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Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the double-whistle-to-victory dept.

Classic Games (Games) 95

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

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95 comments

I think the biggest lesson (2)

raicesrasta (1121823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736396)

Is that at this point in time SMB3 is still the subject of the matter.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736456)

The lesson is that level design still matters.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736500)

The lesson is that level design still matters.

No, that has always been the obvious part that only retards didn't understand.

The real lesson here is that players do not have to be spoon fed and guided around and that games don't have to require that the players follow a certain script/path.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736560)

Apparently you haven't seen a casual gamer play games.
"Where do i go?!", "how do i do that?!", "What's even going on? I haven't got a clue what's even happening."
I could go on.

While it is true for active gamers, the less active ones are absolutely clueless. And what's the point of catering to 2 people at once when you can just cater to both by going to the lowest common interest: they both need to go through this corridor, with or without help.
Sadly, some games force tutorials and don't let you disable them.
Meanwhile, others disguise missions as tutorials, as well as force you in to an area by having difficult enemies or tasks nearby to slowly ease you in to the game world, often repeating similar or exactly the same landscape several times.

Reminds me of the movies (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738624)

Them: "I can't believe you didn't like [big movie]!"
Us: "Um, didn't you fall asleep in 2001?"
Them: "Yeah."

Re:Reminds me of the movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34745646)

Didn't we all? If there's anyone here who spent the entire year between 2000 and 2002 awake, I'm sure there are many sleep researchers who'd like to meet you.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736596)

Despite the path already existing, which is going from point A, the start, to point B, the end castle.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737706)

If you ever watched you mom try to play Mario when you were 8 and she kept just ramming her character into the very first Goomba, you'll understand why game designers feel the need to put tutorials in. Mario 3 might be an awesome game for gamers, but non-gamers simply aren't able to get into it. Having tutorials barely affects gamers because they just skip them or breeze through them in 15 minutes. But if you can get those non-gamers to get into your game using the tutorial you just increased your sales by like 5000%.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

jonathancarter (745316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738228)

Maybe your mother just isn't that bright, my mother played SMB3 just fine when I was 8 years old.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34740104)

Your mom sure got it when I rammed my goomba into your her wet cunt.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34740482)

If you can't decide whose cunt you rammed your goomba into, you probably shouldn't be ramming it into anyone's cunt.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34740368)

The MarioBros series is still one of the best selling video game series of all time. It might not be the best game for the people that play FarmVille or Solitair, but for those games are perfectly fine the way they are.

Anyway, I think it is an illusion to assume that tutorials actually help, most of them just annoy. If you want to make an accessible game, make an accessible game, do not try to patch up an inaccessible one by adding a crappy tutorial at the start, it won't do much good. I think this is doubly true for casual gamers who might only play an hour or two per week and thus already have long forgotten all that stuff the game thought them some weeks ago when they actually need it.

So basically: Give people an area where they can try the game mechanics without harm (the Croft Mannor in TombRaider or the beginning of Mario64 are nice examples), give them context sensitive hints when they need it and provide clear state tracking throughout the game (i.e. a marker where they have to go next).

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738482)

In Soviet Russia, you train game!

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34742084)

In Soviet Russia, you train game!

You mean like in Black & White?

Re:I think the biggest lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737090)

SMB3 was the only really big game that year. Someone even made a fucking movie about (or prompted by) the game. Seriously.

The team at Nintendo had an awesome combination of competence and self confidence (and probably a lot of coffee) that resulted in them making a great game.

If you already know that your game is going to be the game of the year, then maybe you won't be afraid to innovate and take risks in the design process.

Re:I think the biggest lesson (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737466)

It was an awesome game, but The Wizard was less 'inspired' by the game and more a commercial funded by Nintendo for all things Nintendo. It's a testament more for Nintendo's commitment to advertising than how 'big' it was. Otherwise, the Powerglove was an awesome, era defining device (unless you take the "it's so bad" line ironically...).

Re:I think the biggest lesson (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34740002)

Maybe he was talking about Super Mario Bros. the film [wikipedia.org] .

I hope not though, it was fucking stupid.

stuff that matters (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736400)

is it me or are more and more slashdot stories basically opinions of a reviewer that found a "golden" system for something?

i am getting kinda bored of it... little real news being posted lately.

then again, i am an AC, so who cares

Re:stuff that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736450)

I second you on this. But then again, my life is more boring than /.

