Super Mario Maker 2 gives players the opportunity to create Nintendo quality Mario levels in an easy to use and charismatic package. Players don’t need to know any coding; they don’t have to create their own assets, all the hard work is done for them. Super Mario Maker makes it so easy to make good levels and has loads of new player-created content to play that it begs the question, “Why would you need to buy a new Mario game?”
The tools in Super Mario Maker are so robust and extremely easy to use that even the most incapable creator can put out something that resembles a functioning level. There are numerous ways to control and create, even using the touch screen, in a friendly and accessible menu that simply comes down to dragging and dropping. The tools available mean that complete newbies or Maker veterans can easily create levels in no time at all and have them uploaded in a jiffy as long as the creator can also complete them too.
This ease of use and accessibility means that great quality levels can be created with official assets, and a player potentially has an unlimited number of new Mario levels at their fingertips. With such an amazing amount of content available, why would a player ever feel the need to buy a new Mario platformer with a limited number of levels?
Whilst Mario games offer a finite number of levels, there is a distinct beginning and end. The player linearly progresses through worlds and the story, coming to a definitive end to the adventure and offering the player closure. That level of cohesion and structure is the traditional way to play video games and is easily identifiable with gamers. Super Mario Maker offers the player the chance to play thousands of levels, but they are pulled from many different themes and styles, meaning there is no connection or cohesion.
New Mario games also offer the chance for Nintendo to add new power-ups and abilities that are unique to that series, as well as potentially new art styles. These things may even find their way into Super Mario Maker in the future, and it is worth noting that everything that happens in new Mario games affects what is available in Super Mario Maker, not the other way around.
Whilst the tools available to players allow them to make levels at the same standard as Nintendo employees, the truth is very rarely will user-created content be on par. The levels in Super Mario Maker are of such varying degrees that the player doesn’t know what they are getting themselves into before they play. There are tags associated with levels so the player has an idea of what the levels are like, and there are user comments to give reviews and feedback. The biggest caveat to even the best levels is that there is no design team behind the content. Essentially, if something in a player’s level sucks or is too hard, they won’t know until after they have uploaded it. Sometimes it is made that way by design, there is nobody who tells a designer to adjust and fine tune the content with the player in mind.
At the end of the day, the levels are simply not Nintendo made. Nintendo does have a design team and colleagues who tell a designer to take a level back to the editing process if it is not right. They also have a very high standard of quality that is extremely hard to replicate, and it comes with years of experience, teamwork, and talent. Super Mario Maker 2 actually shows off this very distinction as the story mode sees Nintendo designers throw their own version of Super Mario Maker levels into the game, and the results are fun and of top quality.
Whilst Super Mario Maker offers anybody the chance to make their own Mario levels, the varying degrees of quality in player created content and the fact that Nintendo is just so damn good at making games means that Mario platformers are probably safe. With Super Mario Maker 2 still fresh out of the oven, we probably won’t see a new 2D game for a little while, but you can safely bet another is on the way.