I spent part of my weekend playing Super Mario Maker on Wii U. I did not have the desire to dig in and create my own levels, unlike Jeremy (Level Codes: EDD0-0000-0024-CA8E, DB3D-0000-0012-8E23) and Bob (FB30-0000-0034-1982, C9A3-0000-0030-974E). For me, it'll probably be like Minecraft and other games that allow you to craft something: I have big dreams, but the amount of effort I put forth towards realizing those dreams is small.
I played a number of random levels over the weekend. Some were fun, some were great, some were horrible, some were absolute nightmares, and some were odd letters from the fringes of the internet. Like any other creation tool, the gulf between crap and craft is very wide.
Unfortunately this week I'm traveling for work. This means there's no Mario Maker fun in my immediate future. Yes, I could be like Jeremy and take my Wii U on the flight with me, controlling everything through the GamePad. I skipped that idea because I tend to travel light and the Wii u would take too much space in my carry on luggage. There's already a laptop, sketchbook, Kindle, iPad Mini, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo 3DS in there.
It's when I thought about the ever-present 3DS - I always have it on me for StreetPassing at least - that I wondered why Nintendo won't let us play Mario Maker levels on the go. Imagine Mario Maker Player, a $20-$30 game that would essentially work like Mario Maker's level viewer. Browse popular levels, insert codes to play your friends' levels, or save a few levels to your 3DS. As a companion to the full game, I'd buy it.
None of the visual styles used in Mario Maker, including Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros, are beyond the capabilities of the 3DS. In fact, those games are playable on the platform. Yes, the 3DS has two screens, but honestly I think the full Mario Maker building experience would be a bit cramped on the portable. It's be better just to focus on the playing side of the equation.
Mario Maker Player would satisfy a niche of players who perhaps don't want to build levels in the game. It'd possibly work as a gateway drug for the full Mario Maker experience. It would also draw on the 52 million user-strong 3DS audience, compared to the meager 10 million users on Wii U.
The fact that such an option isn't available is perplexing to me, though perhaps the ability to switch styles on the fly might be beyond the capabilities of the handheld. Regardless, it's a great idea.
Plus, I'd be able to play Mario Maker levels right now, which is the important part.