Sure, Super Mario 3D Land has a nice, healthy number of levels. But playing it, we’re reminded of that time on The Simpsons when Barney was worried about the beer supply: “After this case, and the other case, there’s only one case left!”

But, forget beer; who wouldn’t want more Mario? Thankfully, between sequels we may or may not see during this console generation, is a space carved out where downloadable content may come in handy. Unlike the way some other publishers utilize it, Nintendo is approaching the idea with a certain degree of caution, seeking to add bacon and cheese to your potatoes, rather than charge you extra to put meat in your hamburger bun. That is, they don’t want to overdo it, and  would rather use it to prolong interest in their products.

To that end, we find ourselves turning to the games of today. The Nintendo 3DS is going to see DLC for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and the upcoming Fire Emblem, but what of the games that are available now?

For Super Mario 3D Land, the question has been put to the game’s director, Koichi Hayashida, in an interview with Modojo from the Game Developers Conference:

Would you consider adding downloadable content to the game? How easy is it to create new levels?

It’s not something we had initially thought about. Thinking about it now, there would be some challenges, but if there was a really good opportunity to use the stereoscopic effect to create some interesting new elements to introduce to the game, I suppose it’s a possibility. Of course, it’s our job to constantly think of possibilities like that.

Our fingers are crossed that they do, though we hope they don’t get too wrapped up in the stereoscopic part; more than anything, we just want fun levels. And, truth be told, this would not be the first time that the Mario series has seen new content, though it was not downloadable… at least, not in the sense we think of DLC today.

One of the first was with Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, also known as Super Mario Bros. 2: For Super Players in Japan.While it was considered a direct sequel to the original Super Mario Bros., it didn’t really add much to the original formula, and largely served as an expansion pack for players who had conquered the first game and sought greater challenges. As it was released for the Famicom Disk System, gamers could bring their disks to the Disk Writers located in toy and department stores to download the game.

Another instance from Japan involves the game we knew as Super Mario Bros. 2, but which they called Super Mario USA. Or, in this case, BS Super Mario USA.

And no, “BS” doesn’t stand for what you might think; it’s short for “Broadcast Satellite,” as that prefix was often attached to the names of games released for the Satellaview, a Super Famicom attachment which allowed players to download games straight to a BS-X BIOS cart and 8M Memory Pack to play.

In the case of BS Super Mario USA, the game was more similar to the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 2/USA, but was released in four installments and was made to be played alongside a radio broadcast. Rather than just making it through the stages, the goal was to instead find and collect the golden Mario statues hidden in each level, defeat the boss, and then hunt down Wart, whose lair was now hidden in jars found in Subspace– much like how you would use the Warp Zones in the original game.

Other elements were added, including some hand-drawn cutscenes and dialogue from characters who would help you out (such as the King of Subcon and his assistant), character changes, and more. Check it out:

And finally, we come to the one which most of you are most likely familiar with in some form or fashion, and is undoubtedly the best of the bunch: Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Game Boy Advance. This release utilized the Nintendo eReader to scan cards, which could provide players with new items and levels.

With the eReader, the game received a special tenth world (World-e) from which the new levels could be accessed. These included stages with power-ups such as the beloved Goomba’s (aka Kuribo’s) Shoe, the Cape Feather from Super Mario World, items such as boomerangs and the vegetables from Super Mario Bros. 2 (plus the giant ones from Super Mario Advance), and enemies such as Chargin’ Chucks from Super Mario World. Other cards activated special switches for the regular game, such as one that has enemies hit by fireballs turn into coins, and another which places vegetables throughout the normal levels.

Unfortunately, due to the failure of the eReader outside of Japan, Western gamers only got to see a handful of these; the rest remain exclusive to Japan, and due to compatibility issues, largely remain that way. Worse still, it seems that Nintendo has no interest in re-releasing any of this content again in any form (though we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console and eShop).

Here’s a glimpse of what so many missed out on:

Want more? Have some new airships with new Koopaling and Bowser boss battles:

One thing is clear: Nintendo can provide quality add-on content in unique ways that both expand and provide variety. Whether or not they will decide to for Super Mario 3D Land is a whole different story, and until we get a definitive “no,” we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Image Sources: Super Mario Wiki (Super Mario 3D Land art), Desktop Nexus Entertainment (The Matrix – Blue Matrix background)