Hi, my name is Ben (you’ll see me online as SmashNcrab), and I am making a Super Mario World rom hack called Ryckert’s Island. I’m writing this blog post to share a little bit about the creation of the project, what I hope to accomplish, and what the future holds after release.
The Dream of Creating my own Mario World
Super Mario World was the first video game I ever played as a child, and to this day I can confidently say it is my most played game of all time. Some of my earliest memories in life are playing this game. I would often daydream of finding more secrets like the vine to “Soda Lake” or another hidden world in the stars. After countless times getting all 96* exits and seeing all the game had to offer, I started to dream of making my own secret-filled Mario World. I would spend hours drawing Islands and imagining the levels you could find along the way. But this seemed like the extent of how much I’d ever be able to create. In the late 90s, ever learning the magic of computer programming felt like an impossibility for my 7-year-old brain, so I all but accepted this world only ever live in my imagination... that was until an internet user named FuSoYa released a game-changing tool: Lunar Magic.
Lunar Magic is an unofficial Super Mario World level editor that was originally released on September 24th, 2000. It happened! I could finally make my Mario game! “It was going to be easy,” I thought. After a little time learning the basics of the editor and making a few bad levels, it started to sink in: making a video game, let alone a fun one, is pretty damn hard. Who knew? Though the project never completely left my mind for several years to come, the project was pretty much shelved.
Fast forward to 2015: Super Mario Maker releases for the WiiU. This game made making levels fun and easy. My hype around this game was huge, and I immediately purchased a WiiU and started working on levels. The editor was very intuitive, but limiting. I enjoyed making levels and playing with other people’s creations, but I couldn’t quite make all the things I wanted to. But my fire for making my own Mario World started to ignite again! Mario Maker 2 was released 4 years later and the game had so much to offer that the original didn’t, including a much-anticipated overworld maker. In late 2020, I decided to start making the game that would eventually turn into Ryckert’s Island. I finished the first world and I was very happy with my levels, but as good as Mario Maker 2 was, it just wasn’t possible to make the full experience I wanted to make. I wanted to make something that felt like a legitimate Super Nintendo game. So I decided to go back to Lunar Magic where I could make that a reality.
Grand Poo World 2 is an insane kaizo hack by BarbarousKing, dedicated to the speed runner Grand Poo Bear. Despite its insane difficulty, the game feels like a full new Mario experience. Its love and dedication to Mario content creators make it feel all the more special. While I wanted to make a much more traditional Mario game, so much inspiration for what I’ve wanted to create is owed to Grand Poo World 2. It helped me fully realize the attributes that I wanted my game to have more than anything: Immersive World, Emphasis on Speed Running, Hidden Secrets, & Dedication to Content Creators I love.
Let’s talk about the creator I dedicated it to
I’ve been following Dan Ryckert’s content closely since 2010. His sense of humor, antagonistic personality, and insane creativity has always drawn me to his content. I’ve watched & listened to hundreds of hours of his content: whether it was on Game Informer’s Overblood Super Replay, Giant Bomb’s “Mario Party” Parties, Red Alert 2 streams with Mike Mahardy, or the 3-hour FireEscapeCasts. Dan always knocks it out of the park and deserves all the recognition he can get. Not to mention, the guy is a Mario Historian. It was a no-brainer to dedicate this project to him.
You’ll start your journey at Mahardy’s House off the coast of the southern part of the Island, where you’ll find Mahardy has been abducted by the evil tyrant: Ryckert. To save Mahardy from enduring an endless game of Mario Party, you’ll have to make your way through Ryckert’s island maze and journey to the stars above. You’ll have to conquer over 16 traditional Mario Levels filled with new gimmicks, enemies, and bosses inspired by Mario’s past adventures.
When designing the levels, I prioritized variety in environments and gameplay. You’ll make your way through grasslands, cliffsides, caverns, forests, airships, skylines, and much more. Many levels will feature hidden exists and secret powerups that will make for a varied speedrunning experience. Every single section of Ryckert’s Island has been crafted with care and I have no doubt it will be a refreshing experience for seasoned Mario players.
Ryckert’s Island is approaching its final days of development and should be ready to be experienced in April 2023. I’ve poured my soul into this project and can’t wait to share it with everyone. For the initial release, I will be sending fully playable SNES cartridges to Dan, Grubb, Minnmaxx, and a few others. I also plan on sharing the game with Games Done Quick where I hope it will help support charities like the “Prevent Cancer Foundation”. I’m not sure if or when I’ll release rom patch online, but I’m sure it’ll find its way into all of your hands eventually! Until then, I hope you enjoy seeing the game in action! I’ve waited a long time for this <3