Could New Super Mario Bros work well with a level editor?
Through the years, many a gamer has wished for a level editor in Mario, while simultaneously complaining about how basic the New Super Mario Bros series looks in comparison to the likes of Super Mario Galaxy. But could the simplistic style of the NSMB series mean a level editor would be a really effective idea to implement, as well as an easy one to include?
For one thing, a good level editor is really only practical to make/use when the game’s graphics can easily be assembled by fans. Many people have tried making a Donkey Kong Country one for instance, and this was the result:
Do you honestly see yourself with the patience and free time needed to assemble a pseudo 3D looking level from a few thousand hard to differentiate tiles? This is the big problem with games like Rayman and Rayman Origins, Earthworm Jim and various other games with extremely fancy and overly detailed graphics, and also why pretty much nobody’s ever designed their own levels for them.
But for New Super Mario Bros 2 and Mii, Nintendo could make an easy to use drag and drop editor for levels in a similar style to the ones in the Mario vs Donkey Kong series, or Brawl’s Stage Builder:
Something like this is much, much easier to use for fans of the game, right? I think a New Super Mario Bros 2 or Mii editor would work much the same way, and might even look a bit like the mock up below (made with real tiles):
Something like that would be extremely simple to make (since the tiles in NSMB are always either 16 x 16 or 24 x 24 pixels) and would also be extremely simple to use for Mario fans in general. That’s the advantage of using a simple graphics style, it means a level editor for the game would be immediately useable and require no long hours of assembling random tiles just to get a decent looking level.
Similarly, the fact the tiles are generally simple means you can tell what parts are solid and which aren’t. Useful for a level editor, especially as you can generally figure out what’s doable before actually testing it.
Given that editors in Mario vs Donkey Kong and Smash Bros Brawl have also generally been successful, as has WarioWare DIY, I think adding such an editor to either New Super Mario Bros 2 or New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U would really extend the game’s replay value. Not to mention, what other advantage have these games and consoles got?
Such a level editor would be a perfect use for the 3DS touch screen, with the level objects being dragged to or even drawn straight onto the display. Can you imagine how useful and neat in general it’d be if you could draw a fancy shape on the top screen and the game automatically draw the correct foreground tiles to match? So this:
Could be automatically transformed into this:
I think that’s actually how the track designer worked in Diddy Kong Racing DS, although with only one texture/tile for the entire track. And I think this is a good way to use the touch screen and stylus for New Super Mario Bros 2, or the Wii U’s special controller for New Super Mario Bros Mii.
It’s also a good idea for Nintendo since it gives them a quick, easy way to immediately make Little Big Planet or whatever it’s called completely obsolete. This not only makes one Sony ‘killer app’ completely meaningless for Vita and PS3 sales, but also means more people will buy New Super Mario Bros 2 and New Super Mario Bros Mii, since far more people want to design their own Mario levels than levels for a game/universe nobody cares about. It’s also good for Nintendo’s popularity online, the success of games like Minecraft and various SMB editors (Lunar Magic, Toad’s Tool, Super Mario Bros X, Reggie and Super Mario Flash) indicates than an official tool would be extremely popular on internet forums and Youtube. Which is a pretty good thing considering the growing disinterest in New Super Mario Bros and the perception of the sub series as lazily made/designed.
So in conclusion, I think the simplistically designed graphics and tilesets used for New Super Mario Bros 2 and Mii would make them work really well with a level editor, and I think such an editor would itself be a popular feature that’d get people more interested in these games again. Could something like this potentially even be one of the reasons Nintendo is keeping the style simple? Maybe a level editor is a possible ‘hook’ Nintendo is using to get people to buy the next New Super Mario Bros game, and they want the graphics as simple as possible in order for levels to be more easily made by players.
What do you think?