4 July 2013

The Great Galaxy Experiment Pt 2: Steady Progress

Yesterday I blogged about starting to play Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii.

Today I've had a chance to play for a few more hours. I must admit it's a pretty addicting game. I've collected about 20 stars now. The progress has been fairly steady. Of course there are occasional challenging moments, but nothing I couldn't beat with a handful of tries. Only once have I suffered a Game Over (this was caused by the moving, holey grounds of the Sweet Sweet Galaxy).

It is a well known fact that video games today tend to be easier than they were once upon a time. There are simple reasons for this: games these days are much bigger, and there are a lot of them out there. Back in the 8-bit days the average game would only have a handful of levels, so they would be made so hard you had to play the same levels over and over again in order to master them and be able to progress. But due to the advancement of technology and growth of the industry in general (big games now will have sizeable budgets and teams of dozens of people working on them) games these days can have dozens of hours of content. The way we play has changed. It's not just about mastering every aspect of a game; there must be actual progress, or else we'll get frustrated and turn to another game...

I have no qualms about this. I much prefer steady progress to the alternative. Patience has never been one of my virtues. In the NES days when you played a Mario game, you'd finish it in one sitting... or not. And then you'd play it again the next day. This seems a pretty alien idea from a modern viewpoint. I'd much rather have variety. New day, new levels, but building up a greater whole. I doubt I'd be playing Super Mario Galaxy now if it followed that ancient formula.

And yes, Galaxy has plenty of levels to beat. And if they're not enough, you can also revisit old levels for additional challenges.

Speaking of steady progress, while your progress through the game (i.e. collected stars) is naturally saved, it doesn't save your current lives. Whenever you continue a saved game, you start with the default number of lives. Lives have been relatively easy to obtain thus far, so this isn't really a huge problem, but it's still a little puzzling. If you're only taking a break, even a longish break, it might be better to pause the game rather than turn off the console lest you want to waste a bunch of lives...

Well, that's all for now. I'll be back with more thoughts about Super Mario Galaxy later.

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