Level Design in a Nutshell

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C. Teaches Player About Game’s Mechanics

EXAMPLE 1 : Super Mario

1. Jump.

At the first level, mario will ecounter a goomba to teach him how to jump. Before the player knows which button is used to jump, mario will die. This is very important. Because jumping is the basic mechanic of a platformer game.

2. Super Mushroom

A super mushroom will appear. But, if this is the first time you play this game, maybe you'll unsure whether it an enemy or not (because it looks like goomba). To make sure that the player will get the mushroom, the designer placed three bricks above him, so when mario jump, he will bounce off, and force mario to get the mushroom.

3. Jump Strength

After mario got bigger, he must jump three pipes. Did you notice that the pipes get taller every time? They are used to teach that mario can jump higher, if you hold the jump button.

EXAMPLE 2 : The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Another example.

In this level, Link has to enter the dungeon, but the path is blocked. How do you, as a gamer, enter the dungeon? You’ll pull that lever. But how do know that you can interact with it?

Exactly, by looking at the ground.

The dirt indicates that someone must have pull it before.

After you pull that lever, a bridge will pop up, connecting the land with a small island. Then, without thinking, you’ll pull the mushroom too, as the dirt is also placed near it.

This method is pretty essential for you to complete this level. So this stage is created to make sure you know how to use it. If you don’t, then you’ll stuck here until you figure it out.

After you successfully enter the dungeon, you’ll have to use the mushroom again.

Notice that there are two dirts now. The gap between dirts will teach you that how far you pull the mushroom affects how far you jump.

Using dirts as a hint simply teaches the player about game’s mechanics without using a tutorial.

Inside the dungeon, you’ll get a new weapon : Gust Jar. It’s used by Link to suck things.

Again, you won’t be exploring any further unless you understand the basic usage of this weapon.


apparently, it can also be used to shoot gust of wind.

Again, you can’t progress unless you mastered this mechanic.

You can to this too!


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