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I make games, talk about them, draw comics and post sketches.

lørdag den 4. august 2012

Super Meat Boy Thoughts

Is it mandatory to 100% every world in Super Meat Boy to discuss it? My friend mockingly scoffed at me for saying I had reached the Hell (5th of 7) themed world. So some would perhaps say yes.

I've yet to rap everything up (though I don't intend not to try). Reaching an understanding (and perhaps appreciation) of the creators intentions and the game's values seem more important though.

To summarize the game, it's a fast-paced game of trial-and-error, where every attempt in reaching the end in one of the many levels, is a frustrating and joyful experience.

Aestethically SMB is barebones but for the smattering of blood you leave behind after every attempted play (which is rewinded for your enjoyment when you finally succeed). Focus is on the playing of the game and not on expanding on the ridiculous (and witty) narrative, nor any idea of mythology. The exception are the secret levels, which are beautifully themed references to other games. Especially the GameBoy themed levels were well executed while still fitting games flow.

Despite the game being fast-paced, that isn't what it's about. It is about memorization. The player can't achieve success simply with quick reflexes. Every level has a certain timing and puzzle-like flow, that completion becomes more about tempo, patience and familiarity.

The reason this can be expressed so assuredly and clearly, isn't due to me being concise. It all hinges on how focussed SMB is. It's willingness to cut away all that could cause unintended frustrations in play, makes it especially interesting to compare to it's namesake and clear source of inspiration: Super Mario Bros. While no one could accuse Mario of being bloated with myth and verbosicity, comparing the masterful Super Mario Galaxy 2 to SMB, it's a behemoth. But it isn't focussed. Every level is a unique experience, and saying you "experienced" SMG2 with about attempting to gather every McGuffin is a misconception on your part.

What SMB offers though, is freedom. For the creators. Because a game as focused as SMB has no room for iteration. This precise mechanic and its' combination with it's mnemonic puzzles, needs no sequel, and no player will either.

So the Edmund McMillen and his programming Cohort are free. Go, enjoy life. You escaped the quite the boondoggle.

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