When Creators Are Outmatched By Consumers: Mario Maker Could Be Bad For Nintendo

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Letting the customer have a go at creating levels or what have you has proven to be quite an interesting step for many games. Steam lets players weave together all sorts of visual modifications into certain games with comical results, Garry’s Mod lets people create various modes and maps to play in. This is all fun and games right now, however there is very much a movement of player created content in the industry, as there has been for the past few years. This can be wonderful, it can also be a detriment.

With everybody having a go at creating you will obviously get a lot of terrible to mediocre creations. Above that are the pretty darn good ones and great ones, rivalling the peaks of professional creators every once in a blue moon. With the frankly silly freedom Mario Maker will give players, I can see it as potentially damaging to the credibility of Nintendos designers. Yes some games have some truly great level designs, it’s not often though you get them however and even within a game there are some clear winners and losers.

if we get everybody and their grandmother creating fantastic level designs Nintendo have never created before…. will we want to go back to the sometimes bland and monotonous designs of Nintendo themselves? Now Mario game hacks and alterations have been around for a while and I do believe a large amount of the populace including Nintendo saw them as one persons somewhat complicated work that can easily get swept away among hundreds in kind.

Mario Maker will let the community put the better stages in the spotlight, bringing out all sorts of monstrous stages to try out. Will we still enjoy the works of the creator when the consumers can do equal or perhaps better for a low low price of nothing? I’ve always been concerned about such things, even when the create your own game fad came rolling in.

There are some talented people among the players, people who have the skills but never the opportunity or technical prowess to put them out there before. With an easy tool such as this, an opportunity to shine is present for every player imaginable. This is a good thing, it gets talented people recognised and allows their latent abilities to expand beyond “I bet I could do that”.

it might slowly become a bad thing for companies though, somewhat to even the consumers as well. Bad for companies how? Well who will be that interested in the much weaker and restricted creations of the developers when the consumers do it risk free and cost free? At what point will creation tools become so good the developer need but release one game in a franchise and are deemed redundant? No more new games, we have a game with unfathomable possibilities and would need to produce an impeccable product to match the eventual buckets of highest quality content.

it can be a hazard to devs but what about the consumers? Well if you can get retention of years with a creation game where consumers provide for themselves and others, that isn’t a lot of motivation to release anything else. Remember the mobile rush? It was cheap investments for large returns like never before, it exploded over the industry. Like mobile I do think it would eventually stabilise with creators vying for quality content rather than cheap returns, though I wonder how soon that might be.

I’ve voiced before my issues with a game that feels like it belongs to a “tool box” genre. Here are your toys, do whatever you want. Not every game invokes such a feeling but many do give off a vibe of creativity as necessity, you only get as much out as you can imagine and create. Not everyone has that kind of mind, I don’t and I rather dislike being put into a sandbox and being told “make whatever you want”. I don’t know what I want, I need some guidance, some purpose beyond a self imposed one.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the level design in Super Mario 3D World, it never promoted a really exciting or interesting moment or mechanic for me. Imagine that a creation tool that was very user friendly was released for that kind of gameplay style. Would Nintendo ever be able to match these thousands of creators with the only limit being their motivation and free time? Are there are designers you could hire that could match the unbridled creativity of an army of consumers? I really don’t know.

That for me is the worst part: not knowing. I’ve seen some really fantastic, fully user created hacks of Super Mario World. I’d rather play those that Super Mario World, they look so much more appealing. In fact that is another plus on the consumer creator: a level for every person. You want a hard as balls level to make you pull your hair out from every location? Done. Can’t have that in a flagship title, that kinda difficulty would be too intimidating. With this creator tool, I can give you any kind of level whenever you want. The difficulty curve is your whimsy. Will this kind of creative and design competition help or harm? I can only imagine.

What games would you love a creator tool? Do you think there is a chance you’d stop buying the new Marios because the creator game gives you all you’d need? How do you feel about the ludicrous potential of player created content against developer made? Does DLC even need to exist when consumers can do more and better than you will? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.

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  1. #1 by Matt on August 4, 2015 - 12:44 pm

    Interesting thoughts!

    I would love to see a track creator on Mario Kart. It would be an excellent feature!

    Like

  2. #2 by Gaming Backlog on August 4, 2015 - 4:43 am

    I enjoyed reading your post, but I disagree that giving an easy creation mechanic to consumers will end up being bad for consumers or the companies. The reason I feel this way is because competition has usually resulted in progress, and better content. If the players start making better level designs, Nintendo will have to pick up their feet, and start making games that say, “you think that was good, well look at THIS!” If Nintendo CAN’T do it better, then the consumers who make great levels might be getting jobs at Nintendo. Fans will win, regardless.