Re:stuff that matters (2)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736562)

Yeah seriously Super Mario isn't even all that impressive when it comes to how it "teaches" you the game. It's simple really just run and jump. Not that I don't love SM3 as much as the next /.er but it's simplicity and a lack of need for explanation is just apart of the beauty of its design. If you want an amazing example of a game teaching you how to play it without a tutorial play portal then play it again with developer commentary on it really makes you appreciate how much time and thought was put into it to make it a learn as you play game.

Re:stuff that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737928)

Pretty much the first 6 hours of Portal feel like an extended tutorial, with nothing challenging at all happening. And it's only an 8 hour game. Honestly most of the game felt like a drag to me. Only the final boss fight and the extra challenge levels were particularly interesting. If you want a much better example try Ocarina of Time on N64. It has similar kinds of puzzles but you get a lot more tools to use instead of just the one trick you get in Portal.

Re:stuff that matters (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34739132)

the FIRST 6 hours? I think that in and of itself explains a lot. The whole game including forced-wait-times took me less time to complete than some old MODS used to WITHOUT them.

Re:stuff that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34748334)

The last time I played Portal it took me 4 hours to go through the whole game.

agreed (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736454)

The current industry standard today basically assumes the player is stupid and needs handholding, that is a sad fact, even though it opens up the games to a much wider audience than the one that played games back in the day of SMB3. I think nowadays people are very much afraid of introducing complexity in their games just because they will have to explain how the complexity works with a tutorial or similar, wich in turn requires more resources on design/tutorial building etc.

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736622)

Good god yes. I was witness to the initial fire-up and figuring out of a Wii this christmas, and the tutorials and menu structure are terrible. Almost unplayable for the younger kids.

On the other hand, I hated SMB 3. It fucking sucked. If I wanted to play a fucking map game, I'd play Zelda. 2 was tolerable. But what I really wanted was just SMB, with a different set of levels.

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34740424)

A map game??? Have you even played SMB3?

Re:agreed (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744044)

I think you're getting confused.

Re:agreed (3, Insightful)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737064)

I agree to an extent. But things were also simpler back then. You move left or right, and press A or B. Now you have controllers with 78 different buttons on them, there is a higher degree of complexity there. Of course anyone who's played one FPS can pick up another and figure out the differences easily enough.

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34742152)

My controller has 102 buttons, you insensitive clod!

Re:agreed (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737548)

What's worse is when developers decide that you have to play the entire game. I stopped playing Kingdom of Loathing [kingdomofloathing.com] largely because they felt the need to make zones that suck mandatory for a run through. Rather than accepting that those zones suck and serve little to no strategic interest and addressing that, the solution was to put a quest item there. The Hidden areas were probably the worst, as there wasn't any strategy involved and the areas weren't interesting, didn't change ascension to ascension and were basically just there as a turn sink. If you're going to do a turn sink, either make it interesting or make it instantaneous. A turn sink that wastes real life time to do isn't going to win any friends unless it's actually fun.

It's difficult to impossible to make an entire game fun, so forcing people to play the entire thing every time is pointless for all involved. Once a person knows the story, there really isn't a particularly compelling reason to make them repeat it.

Re:agreed (3, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738096)

The current industry standard today basically assumes the player is stupid and needs handholding, that is a sad fact, even though it opens up the games to a much wider audience than the one that played games back in the day of SMB3.

On the contrary, this is exactly what the article was talking about.

The earlier SMB 3 levels were easy, yet the later SMB 3 levels where phenomenally hard (World 8 and those ships), especially for younger audiences.

This is something that has been forgotten in game design, the gradual increase in difficulty. Now days it's a sudden increase (Crysis), start at max level (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) or don't even bother with it (Bioshock). SMB3 introduced you to the game mechanics slowly whilst allowing the player to still have fun (in case you've forgotten, that is why we play games).

I'd like to see more of the SMB 3 kind of gradual increase but unfortunately the big dev companies seem to hate it when things get to hard for the mouth breathers. Something about lost profits.

Re:agreed (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34740200)

"Portal" had a gradual increase in difficulty, but it was so masterfully done that by the later levels, you were doing all those jumps and shooting portals automatically, without even thinking about them. In a way, GLADOS did train you well ;)

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34741230)

Except in Portal you also had you go through 4 "levels" before getting the Portal Gun. When you DID get the Portal Gun, you were only able to create one portal at a time.

