Saturday, June 25, 2016

Automated Levels

My boyfriend got me Super Mario Maker for my birthday last year. In Super Mario Maker you can create levels and you can also play other people's levels. Creating levels is a lot of fun and you get
new resources every day. You can upload your levels and the only caveat is you have to be able to beat it.

One of the ways to play people's levels is by going through the 100 Mario Challenge. There are various difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Expert. You get 100 lives to pass a certain number of levels in a difficulty level and you get a costume as a reward. You can only do it so many times on easy mode before you won't get any more costumes and you have to go to a more difficult mode. There are a wide variety of skill levels and imagination from so-so to amazingly well done.

And then there are automated levels.

In these levels you do nothing. It takes you through the whole thing and drops you off at the finish line. From a creative standpoint, they are very clever (most of the time.) For the most part, they are masterpieces of timing and creativity and it is obvious they worked very hard to get the timing right. But from a player viewpoint, I hate them.

I struggle with this in some ways because I understand how much work often went into them, but at the same time I don't get to play. They haven't made a level, they made a YouTube video. There is no interactivity in them, there are no choices to make, the only way you can fail is to try to move on your own. These aren't levels. It isn't a partnership between their skill as a designer and the player's skill as a player. The success of these levels is only possible by the player not doing anything, lest it throws off the timing.

Do I think these should go away? While they annoy me, it is still how someone wants to play the game and I wouldn't take that away from them. And while I think the space is big enough for a little bit of everything, including automated levels, I don't have to like everything. I will still probably cringe every time I see a title along the lines of "Stand Still" and "No Touchies."

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