Super Mario Maker is coming, and it looks incredible. There has been some pretty extensive coverage on the game too, but I suppose that’s the great thing about a game like this. The real surprises aren’t what the it tells you can do with it, but what people will do once they get their hands on it. Still, Nintendo wouldn’t be Nintendo if they didn’t hide some cool stuff in there for long-time fans, and with so many of these deep cuts popping up in Super Mario Maker, it seems they’re giving Mario a much better 30th anniversary celebration than they did for the big two-five. But Super Mario Maker isn’t just filled with the obvious, it’s chock full of little touches that make it all the more special. Here are 5 that you may have missed.
1. It has an awful lot in common with Mario Paint
Okay, let’s start off with an easy one. Since the very first trailer for Mario Maker, the UI has showed more than a passing resemblance to Mario Paint, and as time went on, it only got more apparent. In the image above, you can see the Undodog in the bottom right corner of both games. But that’s not all. See that rocket ship next to the Undodog? That’s the “clear screen” rocket ship from Mario Paint. That cool robot head icon? That’s the “game save” robot from Mario Paint (and he even plays the same music when you use him). Heck, even that green frog at the bottom of the Mario Paint screen can also be seen as an icon in Super Mario Maker! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mario Paint is all over this game, and I for one couldn’t be happier.
2. Mario’s worn this outfit before.
At first glance, one might wonder why in all the promotional images for Super Mario Maker, Mario is wearing what looks like Fireball Mario clothes. Actually, this is a reference to his first construction gig in the 1985 NES classic Wrecking Crew (He was a carpenter in Donkey Kong). The hardhat may be yellow instead of red (which comes from the Japan-only sequel Wrecking Crew ’98), but everything else is spot on, and for good reason, too. Wrecking Crew was part of the Programmable Series on the NES, and featured its very own level editor. Sure, it’s nowhere near as robust as Super Mario Maker, but there’s definitely some shared DNA there.
3. Super Mario Bros. 2 makes an appearance after all.
One of the loudest complaints Super Mario Maker has gotten since its unveiling was its lack of Super Mario Bros. 2-style levels. Obviously, Mario 2 was a very different game, and incorporating those elements would have had a drastic effect on the rest of Super Mario Maker, but the new game isn’t completely devoid of Subcon-related material. As you can see, when creating levels in Super Mario Bros. 3-style, doors are actually the doors from Super Mario Bros. 2! Originally, doors in Super Mario Bros. 3 were flat colored rectangles, but in Super Mario Maker, they are none other than the classic red doors from Super Mario Bros. 2. Looks like there’s still love for Doki Doki panic after all.
4. They made a whole new Bowser sprite for Super Mario World.
If you thought something seemed off when you saw Bowser in Super Mario World-style stages in Super Mario Maker, you weren’t wrong. Despite already having a Bowser sprite for Super Mario World, Nintendo decided to give the big bad a more modern makeover for his appearances in Super Mario Maker. Clearly, they would have needed to create a new sprite anyway, as Bowser is never seen outside of his clown car in Super Mario World, and he would need a full-body sprite for Super Mario Maker, but instead of matching the style of the existing sprite, they went ahead and made him look more like the Bowser we know and love/hate today. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the way he looks in the clown car anymore, but that new sprite is totally awesome on its own.
5. Those urchins are from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
So, in Super Mario Maker, anything you can place in one level style can be recreated in all other level styles. This results in some pretty fun things, like brand new sprites for stuff that never originally appeared in those games. Wigglers and Boos in Super Mario Bros.? Bowser Jr. and ghost houses in Super Mario Bros. 3? Bloopers and Hammer Bros. in Super Mario World? Madness! This stuff is so cool to see, and the fact that they were able to make them all look perfectly cohesive in those environments is simply incredible. However, in Super Mario Bros. 3, there was an underwater enemy called Jelectro. It was basically a stationary jellyfish that shocked you when you touched it. This enemy didn’t exist in Super Mario World, but instead of just making a new sprite like they did with other characters (or just swiping the existing 16-bit sprite from Super Mario All-Stars), they decided to throw in the urchins from the Game Boy game The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. They even have the exact same frames of animation! Why? Who knows? It doesn’t matter! It’s awesome!
As of this writing, the game isn’t even out yet. These are just thingsthat have been gleaned from the gameplay videos that exist now. What other treasures and easter eggs are hidden in the depths of Super Mario Maker? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure though, Nintendo is finally giving their mascot the anniversary celebration he deserves.