Portal was just as heavy into handholding the player as other games. And I really wouldn't say that you were shooting portals that easily by the later levels. I think you're just too hardcore/skilled of a gamer to recognize how difficult the jumps were.

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34742254)

Believe me, teaching how portals work before you're given full control of them was extremely important. You've either forgotten how difficult some of the early stuff was to figure out, or you saw someone else play it first and thus didn't need to figure the stuff out yourself.

Re:agreed (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744186)

Maybe my memory is clouded (it's been a while since I played Portal, anyway), but I've only had problems executing the jumps. I knew what to do, I just couldn't do it well, as I'm not anywhere near hardcore, or a gamer, for that matter :)

Re:agreed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34740326)

I think it's possible to detect if the player is stupid.

I was playing a game called 'reactor' on my ZX Spectrum emulator yesterday. It's quite simple, you just kind of avoid stuff and try to get to the end of the level.

When I finished the first level, it said 'PRESS SHIELD KEY TO CONTINUE'.
That was the first I had heard of the shield key. When I replayed the first level *using* the shield key, it did not ask me to press it to continue to the next level.
I thought that was quite neat. It was possible to complete the first level without using the shield, but you really need it later on.

Another classic map design study: Sonic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736494)

the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

That sounds like the exact same experience many of us had with Sonic The Hedgehog. Take for example, Green Hill Zone Act 1: GHZA1 @ Soniczone0.com [soniczone0.com] Now that's a hell of an intro to a 90's game. Starts out linear. Thirty seconds into it, you are given 3-5 routes to take. I felt like I had more control in Sonic the Hedgehog of my fate than, say, Mass Effect (1/2). And this was on the Sega's now puny 16bit system!

It holds this level of "choose your own adventure" for a good amount of the game. By the end of 3 sonic games, you will have gone through creepy forests, oil refineries, casinos, labyrinths, mad robotic factories, etc. Each has its own unique look and feel. Man, those were the days of game design.

Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs... (3, Insightful)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736502)

...are this way. And that is a huge portion of what makes them awesome. Not only has the level design always been done with an incredible dedication to detail, surprises and general experience, many levels are as easy or hard as you'd like them. Just think the star (coin) system in the newer games. You can play through the game and never care for all the bonus stuff and it's still a nice experience. Or you can go after every devious bit.

There's a reason why I own both a DS and a Wii and only break them out when a new Mario or Zelda game is released. (If Square Enix were to get their act together and release a true successor of Secret of Mana or Chrono Trigger, we could talk, too).

tl;dr: I 3 Nintendo

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (2)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736526)

PS: Fuck you /. and your parser that eats angle brackets.

PPS: I specified J&R because Paper Mario, Inside Story etc are kinda weird. On the plus side, each of them explores a new concept, which is very neat.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736702)

<

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736762)

<

Now /. is eating "3"'s! When will this madness end?!

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738806)

<3

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34739858)

/. is eating madness!!!!

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#34742302)

Madness? This! Is! /.!

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34742390)

How?

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743524)

How what? How to display a left angle aka less than?

HTML entities are your friends...

&lt; becomes <

Gotta have the starting ampersand and trailing semicolon.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34742506)

& l t ; = <

(minus the spaces, obviously)

The moar you know... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34742556)

Argh. Obvious trick is obvious.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34752546)

&lt; = <
&amp;lt; = &lt;

recurse as needed.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34746822)

I had to read your post like 5 times before I understood J&R to be Jump & Run. Didn't help that (for me at least) J.R. are common initials for a couple things. >.>

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (3, Interesting)

simon0411 (1921684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736548)

Love the speed run demos they included in New Super Mario Bros., which really illustrate your point. Sure, one could play through every stage in a straight forward fashion, or one could play through without losing star power the entire stage, while getting a dozen extra lives with a single turtle shell, or without ever touching the ground. In the hands of a creative player, the depth of the classic Mario game play truly shines.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736864)

Agreed. And I think they reached perfection with Super Mario Galaxy, which starts out requiring only simple motions, but constantly adds complexity throughout a very long game. By the end, you're an expert, and the game requires extremely complex maneuvers to complete. And when Galaxy 2 was released, there was a lot more you could do early in the game if you are already familiar with the advanced controls.

