An Automatic Mario (in Japanese 自動マリオ), shortened to auto-Mario level, is a level in which the level design is made so that Mario beats the level without requiring input from the player (except for special cases). The whole idea of a such gameplay seems to have origin in 2007, with a Mario vs. Donkey 2 custom level in which a Mini-Mario reaches the goal alone without help of the player. This idea was then used in Super Mario World and number of this kind of level significantly grew in 2008, with the concept being utilized in various forms.
SMW Central frowns on having these kinds of levels in an actual hack that's uploaded to the "hacks" section.
Types of Automatic Mario
This is the most common way to do an automatic Mario. They are usually vanilla, and often contain the use of custom blocks. Although there are no specific rules, these custom blocks are usually boost blocks (of all four directions) and the teleport block, inserted with BlockTool or Blocktool Super Deluxe. However some automatic Marios include Boost Blocks with sound, Movement blocks,... Most of them contain cutoff, which is explained by insertion of highly accurate mechanisms (a one-tile wide piece of ground, for instance), and floating and stacked munchers.
Since there is no fun just by playing an auto-Mario level, most automatic Marios have interesting parts of it, such as having Mario avoid dangers, interact with rarely used items like P-Balloons, or take the same path multiple times with different behaviour because of Mario's size, Mario's initial speed, On/Off position, etc. Some auto-Marios also do tricks with numbers you can see in the Status Bar (for example, ending with 7 lives, 7 bonus stars and 777770 points). Victory death or ending jokes are also commonly used.
The semi-automatic Mario (in Japanese 半自動マリオ, as opposed to 全自動マリオ which means 'completely automatic Mario') is not a real automatic Mario (hence its name), as it requires an input from the player. The player usually have to hold a button during the level, sometimes two. The aim is to make Mario do tricks a normal auto-Mario can't do, like holding an item, sliding, or just getting Mario to constantly move.
From the Japanese 自動マリオシーケンサ, an automatic Mario sequencer is an auto-Mario level in which the SFXs are synchronised with a music, very often external. Its name is borrowed from a software named 'Mario sequencer', as both this software and this kind of automatic Mario make music with sound effects of Mario's games.
Also, in some parts, drawings made of 16x16 blocks can be found, often references to the music played at the same time (these songs are generally music from anime).
This type of automatic Mario is becoming more and more common. They are made of 2 or more auto-Mario sequencers, all of them being played together. To increase the amazing effect, they often include fractions of drawings that join together to make one big picture between the screens.
- To make Mario move initially, diagonal slopes, platform sprites, boost blocks or diagonal shooting pipes are usually used.
- If Mario is stopped, use slopes or conveyors to get him to keep moving.
- To make retaining Mario's speed easier, the level is commonly slippery.
- When needing to slow down from a high speed (such as from a boost block), water or note blocks work well.
- For auto-mario sequencer : koopa's stomp sound is very handy since it produce distinctive notes. One major problem is that Mario needs to stomp few enemies to reach a higher-pitched note, which can be solved by putting several sprites to be stomped at the same position.
- For auto-mario sequencer : in the case of rhythmic musics, it can be difficult to do transition between level since a teleport means no sounds from the game for a short period of time. That's why some auto-mario makers cut the black screen in their video.
- For multiauto-Mario sequencer : Yoshi's stomp sound is best for producing bass notes, while Mario on another screen can play the melody.
- An auto-mario sequencer, with a lot of references to the music played
- A multiauto-mario sequencer, one of the most famous of its type