    Personally, I don’t enjoy level-creators as much as I used to. The first game I ever saw a level creator for was Excitebike, on the original NES. It blew my mind. “You mean, I can put a ramp wherever I want one?” I don’t own Super Mario Maker (or a Wii U), but I would buy one with the intention of playing games made by the community, and not necessarily to make my own levels. Like you, I don’t always know what I want to do with the tools that are given to me.

    I hadn’t thought a lot about the topic of this post (at least, not until I started reading), but I think this Mario title has a lot of potential to help Nintendo find out what people are looking for when it comes to games. I don’t think Nintendo has given away their cash cow, because they’re always trying to make something new. They’ve given the keys to their old car away, but the next Mario game might be a shape-shifting dimension-travelling time paradox built using the ideas expressed in Super Mario Maker for all we know. People will be saying, “Damn, I wish they would make a Shape-Shifting Dimension-Traveling Time Paradox Mario Maker. Nintendo will say, “just use the little Mario Maker we gave you a few years ago.”

    Great post man. Got me thinking.

    Like

    • #3 by Prof.mcstevie on August 4, 2015 - 3:01 pm

      Glad to throw some odd thoughts your way!

      I don’t really think that it WILL be bad for anyone in the end, it just has the potential to be so. Competition breeds better creations, assuming the competitors are on a roughly equal level. Indies have pros triple A don’t have and vice versa, it does however have the potential to be a landslide for one of them if qualities shift.

      In things like No Mans Sky and other big independant games start doing well, we could see a surge of huge, triple A level indie games that pretty much annihilate the triple A industry into several companies dying out.

      Rather unlikely scenarios, not impossible though. it’s just an odd thought to imagine, when the competition is everything you can do and more it could be great or it could be chaos.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. #4 by hutchwp on August 3, 2015 - 11:09 pm

    Fascinating post. I’m looking forward to the game. I’ve been playing The Lost Levels recently. Most of the levels are in no way fun. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some great Mario games but it surely won’t be massively easy.

    Like

    • #5 by Prof.mcstevie on August 3, 2015 - 11:20 pm

      Lost levels really feels like it would work in a better engine than the original Mario bros. or bare minimum improve dramatically.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #6 by Cirsova on August 4, 2015 - 3:20 am

      The gameboy color version of Lost Levels (pt 2 of S.Mario Deluxe) uses the same physics as the original Mario; some parts that are damn near impossible (like the last castle) on the SNES version can be done in easier and different ways on the Gameboy simply because you can actually reach certain ledges by falling that you couldn’t before due to irreversable forward momentum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #7 by hutchwp on August 4, 2015 - 5:54 am

      Hmmmm very interesting. I’m playing it on the Wii U downloaded version but I’ve never played it before. The Super Mario Bros. 2 I had was the Western version that stuck out like a sore thumb. It had its charms of course, but was much easier.

      Like

    • #8 by hutchwp on August 5, 2015 - 1:13 pm

      The forward momentum is the worst part. Some of the jumps are just impossible to do on first attempt. I’m assuming most people who have completed this in one go have had many many hours of trial and error to get where they need to get. It’s like Champion Road on 3D World but from about the fifth or sixth level.

      Like

  4. #9 by Cirsova on August 3, 2015 - 8:44 pm

    Back in the ancient times of Roms and Emulators, Super Mario Bros. was probably THE most hacked rom of them all…. whether it was a total conversion to a Transformers platformer to something which featured a weird fox-thing collecting heroin needs and sliding down giant boners.

    So, Nintendo’s big marketing move is to go back to the days of NESticle?

    Like

    • #10 by Prof.mcstevie on August 3, 2015 - 9:07 pm

      I guess they finally got a user friendly creator tool that was marketable to even the youngest of audiences.

      Like

    • #11 by Cirsova on August 3, 2015 - 9:23 pm

      You know what that means, though, right? Kaizo Mario for all!
      Seriously, there’s gonna be a million maps out there that will be nothing but tiny rooms stacked floor to ceiling with koopas, and, unless they have a way to filter out troll maps, it’s gonna be a short line at the Mario buffet, the food’s gonna get cold, and folks will stop coming.

      Like

    • #12 by Prof.mcstevie on August 3, 2015 - 11:19 pm

      Community controls what gets promoted or not, it’ll only be kaizo madness if the community makes it so.

      Like

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