Super Mario 64 could have been as good (I know most people bow before it) if only it hadn't been plagued by a frustrating camera. Zelda - Ocarina of Time had a much better camera in the same era, and succeeded like Mario Galaxy at introducing complexity.

Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34753478)

Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are the best platformers, 2D or 3D, ever. IMHO only Super Mario World on the SNES comes close.

I never understood the fascination with Super Mario 64. Sure, it was the first 3D platformer that didn't entirely suck, but SMG 1 & 2 blow it out of the water.

Tutorials :) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736508)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/10/5/

Re:Tutorials :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34742286)

No, no, no, noooooo! You're supposed to link to xkcd, not Penny Arcade!

Donkey Kong Country Returns (4, Insightful)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736536)

Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii is a great example of classic level design. The beginning of the game shows the opening cinematic, and after that, Donkey Kong leaves his house, and left just standing there. After a few seconds, you move the joystick after the realization that, "Oh... The game just started."

You're just thrown into the game. It guides you along the correct path, but it doesn't sit you down and teach you. You learn how to play for yourself gradually from the moment you touch the joystick.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is how games used to be. This is how they are now. [buzzfeed.com]

Re:Donkey Kong Country Returns (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736926)

Let me just say there's a big difference in difficulty. Donkey Kong Country Returns is actually very hard when compared to Super Mario Bros 3, though it's only saving grace is that a game over event doesn't send you to the start of the world, and instead only the start of the level. I was pleasantly surprised by the challenge it presents after Nintendo basically threw limitless lives at me in Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros Wii.

The other key difference is that Mario tends to let you figure out everything for yourself. We actually made it to world 4 before we found about a synchronised ground pound because we didn't read the manual (damn that would have been useful in killing Goombas). Donkey Kong Country Returns on the other hand drops you in the game with a basic up down left right mechanic, but yet the entire way through there are pop-up hints to tell you what to press. I don't see this as being very different from providing a tutorial at all, though quite different from SuperMario which has an admittedly far more basic level design in comparison.

Re:Donkey Kong Country Returns (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737432)

Wow, that buzzfeed link was hilarious. And completely reminded me of why I find trying to play anything (other than Rock Band) with my kids so incredibly annoying.

Re:Donkey Kong Country Returns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738394)

Though the approach to learning the game that Donkey Kong Country Returns is a refreshing change from more obvious tutorial levels, there are places where the limitations of their particular approach to giving instructions become apparent. For those unaware, occasionally a small creature will appear in the background of a level with speech bubbles that teach you a new move by showing you a picture of a button being pressed or waving motion to perform with the Wiimote and/or Nunchuck. Though this works fine for moves with no timing requirements, but it cannot teach moves which require a sequence of actions - and there are a couple of these in the game.

For example, on each level are four collectable letters that spell "KONG" and collecting each of these on all levels in a world will unlock a bonus level. In order to collect a letter on the first level you must roll off a cliff and jump mid-fall onto the other side of the hole, but the game tutorial system cannot (and does not) tell you that jumping after rolling off a cliff is possible; the only way to discover the move is to read about it elsewhere or perform suicidal experiments (I managed to finish all 8 worlds without discovering this move until returning to collect this particular letter).

Another example, there is a boss which requires you to go under it, jump under it and grab a green object which looks slightly like a miniature acid waterfall before proceeding to shake the Wiimote to attack the boss. The little creature instructs you to press the attack/grab/throw button and shake the Wiimote, but isn't able to tell you that you're supposed to jump under the boss first (jumping under everything else in the game will hurt you). Classic example of an unintuitive gimmick boss (the rest require jumping on top of something).

I suppose my point is that unless the system designed to help you learn moves is very well designed, or individual actions are never used in sequence to perform more complex actions, there is still a good case for including more obvious instructions on how to perform moves.

If you go for this approach with a game you really need to make sure you're able to teach everything through gameplay hints.

Re:Donkey Kong Country Returns (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34741474)

Personally, that's the way I like it. Show me how to perform each basic move and allow me to explore and experiment to use those basic moves in a way to defeat difficult bosses or find collector items.

It's one thing if you really get "stuck"...especially early in the game. But it's totally fine to me if many of the optional aspects of the game require quite a bit of thinking and experimenting. You can't really even get stuck in the game because you can always have that white gorilla walk you through hard parts if it really comes down to it.

