Compared to its quaint reveal at E3 2014, Super Mario Maker has evolved into a much more comprehensive and fully featured game than most of us probably expected. The final product encompasses nearly every tool a designer could ask for to bring their side-scrolling imagination to life. This includes things we’ve seen in Mario games before, as well as many things we haven’t. But there are still a handful of curious omissions that, if added to the toolset, could drastically improve Super Mario Maker’s creative potential.
Here are a few tools and concepts that I would love to see added to Super Mario Maker:
I’ll start with the most obvious exclusion: checkpoints. Of all the things that Super Mario Maker lacks, this is the one I’ve heard requested most. Not only did some of these games include checkpointing in their original versions, but Nintendo hasn’t been the least bit shy about letting assets jump from game to game. I’m looking at you, 8-bit Wiggler.
Not to mention the fact that the game allows the creation of some very long and elaborate levels. There’s nothing worse than playing the same three quarters of a level twenty times only to fall in the same pit over and over. Checkpoints would allow creators to further customize a level’s difficulty, and maybe be a bit more cavalier about throwing in those late-level challenges.
2. Red coins
Based on the hundreds of player-made levels that I have played through so far, one of the biggest struggles in level design is incentive. With things like 1-Up mushrooms being rendered meaningless by the game’s structure, it’s a real challenge to encourage players to do much of anything besides just head right. You end up with levels recycling ideas for gating progress, instead of focusing on clever level design.
I think introducing red coins into Super Mario Maker could greatly increase our ability to encourage exploration. There’s something intrinsically satisfying about collecting coins in a Mario game, even moreso when the coins come with some tangible reward within the level. To take it a step further, allowing the creator to customize the reward or effect from collecting all eight red coins in a level, this could make their collection advantageous, mandatory, or, ideally, both.
This particular inclusion would probably take the most work to implement, but it could make the game a whole lot more fun.
As early as Super Mario Bros. 3, we saw terrain with slopes instead of jagged edges. More than just a way to increase the visual variety of the levels, slopes came with their own set of unique mechanics that added tons of diversity and fun to Mario’s adventures. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than sliding down a slope filled with advancing Goombas and knocking them all off on my way down.
Like I said, rather than just enhancing the existing toolset, adding slopes to Super Mario Maker would take some clever renovation and the addition of some new animations and physics. But I know it would be worth it.
4. Expanded amiibo support
Super Mario Maker makes one of the best cases for an amiibo collection yet. By theming levels around various Mystery Mushroom costumes, players have come up with some awesome uses for Mario’s supporting cast. Unfortunately, these great levels are all tied exclusively to Super Mario Bros.
This is a big ask, but I want this feature to be expanded to all of Super Mario Maker’s tilesets. Imagine a 16-bit Marth navigating a castle stage, or a Super Smash Bros. style Mega Man traversing an airship.
I’m not going to beg for custom movesets for every character… yet, just a reason to use and enjoy my amiibo in all of the graphical styles that Super Mario Maker represents. Is that so much to ask?
5. World maps
This is my over the top, pie in the sky, probably-won’t-happen-but-desperately-want-it idea. It would be amazing to create a set of levels, perhaps with some flow or theme to them, and have a way to string them together. I have absolutely no idea how this could be presented within Super Mario Maker’s current level sharing system, but it would put creators one step closer to real game design.
There could be alternate exits, a reason to collect 1-Up mushrooms, and a stronger sense of cohesion and ownership of each creator’s library of uploaded levels. I don’t expect to see something this drastic implemented, but Nintendo has pleasantly surprised me many times over the years.
Nintendo has shown unprecedented post-release support for its games over the past few years. Mario Kart 8 is twice the game it was when it launched, and Splatoon barely resembles its original release. I have faith that a product as important to Nintendo as Super Mario Maker will see at least the same level of devotion as these titles, and I can’t wait to see what that looks like over the coming months and years.Leave a Comment