“Super Mario” may be an Italian plumber, but that’s the last thing you’re thinking about while punching question mark blocks. He’s just a little cloud of pixels with a tiny brown mustache, right?
But in the next “Super Mario” series entry, there’s one bizarre, unmissable piece of art that’s clearly human:
You see that giant human hand? How could you not!
In “Super Mario Maker,” Nintendo takes the worlds of the original Super Mario Bros. and combines it with the worlds of “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Super Mario World,” and “New Super Mario Bros. U.” But it’s not some compilation of old games — as the title implies, “Super Mario Maker” is a game about creating new Mario levels using the worlds of classic Mario games.
And that’s where the giant human hand comes in.
You create new worlds using the Nintendo Wii U gamepad, the tablet-esque gamepad that comes with Nintendo’s newest game console. What happens on the gamepad is mirrored on-screen, except your real-life hand is mimicked on-screen using the hand seen above.
During a meeting with Nintendo on Thursday in New York City, I tried the game and was immediately struck by the strangeness of a disembodied human hand — bearing little similarity in looks to my own — acting as a stand-in for my actual hand. Yes, I’m a white guy, but my fingers are far from long and slender (sadly).
What if I were, say, a 10-year-old black girl? Or a 30-year-old Japanese man? Or literally anything other than an adult white woman (which the hand appears to belong to)?
Given the mainstream appeal of the mustachioed hero and his ongoing battle against Bowser, you’d think Nintendo — a company that’s repeatedly shown willingness to be inclusive — would have thought of this.
When I asked Nintendo reps about the hand and if it could be changed, they confirmed that it couldn’t be. They also reacted with surprise that there wasn’t an option to swap it out. And hey, the game launches on September 11, so Nintendo could still alter this by launch. Even after the game comes out, Nintendo could issue a patch to the game that adds an option to change this.
Given the nature of how much work goes into actually progamming these games, it’s extremely unlikely any change could be made by launch. So the best hope is probably a patch after the game goes to market.
This isn’t a huge deal, and I’m not exactly offended. It’s just a bizarre and glaring oversight from a company that knows better, especially when it comes to games starring its mascot.