Smash Bros. stage builder brings the inevitable: memes, dongs and moderation

Super Smash Bros. stage builder mode, which allows players to create and share custom stages, has gone about as expected in its first week on offer. Which is to say there’s a bell curve of content, the first third of it being patently offensive stuff, the last third of it being really creative and humorous, and the middle and most plentiful third being dicks.

Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but it does describe the moderation headache Nintendo (and by extension, Smash fans) signed up for when this toolkit launched. A blanket proscription on “political statements” already created problems yesterday, for example.

The creator says the stage was deleted and their account was suspended for nine hours. So far there aren’t any tools for reporting another user’s content, so it appears that this is up to Nintendo’s in-house moderators to spot and act upon. The trans-rights stage creator said a customer support rep told them they didn’t agree with the decision, and advised them to run that up the chain of command, and start a thread about it in the game’s support forums.

However, a similar user-created stage earlier in the day appeared to have no problems being uploaded and shared.

As the player observed further down the thread, the proliferation of “porn, 9/11 and Sans [the Undertale NPC],” in user-generated content make this “Miiverse all over again.” Others have had the same reaction:

Not everything is objectionable of course. Here’s Avengers Tower, getting ready for Avengers: Endgame next week.

And more than 15 years later, Trogdor endures to burninate the thatched-roof cottages.

And this player is working on a working calculator, a staple of UGC levels.

And nothing can stop the inexorable march of Steamed Hams.

But yeah, penises, it should be no surprise. By using the skyline here, the creator was able to disguise Waluigi’s schlong and defeat the advanced penis recognition heuristics Nintendo is said to have built into the stage creator, to keep phalluses (phalli?) from going online.

Yet for every Mario-Farting-You-Out-His-Butt stage, there are nice homages to games like Snipperclips and Excitebike. Again, we’ve gone through this before with Super Mario Maker and the Miiverse, so it will probably require some forbearance — both in seeing offensive, or just offensively clichéd crap, or for a moderation dragnet catching legitimate things, until everyone’s enthusiasm levels off.

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