True, but... (2)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738556)

DKCR could take some lessons on "introducing slowly." There are too many segments where trial and death are the only way to figure out how to pass a level. When I first came upon a giant-hippo-on-a-stick, I actually stopped to think about WTF I was supposed to do. There is no indication that you can bounce on it, there is no warning that doing so will lower the hippo, etc.

The level designers also seem to have spent a lot of time planning pitfalls so the only way to pass many levels is rote memorization. That may be classic, but it's not fun.

The spider hoard race is a rare exception.

Re:True, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34741564)

That may be classic, but it's not fun.

The first statement is correct, the second is incorrect.

Yeah right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736586)

There aren't games more true to the "press right to win" saying than the Mario series. That's all it takes in these games, even in the later levels. Just take a look at the level maps.

Re:Yeah right (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750132)

That's funny, because that's the complaint people made about the Sonic games.

Similar to expositional elements in movies (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736672)

This reminds me of well-done exposition [wikipedia.org] in movies or other fiction, where the audience is given a good amount of information about the characters or story, but in a way that is interesting and not disjoint from the presentation.

Re:Similar to expositional elements in movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737796)

I am an old-time Nintendo Mario Bros player. Glad to see that we are discussing it on /.

Re:Similar to expositional elements in movies (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34740740)

That reminds me of playing exposition the game, a game where you talk as if you were a character in a work of fiction explaining an unknown concept.

I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736922)

Still haven't played it.
Instead of wasting $50 a pop buying the latest Nintendo, Sony, or Xbox shit, I should be going back and playing all the 8 and 16 bit classics.

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744364)

Let me get this straight. You didn't pay for it 10 years ago, and you think that is justification to play it now in order to avoid buying new games? Try-before-you-buy this ain't.

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34748554)

Are you somehow down on people buying games used after the price goes down, or am I misunderstanding?

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750160)

C_amiga_fan said they downloaded the game *10 years ago*. How could they have downloaded it legally (and thus paid for it) 10 years ago?

The only way I know of downloading it is for the Wii Virtual Console, and according to Wikipedia, it was released November 5, 2007 in NA. Of course the Wii itself didn't even exist 10 years ago.

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750206)

I see that I did misunderstand. I am going to be underhanded and blame the OP for STARTING HIS POST IN THE DAMNED TITLE.

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750242)

I think you're misunderstanding, or perhaps I am, but here's what I see.

1) C64 downloads SMB3 without paying for it (this from the subject line).
2) 10 years elapse.
3) C64 makes the statement "I should play that game I downloaded 10 years ago instead of buying new games."

Now I'm not saying they should have to go out and buy the newest games, but that just seems like some messed-up logic. Instead of buying a game made in 2010, they should not buy a game made in 1988? Buy A, or don't buy B?

Re:I downloaded this game 10 years ago (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34750292)

You're right. I missed the fact that OP began his post in the title. I'm title-blind sometimes.

Sp0nge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34736956)

where it belongs, us the courtesy are inherently From a technical tops 8esponsibility consistent with the else to be an

Still Today (1)

domatavus (1927700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34736968)

This just reminded me of the game 'Braid' which I got with the Humble Indie Bundle 2. Although the game play contains a lot of messing with time, which certainly is a little unfamiliar, you get introduced to it quite nicely through the level design. It is also shown by David Rosen of Wolfire Games in his design tour through the bundle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVsWDmSrv5I [youtube.com]

Re:Still Today (1)

wolf1oo (1732258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34741024)

I was just thinking along the same lines, having also just played through Braid. The game really was much different and introduced unique concepts to the player, but it allowed the player to ease into the situation and feel out how the game should be played. Of course, upon dying for the first time, and having the game indicate to press the "Shift" key, I was momentarily nonplussed when I came back to life. I hadn't seen anything about the game before I played...

Re:Still Today (1)

Patman64 (1622643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34741910)

An interesting thing is that the game starts instantly. As soon as you launch it, you're in the game. It took me a minute before I even realized I was supposed to move. And the look on people's faces when they die and see the shift key pop up, and then press it... priceless. Instantly the game becomes a hundred times more interesting.

Chills (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737334)

"... and when the player jumps and soars into the sky, the screen for the first time in a Mario game begins to scroll horizontally and vertically at the same time...."

