I just got Super Mario Maker, and I have to say, I love this game so much. The game gives you a lot of freedom in how you design your courses…except when it comes to naming them. The game isn’t always clear on why certain words are banned and others aren’t, so in this post, I’ll share with you my research on censored course names.
A year and a half ago, I did something very similar with censored names in Pokémon X and Y, and it’s proven by far to be my most popular post on this blog. So many people chimed in as the months went on, fleshing out my list of censored words. Pokémon and Mario are both Nintendo products (though Pokémon is developed by Game Freak, whereas Nintendo proper developed Super Mario Maker), so I thought it would be useful to compare the games.
I started by entering most of the censored names from Pokémon into the course names for SMM. I quickly found that SMM is much more lenient than Pokémon X and Y when it comes to the words you use. That being said, I didn’t check every last name from my Pokémon post. However, if you make it to the last section of this post, you’ll see a big caveat when it comes to the leniency of SMM. In some ways, SMM is more restrictive than Pokémon, which can make it tricky to figure out what words you can use and which words you cannot.
Warning: This post contains strong language, obviously, but is used in the interest of educating the reader on exactly where Nintendo draws the line when it comes to censorship.
As in my Pokémon post, I started with human anatomy. So many naughty words exist for describing certain parts of the human body that my assumption was that, like Pokémon, most of these words would be banned.
I was partially wrong.
The following words for female anatomy cannot be used in SMM: cunt, pussy, snatch, titty, titties, twat, and vagina. That’s it. My list on the Pokémon post was much longer (though interestingly, titty in the singular was allowed in Pokémon, but no more in SMM). I’m really not sure what to make of these findings, but all of the following words CAN be used, which were banned in Pokémon: boob, breast, clitoris, labia, tit, and vulva.
The following words for male anatomy cannot be used: ballsack, choad, cock, dick, nutsack, pecker, penis, schlong, scrotum, testes, and testicle. This list is largely the same as Pokémon, except in Pokémon testicle was an acceptable word. Additionally, Pokémon banned the word balls, yet balls is acceptable in SMM. Nuts, numbnuts, prick, and sack can be used in SMM, but not in Pokémon.
Pokémon also banned alternative spellings of these words, to some success. I haven’t tested all combinations of alternative spellings, but I found that words like c0ck (with a zero instead of an “O”) and d!ck work. This is important to know, as one of the first levels I designed I wanted to call “Cock of the Walk,” as in, rooster, but could not. Instead, that level is now named “C0CK of the WALK” (the caps are so that the larger zero doesn’t look as far out of place).
The only banned general anatomy terms I found were anal and ass. And this is a very important point: in Pokémon, most words that contained the letters “a-s-s” were generally banned, like assassin. However, so far, I’ve found SMM to be much more forgiving when it comes to using the root “a-s-s,” which is actually a huge relief.
The following general anatomy terms were banned in Pokémon, but are now acceptable in SMM: butt, gonads, and genital. You can still use bosom, bust, butthole, and nipple, just like in Pokémon.
I’m going to use a term throughout this post that needs a little explaining. When you start typing words into the Wii U game pad, it will provide “suggested” terms above the keypad. This is similar to the autofill feature on Google, for example. What I find fascinating about this feature is that many times it will suggest words that, in my mind, should be censored (under Nintendo’s admittedly opaque guidelines). Throughout this post, then, I’ll refer to “suggested” terms that Nintendo freely provides to the player.
For example, if you start writing “butt” the Wii U will suggest buttocks. It will also suggest arse, circumcise, hymen, phallic, phallus, and taint. In Pokémon, arse was banned.
This doesn’t exactly relate to anatomy, but I also found that SMM bans more than 4 numerals in a row, presumably to prevent kids from sharing their phone numbers and other private information online. Thus, you can’t write something like 5318008 (type it in your calculator, turn it upside down, and it spells “boobies”).
As in Pokémon, words for bodily fluids are generally banned: crap, cum, jizz, piss, semen, shit, and turd. You can use feces, pee, and poop if you want. And dung and urination are suggested words.
Given how loose SMM had gotten on the anatomy words, I was thinking a similar looseness would accompany words related to sexuality. Here I was wrong. The following words are banned: fuck, fuk, hardon, hooker, masturbate (and the misspelling masturbat), milf, molest (but molester works), pedo, pimp, rape, rapist, sex, shag, and whore. Prostitute is acceptable, even though it was banned in Pokémon.
In Pokémon, panties was banned, but in SMM, panties is now acceptable. Other words for undergarments that were acceptable in Pokémon remain acceptable in SMM, such as bra and thong.
As with anatomy, SMM suggested words that don’t make much sense, like abortion, fetish, fornicate, and suck. Orgy is banned, not surprisingly, but surprisingly, orgiastic was suggested. Erection was suggested, even though stiffy is banned. Woody is acceptable.
Horny, hump, screw and XXX work, but were banned in Pokémon.
If you start typing in erot, SMM will suggest erotic, erotica, and eroticism!
What greatly surprised me about Pokémon was that all of the general terms I could think of for alcohol, tobacco, and drug substances were allowed. Given that the common names were allowed, I assumed that slang terms would also escape censorship.
SMM is largely the same. The only substance word I could find that was banned was cocaine (it was allowed in Pokémon). What’s different about SMM, though, are these suggested words. If you start typing any of the following , the Wii U will suggest: alcohol, cigar, cigarette, drugs, ecstasy, heroin, hookah, marijuana, and weed.
