Here in the states, we’re in the throes of another turkey day. Happy Thanksgiving! Or, happy Thursday! However you are spending today, I hope you are enjoying it. I, for one, am looking forward to spending a little quality time with family and a lot of quality time with games. (Or…maybe that’s the other way round? Nah. J) If you celebrate this holiday, then you know it’s supposed to be a day during which we take some time to remember and be happy for all the good stuff that we’ve got going on. (As well as eat loads of delicious goodies and watch/play/listen to one sporting event or another. At least that’s what they tell me.) It’s in that vein that I use this space here today to honor a few of the games for which I’m thankful.
United We Game’s February community posts continue, with today being the day the Duck will present you all with my entry on the topic of levels in the “Mario” series. Gamer or not, pretty much everyone’s heard of Mario, and there’s a reason this squat plumber is so popular even after people have been playing his games for over three decades. Because the games have something in them for everyone. They have good, old platforming goodness through a wide variety of environments, an innocent charm that people of all ages can enjoy, challenge (and boy, can they be challenging), not to mention princesses to save and big Koopa Kings to toss. There are so many “Mario” levels out there, and yet they still manage to find ways to do something new with each one and make them stand out from the rest. So I decided for my post that I would list my top five “Mario” levels, and to make it fair, I am going to list my top level from each of my five main “Mario” games in order from least favorite to top favorite. The games I considered for this post span 1991-2010, “Super Mario World”, “Super Mario 64”, “Super Mario Sunshine”, and the two “Super Mario Galaxy” games. Continue reading Community Post: The Duck’s Top 5 Mario Levels
No matter how many times Mario’s adventures are hashed and rehashed, games that prominently feature that famous plumber, his princess, and that evil dinosaur we call Bowser, remain fresh, fun, and playable dozens of times over. Mario games are level-driven games — you’ve got to make your way through stages or levels in a series of worlds in order to reach the final battle with Bowser. And only a few games, like Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG, have deviated from the platformer tradition started by Super Mario Bros. Despite that fact the games usually contain worlds of similar themes, each is unique in presentation and design. Even so, I will never cheer upon traversing a snowy/icy world because Mario is already slippery enough, no matter how many penguin suits he owns. I will never get excited for those pre-Bowser, fire worlds, as I will never have enough patience with lava and fireballs. So when it comes to my favorite Mario levels, there will be nary an ice storm or fire waterfall in site. But there will be something “big.” Curious? Read on!
My childhood was dominated by Nintendo, it’s fearless red plumber and his crew. My first exposure to the world of video games came when I was very young with the Nintendo Entertainment System and of course, Super Mario Bros. It’s safe to say, I was hooked for life after pushing the jump button on the controller for the very first time. I’ve gone on countless adventures with Mario from his 8 bit days, all the way to modern times so there’s a lot of material to draw from when thinking about what aspects of a franchise you love. Have you ever stopped to think about why the Mario franchise continues to be a force after all these years?
As any person who is invested in games can tell you, the levels themselves are what make these platformer games great. I mean, think about it for a moment. Pretty much 100% of your time is spent running and jumping through them so if the levels are boring or poorly made, the game as a whole will suffer. That’s the key to understanding why Mario is consistently great. It’s the level design that shines through. Continue reading Community Post: Mario, The Innovator
My earliest experiences with the Mario Brothers were not spent playing, but reading the instruction manual while watching my younger brother play the very first game on our Nintendo Entertainment System. As I scoured over the game controls and characters, my brother would play through this relatively new experience with the ease of a much older gamer. All of Mario’s moves seemed natural to him, as if he had traveled these fantastic worlds for years. The reality of the situation is that my brother has better eye-to-hand coordination than I do, but the level design of Super Mario Brothers had something to do with his genius as well.
Think back to that very first level, World 1-1. There was no tutorial, no overt guidance for the player; only a stubby little plumber standing on the far left side of a screen. Any attempt to travel further left would result in the player hitting a wall, so to the right we must go. Oh no, there’s an angry looking mushroom heading your way. Quick, try one of those red buttons on the controller. Okay, ‘B’ doesn’t do anything… what about ‘A?’ Ooh, you made Mario jump! Try to stomp that mean looking guy. Hey, you squished him, good job. No time to celebrate though; there is a timer counting down up there. Let’s get going. Continue reading Community Post: A Mario Level for Every Player
After completing a lot of day dreaming and soul searching, I decided to combine the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) into one post for this installment of my “deserted games” series. Why? It’s certainly not because I didn’t love the SNES to death, because I did. But as fun as the NES was, we didn’t have many games for it. Could I spend the rest of my days playing Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3? Maybe. But only maybe. So with a list of choices in hand, I had to make some tough decisions. Some were obvious, and others less so. I’m sure at least a couple of my game choices would still drive me bananas in the heat and quiet. And man, does it get quiet on this here island…except for those dang birds that keep squawking! This is supposed to be a deserted island! Just quit with all the noise and help me get this coconut!! Sheesh.