An Argument for a Super Mario Bros. 2 Game Style in Super Mario Maker 2
With unique gameplay elements from other Mario games, here is why Super Mario Bros. 2 deserves the spotlight in Super Mario Maker 2.
Yesterday, Nintendo held a new Direct solely focusing on the Nintendo Switch exclusive Super Mario Maker 2, and it revealed almost everything I could have wanted in a sequel to one of my favorite Wii U games. That being said, there is still one major sore spot for me with Super Mario Maker 2: there is still no Super Mario Bros. 2 game style!
Super Mario Bros. 2, also known as Super Mario Bros USA in Japan, is one of the quirkiest entries in the entire Super Mario Bros. series and one of my personal favorites. It was sorely missing from the original and that once again seems to be the case with its sequel. That being said, this latest Direct houses some evidence that makes me believe a Super Mario Bros. 2 game style could be included, or at least has the potential to be added to the game in the future.
Vertical Sub Areas
Super Mario Maker 2 is going all out with giving players all the tools they’d ever want to create unique levels. One of these new tools is Vertical Sub Areas, which allows players to diversify the levels they are building with smaller sub areas. While only touched on briefly, this feature is one of the biggest indicators that a Super Mario Bros. 2 style would work in Super Mario Maker 2. The announcement also took place within the clouds in a sky level, a clear reference to Super Mario Bros. 2, if nothing else.
I say that because verticality was one of the biggest core concepts that Super Mario Bros. 2 focused on around the time of its inception. In regards to Super Mario Bros. 2’s (then under development as Doki Doki Panic) prototype, “the idea was that you would have people vertically ascending, and you would have items and blocks that you could pile up to go higher, or you could grab your friend that you were playing with and throw them to try and continue to ascend,” Super Mario Bros. 2 Director Kensuke Tanabe told Wired back in 2011.
While the final version of Super Mario Bros. 2 obviously featured more side-scrolling sections as “the vertical-scrolling gimmick wasn’t enough to get us interesting gameplay,” sections like this still remained in the final game. Vertical levels like this weren’t possible in Super Mario Maker for the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, but the addition of Vertical Sub Areas makes accurate recreations of Super Mario Bros. 2 levels much more of a possibility in Super Mario Maker 2 for Nintendo Switch.
Working in tandem with Vertical Sub Areas is Scroll Stop. The Super Mario Maker 2 Direct revealed that “To hide an area from view and prevent scrolling from revealing it, create a solid line of blocks perpendicular to the scroll direction.” Right now, this feature seems to mainly be included so players can create inconspicuous secret rooms, but it could be modified in a Super Mario Bros. 2 style to create secret subspaces.
One of the more interesting recurrences within Super Mario Bros. 2 are the subspaces in levels, some of which are well hidden. With some modification on Nintendo’s end, the Scroll Stop feature could be modified to make subspaces like this possible. While this may be a stretch considering its current form, Vertical Sub Areas and Scroll Stop do indicate that the groundwork for some of Super Mario Bros. 2’s most unique level gimmicks are included in Super Mario Maker 2, whereas they weren’t in the original.
Complete Game Style Changes
The biggest thing working against a Super Mario Bros. 2 style ever being in the original Super Mario Maker was that Mario’s second outing in the west was just way too different. While unique in their own ways, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. are more similar and straightforward in their controls in comparison to Super Mario Bros. 2.
As Super Mario Bros. 2 technically started as a completely different game, it features several quirks that make it the black sheep of the 2D Mario series. Players can pick up and throw items like turnips and enemies as the main form of attacking. Super Mario Bros. 2 also features four playable characters with unique playstyles and other subtle differences, like there being less power-ups overall compared to other Mario games.
While these differences made implementing a Super Mario Bros. 2 theme that was just purely aesthetic in the original Super Mario Maker difficult, Super Mario Maker 2 seems to be allowing much more variation when it comes to its extra game style: Super Mario 3D World. This 3D game has been translated into 2D meaning, there are a few mechanics and items that function quite differently than the other games. As such, if players are to toggle between a traditional style and 3D World, the entire level must be cleared.
Because this is a feature, it shows that extra game styles don’t need to follow the traditional Mario formula to a T if the game in question has its own unique set of gameplay rules to highlight. While Super Mario 3D World is much less of a radical shift in Game Style than Super Mario Bros. 2 would be, it shows that Nintendo is willing to make the necessary modifications to make less traditional styles like Super Mario Bros. 2 work.
While the aforementioned things are the most concrete things that prove a Super Mario Bros. 2 game style is more likely than ever in Super Mario Maker 2, there are a few other reasons for its inclusion that I’ll point out here. First off, the image above shows that “extra styles” are sectioned from the main four game styles. Currently, this section only houses Super Mario 3D World, but there is clearly space there for other styles and it would certainly be odd for it to be the only Extra Style ever added.
As for more personal reasons, the multiplayer feature shows that Mario doesn’t have to be the sole playable character, so a Super Crown-style powerup (insert Bowsette joke here) to change characters could possibly work if Nintendo were to do a Super Mario Bros. 2 theme. Many of the world themes of Super Mario Bros. 2 are included in Super Mario Maker 2, which would make a smooth transition (in terms of aesthetics) less drastic. Also, wouldn’t it be fitting for the second Super Mario Maker game to feature the style of the second western Mario Bros. game?
Even if a game style based on Super Mario Maker 2 is never added to Super Mario Maker 2, it seems that the groundwork has been laid to bring us a step closer to a possible conclusion. Don’t get me wrong: Super Mario Maker 2 looks absolutely amazing, and it added many fan-requested features like slopes, so I am definitely looking forward to the game that is about to jumpstart Nintendo’s strong 2019 lineup.
Nintendo clearly listened to fan feedback for this game, so fans need to make it clear to them this is a style they eventually want included in the game. Despite my bias as a fan of Super Mario Bros. 2, I just want to show that it’s more possible than ever in Super Mario Maker 2.