I don't know why but this gave me chills.

Mario (1)

obarel (670863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737502)

"... that allows players to master a specific mechanic."

I thought he was a plumber.

Explicit tutorials are nice (2)

rickward (25813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737798)

Sometimes explicit tutorials are nice. Take the one in Steamshovel Harry. http://www.e4.com/game/steamshovel-harry/play.e4 [e4.com]

Re:Explicit tutorials are nice (1)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34741070)

The tutorial may be nice, but I'll be dead by the time it's over!

Incredible Attention to Detail (4, Informative)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737812)

This interview [wii.com] is the best example of Nintendo's attention to detail that I can find. In it, Miyamoto describes the insane amount of detail that went into the first ten seconds of Super Mario Bros. The mushroom, goomba, blocks, and pipe were all played just so in order for the player to realize what was good, what was bad, and so on. All without a tutorial and losing at most one life.

I think modern game designers could learn a lot by going back and studying how they used to convey ideas to the player without the memory space for tutorials.

Re:Incredible Attention to Detail (1)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34739652)

Mod parent up! His linked article is precisely a good example of level design done right. I also highly suggest listening to the commentary for Portal. A major goal of the first half of that game was to "train" the players but make it seem like the players learned it all on their own. All done purely with level design instead of some tutorial.

Re:Incredible Attention to Detail (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34739960)

Cave Story does a good job of that as well. I particularly like the placement of the fifth spike in the game, since it's exactly at the point where you'll die if you don't properly grasp the floaty physics.

Re:Incredible Attention to Detail (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34741200)

I was actually thinking of citing Cave Story as a good example (I still recall the first time the game forced me to realize I could shoot up,) but I didn't have a good link to backup my viewpoint. Thanks for bringing it up!

yuo Fail It... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737834)

practical purposes, as little overhead ASSOCIATION OF Our ability to The numbers. The ITSELF BACKWARDS, the project to into a sling unless You got there. Or can connect to of Walnut Creek, The Cathedral paranoid conspiracy a popular 'news for the state of ME! It's official Or chair, return For a living got a GAY NIIGER Company a 2 bunch of gay negros sux0r status, *BSD anyone that thinks gawker At most the numbers. The provide sodas, at this point asshole to others have the energy year contract.

Re:yuo Fail It... (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34748584)

Ah, my old enemy, the Dissociated Press filter. We meet again.

New Super Mario Bros Wii too (1)

jonathancarter (745316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738256)

The same applies in NEW Super Mario Brothers Wii. There's so many new stuff and some actions that aren't even documented, and yet it's simple enough to figure out as you play again. I borrowed a PS2 from a friend and tried out Sonic Heroes. You have to do a tutorial first which is so anoying that it put me off of the game completely. During the tutorial you barely move for 2 seconds inbetween places where you have to read instructions and do completely boring trivial stuff. I agree with the poster of this article, we should have less of that!

Ma8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738364)

Obviousness, in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738554)

Uh-huh, have we been dusting off that SNES emulator to fight off the long hours of boredom in family reunions, and finding out that Super Mario was a thing of beauty? 99% of software is crap and those games by Nintendo were way above the average insufferable crap.

Five comments and nothing on Portal (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738566)

My what a short memory we have.

If you haven't played through Portal with the commentary, you haven't grasp half the greatness of that game.

Ooops filter too high. (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738576)

Sry. Portal has been mentioned.

Of course you need a tutorial. SMB3 is not a valid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34766140)

Their main example of SMB 3 is like comparing oranges to apples cut into the shape of swans.

Games with a million moves get super complicated, you need a tutorial in case you don't know the moves. The author is comparing a game with a controller that only accepts the buttons B and A as the only possible inputs to ones now with 10+ buttons.

With only 2 buttons and NO complex tiered menu, how complicated could it be? Sure the first world levels are set up to introduce you to the game without actual having to read any text on the screen. Then how many combinations of B and A mashing could there possibly be?

There are no real tactics in SMB3 game, just stomp/fireball or don't stomp and avoid.

Games nowadays have enemies who don't mindlessly walk in one direction and provide an actual challenge. This what the masses want, more complicated stuff.

People sure like reminiscing about simpler times and stating how it should be now, if that was ever the case in life we'd never get out of the stone-age.

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