The Emotional journey – Analysis: Mario Bros 1.1

The model is also applicable to level design. For example, taking a benchmark of level design, Mario Bros 1.1, we can see how the design teach the players the game mechanics while taking them through an emotional ride. There is a crescendo in difficulty that triggers an emotional reaction.

SETUP – Who, What, Where. What we know from before that has led us here, now. We spawn, we have some room to discover how to move.
WANT – What do we want? Why are we here, now? First thing we see is the “?” block. It encourages us to move forward.
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…
ENGAGE – Moving forward in the world, going after what we want. We move forward towards the “?” block
OBSTACLE – What is between us and what we want We see our first enemy. And our first mandatory jump.
2 obstacles introduced in their simplest form that will evolve during the level in increased difficulty.
END OF ACT I REVEAL We discover the Mushroom!
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…
PLAN – We execute on what we decided to do, pushing through obstacles We jump higher and higher, nothing new, just increased challenges.
MID POINT – Twist, turn. Stakes raised The Star.
CHALLENGE – Biggest challenge so far. New enemy that increased again the challenge but at the same time we are given a Star.
SUCCESS – Short moment of success and encouragement, brief tension relief. This should lead to the turtle shell to knock down the 4 goombas. Very satisfactory for the player.
BREAK REVEAL Learning to climb the block and jump. Safely.
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…
BREAK – Setback, criticism, crisis, defeat… things are bad Then a little break with no enemies where we have to jump across a gap.
POST BREAK REVEAL Jump across a gap by climbing up blocks, with the risk to die.
DRIVE – You know know what to do! You are moving forward because you want to…
ASSAULT – Confrontation on the way towards the final obstacle Approaching the last obstacle.
THEMATIC REVEAL – Thematic revelation
BATTLE – Final battle against the last obstacle The final obstacle, 2 goombas, they can seem easy but because of the blocks, if the player rushes, he will most likely be killed by the 2nd Goomba.
RESOLUTION – We reached our goal, or we didn’t And finally the jump to the flag to finish the level.
DRIVE – You are moving forward because you want to…
NEW STATE – New status quo. We won, we lost, things are different now.