Meat Boy, Mario, and the perfect platformer jump

“What actions are ideal in a jump curve?” asked Playdead level designer Martin Fasterholdt to a sizeable crowd for his panel at the Game Developer’s Conference. In a discussion that stemmed from Fasterholdt’s own master thesis, the “You Say Jump, I Say How High?” panel explored the varying degrees of the best and most dynamic of 2D platforming jumps. His primary examples for the talk being the frenetic Super Meat Boy (2010), the classic Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988), and the precision-driven Limbo (2010) from Fasterholdt’s own Playdead (a game he claimed he was incidentally “too young” to work on…


The Witness gets the Limbo treatment

Just as photographs generally look good with a black and white filter, no matter the subject matter, it’s become increasingly apparent to me that stripping a game of its textures almost always produces a cool effect. One of the artists working on The Witness seems to agree—she was able to produce these moody screenshots by tinkering around with the game’s depth editor, turning the usually bright and colorful island into a stark and foggy shadowland. The obvious comparison here is to Limbo, Playdead’s gloomy grayscale platformer that borrowed its look heavily from the sharp monochrome of German expressionist film. It’s…


Playdead’s sophomore effort somehow looks even more sinister than Limbo

Where do you go after opening with a haunting, beautiful, universally-praised smash like Limbo? Brilliant initial offerings are always notoriously tough to follow up, but it looks like there will be no sophomore slump from Playdead. Judging by the hot and hyperbole-worthy debut trailer for Inside, the Copenhagen developer is sticking with the creeping feeling of dread, the arthouse grain-filters, and the chiaroscuro.  So what’s new? Well, it looks like the horrific fairytale motif of Limbo—you guided a young boy past murderous figures and buzz saws—has grown up into a maturer expression of existential dread: we see legions of mindless…