What Makes The Perfect Level?
How would you describe the perfect level? Would you say that it must be the most action pact enjoyable level for the player, or would you say that it teaches all the mechanics in the game? I would argue the perfect level does both of these things while also encouraging the curiosity of the player.
Nothing better describes the perfect level better than Super Mario bros. World 1-1. The beginning section of the level does all 3 things I mentioned above flawlessly. First the player learns movement by walking Mario to the right of the screen. This is because Mario can only go to the right, this teaches a crucial mechanic of running and walking. The player will also notice a question block and intuitively jump and hit it with Mario’s head. This question block does two important things. Firstly, it teaches Mario the jump mechanic which is Mario’s main way to interact with enemies and objects. Secondly, it teaches the gimmick of the game which are powerups. the question block will resales a mushroom and when touch Mario will grow more powerful. The final great part of this screen is the first enemy the Goomba. This little guy waddles towards the player and the player will once again intuitively jump on his head and instantly kill him. This once agains is designed masterfully as it teaches the player all aspects of the game without using a tutorial or manual. The game does this solely through fun gameplay.
Overall there is much to learn from Super Mario bros, as it teaches the player the core gameplay loop within one screen. It also does this solely through gameplay which is amazing! When designing a video game try to find ways which teach the player all about your game without telling them. Make the player figure it out through gameplay as it makes a more intriguing experience.