Earlier today, Nintendo announced an update is coming to Super Mario Maker on December 21. That's good timing, seeing as a lot of new people will be Mario Making after Christmas Day.
Two of the updates are community related. The "World Record" update displays the fastest clear-time for each stage, a feature that's sure to please competitively-minded Super Mario Maker players.
The "Super Mario Maker Bookmark" lets you bookmark stages for later play via a web portal that's accessible via tablets, phones, and PCs. You can also use the Bookmark feature to search for courses according to difficulty, theme, and course style.
The meatiest part of the update involves new content. First, there's a "Bumper" that's not unlike the bumpers that torment you in Sonic the Hedgehog's Spring Yard Zone. Super Mario Maker's bumpers have eyes, however. Important distinction.
There's also the "P Warp Door," which functions like a regular door, but is only active when a P-Switch is pressed. If you enjoy torturing people with Ghost Houses that go around and around, congratulations, here's your iron maiden.
Finally, there's the "Fire Koopa Clown Car," which looks as cool as it sounds. The upgrade isn't just aesthetic, however. The new car shoots fireballs, which you can even charge to break through certain walls.
While the P Warp Door has appeared in previous Mario games, there hasn't been anything quite like the Bumpers, or like the Fire Clown Car (unless you count the Sky Pop from Super Mario Land). So, this update for Super Mario Maker takes the game to a really interesting place: You can build a Mario experience that reaches just outside the boundaries of the mainstream Mario games as we currently know them.
In other words, Mario games aren't usually known for shoot-em-up stages, but with the latest update, you can go to town. The UK trailer showing off the new features even exhibits a small example, seemingly to get players' imaginations oiled up.
It's highly unlikely Nintendo cooked up the Fire Clown Car update in a vacuum. People have been making shoot-em-up stages with the clown car and the Fire Flower since Super Mario Maker's earliest days. Nintendo's tinkering makes the building process a little easier, of course, since course-makers don't have to ensure players have constant access to a steady stream of Fire Flowers.
We learn as we build with Super Mario Maker, and Nintendo learns as it watches us build. It's an intriguing symbiotic relationship between developer and player, and it should be a lot of fun to see where it takes us all in the upcoming months.