The following words related to violence and war were banned in Pokémon, but are now acceptable in SMM, including: damn, damnation, Hitler, Holocaust, kill, killer, jihad, murder, Nazi, and terrorist. In fact, when you start typing in “terror” one of the suggested words is terrorism.
Hell was always an acceptable word in Pokémon, and it works in SMM as well. Furthermore, when you type in hell, SMM will suggest words like hellish, hellfire, and hell-bent.
Lots of insult and derogatory words are banned in SMM, including bastard, bitch, chink, dyke, lesbo, fag, faggy, faggot, nig, nigga, nigger, spic, and queer. Interestingly, b!tch works in SMM, though it was banned in Pokémon. Douchebag is banned in SMM, but douche is okay.
Wetback is acceptable, though was banned in Pokémon.
Perhaps the biggest change concerning name calling surrounds LGBT terms. In Pokémon, gay was acceptable but lesbian was banned for some reason (it’s not an offensive term). Additionally, homo was banned, but hetero was acceptable. In SMM, gay, lesbian, and homo are now acceptable words.
Perhaps the biggest relief I found with SMM is that viola is an acceptable word, whereas in Pokémon it was banned! Let me back up and explain the context here. In Pokémon, viola was banned as “viol” is French for “rape.” Players can trade Pokémon with players in other countries, so I guess Game Freak was trying to protect their French players from getting an American Pokémon named the equivalent of rape. What didn’t make sense, though, is that the name of the first Gym Leader was Viola!
Pokémon X and Y was notorious for banning words that were offensive in other languages, and given that players can trade levels in SMM with people all over the world, I figured Nintendo would take the same stance to protect international audiences.
My command of offensive words in other languages is quite limited, so if you are a reader from outside the US, please confirm which words are banned in your language. I can’t remember why, but dago was banned in Pokémon; it’s banned in SMM as well.
Other foreign words that were banned Pokémon (read the comments on that Pokémon post to understand the speculation why) but are now acceptable in SMM include: chi-chi, hektor, kukka, lana, laputa, mona, penelope, and pik.
Big Caveat: Use caution with the “acceptable” words
This list of banned and acceptable words is by no means complete, but at least it’s a start to this research. If you find any other words that are banned or acceptable, please let me know in the comments.
That said, I caution you against using any of the accepted words for the following reason: Nintendo might still flag your levels as inappropriate! I didn’t know this at the time, but SMM actually runs on Nintendo’s Miiverse system. I’m curious if the banned words in SMM are the same as those banned across all games that utilize Miiverse. I couldn’t find a decent website that listed banned words in Miiverse, so this is an open question at the moment.
When I started finding all of these acceptable words that were banned in Pokémon, I got suspicious. I thought, perhaps, you are given a lot of freedom for how you name your courses in private, but once you upload them to the SMM server, then they might get flagged.
I performed a simple test. I used one of the default SMM levels, named it “boob“ and uploaded it. Boob, of course, is an acceptable word. I was thinking once I uploaded it SMM would tell me I couldn’t use that word.
Nope! The level uploaded just fine, and somebody even played it.
My curiosity piqued, I thought I’d go all out. What if I packed a course title with as many offensive, but acceptable, terms that I could? I created another simple level and uploaded it with the title “death to nazi muslim molesters.” Now, I’m not even sure what that title means. I didn’t want to inadvertently offend somebody, so I planned on taking the level down within a few minutes anyway. I hit upload, and sure enough, the level uploaded with no issues.
I continued testing words and planned on uploading a third level with “acceptable” words, as I couldn’t believe these terms were getting through. But then I hit a snag. I couldn’t upload levels anymore. I was told to go to Miiverse and read the error messages.
And then it became clear. My first level, boob, was deleted for “inappropriate or harmful content.” According to the Miiverse Code of Conduct, this kind of content is defined as “anything that promotes dangerous behavior or illegal activities.” So boob promotes dangerous behavior or illegal activities?
The second level was also promptly deleted for “hateful or bullying content.” That makes sense, and Miiverse defines this content as “any content that slanders, or misrepresents another person, as well as any discriminatory, harassing, or abusive content.”
Fair enough. What upset me, though, was that I was banned from posting anything in Miiverse for two weeks! I can play other people’s SMM levels, but can’t upload my own. Here’s what I was told:
You have been banned from writing messages and community posts for two weeks due to a violation of the Miiverse Code of Conduct. This ban applies to any other users who access Miiverse using this device. If further violations of the Miiverse Code of Conduct occur, you and any other users who access Miiverse using this device may be permanently banned from writing messages and community posts.
This is why I say, then, to use the acceptable words with extreme caution. Apparently SMM has an explicit list of banned words—the game won’t let you use terms like fuck in any circumstance. However, it seems there is also a hidden, implicit list of banned words, ones that users won’t learn of until they transgress the Miiverse Code of Conduct.
So, because of this infraction, I hesitate to continue this research: I want to keep uploading levels to SMM! And if I do get banned from Miiverse, the penalty doesn’t just apply to me, but to ANY users of my Wii U. Thus, I wouldn’t be able to simply create a new Mii or user profile to get around the ban.
Hopefully this post is helpful in figuring out what words work and what words don’t in SMM. In a way, the system is looser than Pokémon, provided you keep the levels to yourself. But use caution in uploading them to Miiverse, as it seems there is somebody at Nintendo who checks Miiverse posts against a secret list of banned words. And you won’t know what that list is until you have your content blocked.