Montageman: A dude who writes

March 8, 2007

Power-ups

Filed under: affect, videogames — montageman @ 3:37 am

While visiting my cousins tonight, they brought out their Nintendo DS hand-held systems.  Neither of them had any idea that I am interested in games, rather they wanted to show me what they could do.  This was, of course, an excellent opportunity to watch a couple young girls (aged 8 & 4) engage with a game.  They owned a bunch of games, but the older girl was playing The New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo 2006) while the younger one was playing Super Princess Peach (Nintendo 2006).

I asked the older girl how long she could play before she got bored.  She replied, “About a half hour.”  Yes, she’s young and her mind drifts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when there’s only 30 minutes to play the game had better be fun.  Watching her interact with Mario, she was more affectively interested in the game when Mario was powered-up.   At the start of level 1, Mario is small and is situated on the left side of the screen.  Mario’s fundamental goal is to move further and further to the right and eventually run into Princess Peach.  The goal is the same in nearly every Mario game, which is why it is so effective.   The power-ups are similar as well.  Every time Mario runs into a red & yellow mushroom, he gets bigger; a green and white mushroom is good for a 1up (another life); the glowing flower gives Mario the ability to shoot fire; the floating leaf gives the ability to fly.  Throughout the 20 or so years of Mario, power-ups and saving the princess have been foundational.

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