Level Design | Learning from games | Part 1

In this research I will be Looking at two main 2D platformer games Sonic and Mario and understand why they were successful in teaching the player new things.


Mario level 1-1 is one of the best well designed games. It teaches the player how to play by experiential learning. the player movement is well anticipated and designed to teach the players new things. the world structure is all based on increasing the difficulty every level. so everything you learn in level 1 will be needed to finish later levels. 

1- Teaching the player how to move in a settle way. in the picture below they start by positioning Mario on the far left of the screen facing right.  Also this gives the player space to experiment with movement in a none hostile environment 

mario1

The same thing was done with Sonic (Image below )
sonicstart

2.Introducing enemies
marioenemy
In Mario the enemy is introduced at the beginning of the level. At this point the player will either try to avoid it by jumping or die immediately after hitting it. Though a lot of game designers try to avoid death in the first tutorial level, Nintendo did it really well because the consequences are not high.
In Sonic the players are introduced to enemies right after introducing coins and pick ups from boxes. At this point the player knows how to jump but by the time the player reaches the enemy sonic speed is way too fast for most players to act so most  will hit the enemy and die if they didn’t manage to jump (Image below) Sonic is different from Mario because Sonic is faster than Mario in game. which is an essential part of Sonic mechanics. Sonic is over powered by speed so this way by adding obstacles it keeps the game balanced and challenging enough to the player by keeping them on their toes.
enemiessonic
players are introduced to jumping early in the level as mentioned above. later on  they are taught they can jump higher or lower depending on the pressure they apply to the button.
mariopipes
as Bossche (2010) sonic is considered the parkour of modern time . Sonic has different kind of jumping which is mainly introduced in the first level. the platform design is well used to give sonic a smooth run, also the boost you get from jumping on enemies is well done with the game environment to maintain a flow . Sonic always gives the player to choose between two and three pathways. though sonic is considered fast to other platformers of its generation. the player was always forced to stop because of different challenges such as platforms, enemies , pit holes, and spikes. At the beginning of sonic, players learn jumping by trying to get the three coins in the air, jumping is reinforced with the enemy as well.
sonicpath

Sonic always have different pathways to choose from
Sonic always have different pathways to choose from
an example of the pathways given to the player in sonic. it gets more complicated as the level progresses
an example of the pathways given to the player in sonic. it gets more complicated as the level progresses



In Mario they start teaching the player that falling a long distance is safe, then they repeat the same design afterwards except with one change (Image below). The ground in the level is not there. This teaches the player that falling there is not good. The level teaches you what is good and bad by showing the same situation with minor changes
mariodeath

 

 

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