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Mario Bros. Is Very Successful As A Game That Provides A Unique Experience For Players

 

Mario Bros.
Mario Bros. Is Very Successful As A Game That Provides A Unique Experience For Players

Super Mario Bros. is one of the most popular video games, selling more than 222 million units across all platforms and genres. 222 million! Incredible! Incredible!

Hinter those red caps and baggy overalls lies an amazing game design experience. One that has stood the test of time, and set a high standard for commercial video games. How can developers today learn from the Game Design Canvas of Super Mario Bros. It turns out, a lot. These principles are still the same ones that made Super Mario Bros. such a success back in 1996.

Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario) recalled his childhood experiences in "Game Over", a great account of Nintendo's history. He spoke about the feeling of looking at something, like a manhole in a wall, and asking, "Why is it there?" It leads to where?" He created Super Mario Bros. to replicate that experience for his players. This is an experience that children long for, and it was one of the major contributing factors to the game's wild success.

How to Break it Down

Let's find out what the Core Experience is for Super Mario Bros. Defeating enemies? You can skip enemies on almost all levels. How can you save the princess? The relationship between the plumber and the princess is up to the players imagination. This aspect of the game feels a bit tacked-on.

My Core Experience in the original Super Mario Bros. was to make the player feel that they are "Exploring & Conquering Strange Worlds." Let's take a look at the Game Design Canvas.

We can see that the four supporting aspects of the Canvas all point to the same theme by looking at them.

Base Mechanics was the benchmark for side-scrollers. It allowed you to run and jump over terrain and navigate up, down and right through each stage. Exploration is encouraged by the Punishment and Reward Systems. Of course, the player is taught how to avoid enemies. This helps the game's challenge. Mario can die, but he will be redirected to the level or world he was in before he dies. This is unlike most high-score video games from the 1980's. This lowers the punishment for failing and encourages players to explore the level until they run out.

The game offers Reward for players who are adventurous. The hidden coin blocks can give the player coins and 1-up mushrooms. However, they don't appear unless the player jumps incessantly across the map. The player does not know which pipes are available, nor can they tell where they will lead. Many levels reward the player for his or her investigation of walls, past checkpoints and under pipes. The level's end is marked with a warp zone. This allows for rapid progression to the next stage. The game doesn't have a map and the player can't know what's coming next. They can only walk to the right until the screen appears.

The game's Long Term Incentive is completing the game. I tried to think so, but the Core Experience would disagree. The player doesn't know how many worlds or levels there are, unless they have read a guide. So they are asked to keep going.

The Aesthetic Layout is a wonderful environment that allows the player to explore. The player can explore everything from night scenes to water bridges and mushroom tops. This is certainly a strange world. Don't let the simple nature of the game fool you.

Super Mario Bros.' success can be attributed in large part to its Core Experience, which is simple and solid. Most games were about working within a limited playing area and achieving a high score (as in Pac Man or Space Invaders). Super Mario Bros. offered a new experience, allowing the player to explore realms that were not available in the game.

Use the Canvas to Go Even Further

Let's now get to know Super Mario Bros., and how it works. What would you change if we could go back in time and remake this 1980's classic? Here are a few of my suggestions to help you explore.

Power-ups that weren't defined so the player wouldn't know what they did immediately

Increase the power-ups to increase mystery. Blocks (Occurred in later Mario games).

You can have coins or goombas which, if they are collected in a specific order, will open up a route. Allow for more experimentation.

Allow the player fall down certain cliffs to reveal secrets. (Occured in later Mario Games)


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