Super Mario Maker 2 is here and it’s amazing but, for those of us in the ROM community, it reminds us of how absolutely bizarre some of Nintendo’s policies are when it comes to fan-made games. It seems like the company is cool with the concept – in theory, at least. But only if it is in their own garden, so to speak.
Nothing is probably going to change with Nintendo’s approach to this kind of indie fare but we’d like to think that the success and acclaim that Mario Maker 2 is giving the company might also clue them into the potential for other concepts to emerge if they just loosen up on the legal aspect of everything just a little. Ideally, Nintendo would work with creators to make things but we’ve seen how heavy-handed the Big N can be with their now-cancelled collab project with YouTubers. Needless to say, the terms of the partnership were really, really one-sided and illustrated a common problem many are pointing out with the company’s approach to modern media.
They just seem to be stuck in a different era. Yet, when you look at it from a business standpoint, there’s little surprise why Nintendo is protective of its IP as it is. Many of its brands appeal to children and the last thing the company needs is a parent finding something awful in a ROM hack or full-blown fan game their child has downloaded. They will invariably blame Nintendo, and the Kyoto company knows this.
Still, they’re not hesitating to take a concept born in the indie scene and export it to the masses as a game and that’s basically what Mario Maker is. Who knows what Nintendo’s approach will be but it would appear that letting new things happen is in the company’s interests in many ways.
So what does Mario Maker mean for the future of Nintendo? Hopefully more “do-it-yourself” games and letting gamers make their own stuff. That could mean everything from Minecraft clones featuring Nintendo properties – like Mario – or even a Fire Emblem RPG-maker style game. The possibilities are really endless when you combine the fandom with a maker-style format. Heck, there are probably some ideas out there that we can’t even think of right now that could make unique use of Nintendo’s universe.
All of this is overshadowed by the likelihood that Nintendo isn’t going to really change its approach as a company and that’s a shame. Really the best we can hope for is that the company pursues more of this style of game and in a variety of applications. That would not only be a winning formula but something that the fandom would absolutely love.
As for Mario Maker, it looks like that series has a healthy future ahead of it. One future day to look forward to is when the company adds the 3D versions of Mario into the level-making scheme because, let’s face it, has anyone really had too much of any of the 3D Mario games?