Nintendo Just Made A Maddening Change To Mario Maker’s P-Switch

Nintendo Just Made A Maddening Change To Mario Maker’s P-Switch

When Nintendo updated Super Mario Maker last week, it secretly tweaked the way P-Switches work in the game. It’s causing headaches for creators. Traditionally, the P-Switch is used to swap solid blocks into coins and vice versa. But more complicated stages have found uses familiar to anyone who’s ventured into kaizo-style levels or the expert and super expert stages in Mario Maker. There, the P-Switch becomes a platform.

Here’s what that looks like:

It’s tricky, but not that hard to pull off. P-Switches can also be used as temporary platforms to hop into doors hovering above the ground, but in this case, Nintendo didn’t touch that — it modified the P-Switch’s hitbox.

In a video game, what you see — that is, the character model — is different than the hitbox. This might be a little easier to understand with a fighting game:

Nintendo Just Made A Maddening Change To Mario Maker’s P-SwitchImage Credit: Event Hubs

Image Credit: Event Hubs In this case, Ryu’s sprite is different than his hitbox. The blue areas are where the player can strike Ryu, while the other spots won’t do anything. Different frames of Ryu’s animation change where the hitbox ends up, informing experienced players where and when to attack Ryu’s sprite.

(It’s worth reading the entire Event Hubs article, by the way.)

Nintendo appears to have done something similar with the P-Switch, which Keiichi1996 demonstrates in a YouTube video showing the changes:

It’s now much harder to jump off a P-Switch, making an already advanced tactic (and level design technique) even more difficult to pull off.

Here’s a closer look:

It’s one thing if Nintendo wanted to tweak how the P-Switch worked in Mario Maker; that’s the company’s right. Maybe it doesn’t see the P-Switch jump as anything but an abusive trick. But as with the ongoing mysterious about why levels are deleted from the online servers, Nintendo never communicated this change in a patch. For all we know, it’s really a glitch.

More problematic about the change is that it’s not universal. If a level was created prior to the most recent Mario Maker patch, the old way of jumping off the P-Switch applies. If the level was created after the patch, the new way applies. If you were working on a level pre-patch, then load it up and make a change post-patch, the new P Switch rules are applied.

For players, it means you can never know how to approach a P-Switch jump in Mario Maker. The game doesn’t communicate which technique you should apply. As with disappearing levels, that’s shitty.

In many ways, Mario Maker is brilliant. In others, it shows just how far Nintendo has to go before it understands how to manage online games.


  • Well those are certainly some shitty comparisons that don’t seem to show anything at all. But sure, if you say so Patrick.

      • Yeah I don’t really see any real difference here except the one on the right gets to the top slightly faster.

    • Agree – the only difference I can see in the last GIF is that the one on the right seems to be a little quicker?

    • It makes a bit more sense in the video he took it from, but even then there’s not much explaining. From what I can gather the P-switch is now shorter making this specific type of bouncing require much more precise timing. The level author really struggles with the smaller window.

      • From what I saw, the point at which you jump is slightly higher than before so the timing is slightly different to pull off the trick.

  • A glitch people use to made levels works differnelty because an update slightly changes the glitch?
    And this is news?

    • It may seem insignificant but the timing change is obviously enough that designers need to rethink how they approach things because some of their older techniques won’t work anymore. On the player side, they now have to rewrite muscle memory so they can adapt to the timings on the new blocks. However, they can’t just adapt to the new timing only, they have to remember the old timings for the legacy levels. Trouble is, there’s no way to tell which one is which so now you just have to figure it out through trial and error. This sort of thing happens in the software industry all the time and for some people it’s not that big of a deal but for others it breaks integral parts of their software.

    Making it not apply retroactively is a good thing, because those older levels could effectively break and become unfinishable.

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