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    zimmi88's Super Mario World (SNES)

    [March 6, 2008 02:45:28 AM]
    Error... this was posted in the wrong game log...

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:46:10.

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    [January 26, 2008 02:29:04 AM]
    This entry is spoiler-free. Well, mostly spoiler-free; there’s not much to spoil in terms of story in a Mario game. Keep in mind, though, that I do talk a bit about hidden levels and Easter Eggs, so if you’d rather find those on your own, you probably don’t want to read this entry.

    So, I have played another hour of Super Mario World and, interestingly enough, the game has ramped up the difficulty, but not by too much. The game’s levels are still quite accessible for a wide audience, though I will say that I felt a noticeable increase in difficulty, especially when taking the “side route” in the cave locale. In particular, the fortress above the cave was a fairly difficult level based on the sheer number of monsters and their particular placement in the level. I often found myself wanting to swim upward to avoid a hazard below me, only to find a skeleton fish was swimming above me. A slight amount of frustration ensued.

    Really, that’s the biggest difference between my last play session and this one – an increase in the level difficulty. I was finally feeling challenged by the game’s mechanics, where in previous levels I had to subconsciously invent challenges to keep my interest. The controls were still the same as I had experience in the past – simple to use and very responsive. The level design was more varied as I continued to progress, creating new challenges involving new mechanics, such as one of the secret levels where you had to ride across the ocean on a series of dolphins.

    Along with the challenge, interest in the game began to increase. I felt myself wanting to continue playing even beyond the designated time and level I had originally decided to stop at. In comparison to other games I have played, however, this interest wasn’t as strong as, say, Psychonauts, or Super Mario Galaxy, or Kingdom Hearts. Once again, maybe it’s because of the whole “been there, done that” feeling, but it’s also possible because of the saving mechanic, which more clearly define good points at which to stop playing.

    When considering the design of Super Mario World, it has to be considered that it is one of the first games released on the SNES and that it is, at its core, a traditional two-dimensional platformer. Therefore, one would expect a main focus to be placed on the level design, game mechanics, and controls. Later platformers have benefited from other elements, such as a well-developed story, but they are merely polish on the core game mechanics.

    It could just be a personal issue, but I just can’t seem to get over the shallowness of the storytelling in this game. The storytelling is fairly non-existent in Super Mario World, and while it’s not a big issue, the game might have been a bit more compelling to audiences to play if the story was deeper. That, or at the very least more exhibited in the actual game.

    Story aside, what I feel is the most developed piece of this game is its level design. Yes, the levels are fairly linear, but they are challenging and varied, nonetheless. Also, the great aspect of the level design is that the levels are developed with a nice learning curve to them. The earlier levels are easy so that the user can get comfortable with the controls, while the later levels begin to ramp up the difficulty so the player continuously feels challenged. And if the user feels adventurous, they always have the option of searching for hidden levels and “side tracks” that differ from the typical path players take to complete the game.

    The artistic style of Super Mario World is as whimsical as one would expect, using bright colors and fun, loveable characters through the game. The music matches the visual style in that it is light and playful. The blatant exception to these observations are, of course, the dungeons, castles, and ghost houses, which all adopt a darker style to them. For instance, the ghost houses use dark colors and eerie music to match the creepy, almost surreal nature of the ghost houses (these levels usually involve solving some kind of puzzle to find the secret exit to the level).

    Overall, what makes Super Mario World a great game for the SNES is its variety in level design and its accessibility for a variety of audiences. Though it lacks many modern features of today’s platformers, it is still a fun game on the basis of its game mechanics.
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    [January 24, 2008 04:17:53 AM]
    This entry is spoiler-free. Well, mostly spoiler-free; there’s not much to spoil in terms of story in a Mario game. Keep in mind, though, that I do talk a bit about hidden levels and Easter Eggs, so if you’d rather find those on your own, you probably don’t want to read this entry.

    Super Mario World (Nintendo – 1991 – SNES) is a classic two-dimensional platformer. The game features Mario, the famous plumber, travelling through seven distinct locales of the Mario world to rescue Princess Toadstool, who has once again been taken captive by Bowser. Super Mario World includes classic platforming action in a variety of themed locales with the simple goal of making it to the end of the level.

    First, a bit of clarification here; for this assignment, I am playing Super Mario World on the Wii with the Virtual Console, using a Virtual Console controller. I tried using a GameCube controller and found the game controls to be too frustrating, so I switched to the Virtual Console controller and began anew. I wasn’t that far into the game, anyway. Regardless, the Virtual Console version of Super Mario World is no different from the original release on the SNES, so this should have no effect on my analysis of the design. Great, now that that’s out of the way, on to my gameplay reflections.

    It’s interesting coming back to this game after having played it last as a child. Back when I was a child, this game was amazingly fun and sucked quite a bit of my time away. I recall being challenged by many of the levels as I got acquainted to the universe and having fun trying to find some of the other alternate paths and hidden levels – though such side quests were reserved for much later in the game.

    Returning to the game as an eighteen-year-old game designer-in-training, I could really sum up my initial experience with the game with one word: “Meh.” It’s not that I didn’t have any fun – I was having a pretty good time reliving the levels I had played when I was a child. But it had a “been there, done that” feel to it all. I had seen the challenges before, some more than others, so the experience wasn’t really fresh and new.

    To make it a fresh experience, I went ahead and took an almost elitist approach to it and sought to unlock all the possible paths and levels in the game as early as I could. It’s not that I was intentionally seeking to do this – this desire to unlock all the secret levels early sort of developed subconsciously. This made the experience a bit more interesting, as I was bouncing around and about unlocking the bonus switches, side routes, and Star Road levels. I can’t exactly say why I subconsciously decided to go this route. Maybe it was the concept that I knew about these secrets so why not go and unlock them early.

    In terms of story, there’s much left to be desired. In case you didn’t know, Princess Toadstool (now Princess Peach) has been captured by Bowser, the King of the Koopas, and it’s up to Mario, the plumber, to jump in and save the day. Actually, there’s a bit of a backstory about how they went on vacation and the whole game takes place in this vacation world, but the way the game is developed, you don’t know much about it unless you peek at the manual. And, ultimately, the story really doesn’t seem to matter anyway. As far as the game mechanic is concerned, the goal is to get to the end of the level without dying. Simple enough, eh?

    The gameplay mechanics themselves are pretty solid. Once I switched over to the Virtual Console controller, which is more like the SNES controller than the GameCube one is, I felt in control of Mario’s every move, which is critical in a platformer. The levels exhibit variety in terms of the challenges presented. That said, there wasn’t too much variety. The levels all had the same linear feel to them, though there were times where you could find secret exits, and the baddies really didn’t feel all that different. I will say, though, I love the feather power-up. Caped Mario is by far my favorite in the game simply because the cape is so useful, be it for floating over hazards, spinning away blocks, or attacking enemies. I was almost disappointed whenever I got a fire flower instead of a feather.

    That’s all the thoughts I could dump into one entry for now. I look forward to playing more of Super Mario World and posting more of my thoughts later.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 24th, 2008 at 04:19:21.

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    zimmi88's Super Mario World (SNES)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 23 January, 2008

    zimmi88's opinion and rating for this game

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