first to include the famed Totaka’s song, which would become synonymous with many other big-name Nintendo releases.
Gameplay – 6.5/10
As well as creating pictures, the game also offers a variety of different activities, including composing music pieces, animations and even a hidden mini game called Gnat Attack, whereby players must swat various insects flying across the screen in somewhat Galaga-esque fashion. Though the picture-drawing aspect may have been rendered redundant over the years, the game still retains a fair bit of replay value in these other activities, and whilst not deserved of a perfect high score, does provide quite a bit of entertainment.
Controls – 10/10
Since this game primarily relied on the use of a mouse and pad, there was never going to be any problems with the controls; especially at this point, since home computers where well on their way to becoming something only used to play video games on to a household necessity.
Originality – 9/10
Even though many of the ideas this game perpetuated have since been fazed out by PCs and laptops, the fact of the matter remains that there was no game like it at the time of its release. Many video games at the time may have spoken of creativity in their own ways, despite the lack of technology compared to what is available now, but his game encouraged it in its players, as well as presented them with a retro arcade gaming experience in the process.
Overall, Mario Paint stands out as one of the most unique gaming experiences on the Super Nintendo. It isn’t one of the greatest games to have ever been developed, and hasn’t held up well with the times like many other games of the era have, but many gamers will still be able to find use for it.