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…


In praise of the “bad” design of Tharsis

Tharsis begins with an event of astronomical improbability. Somewhere in the interplanetary medium, a meteoroid floating through space at 25 miles a second occupies the same bit of spacetime as the spaceship Inktomi, which is hurtling towards Mars at 11 miles a second. The ship and its crew have been travelling for weeks; the meteoroid, millenia. And there, in the emptiness of the cosmic void, they somehow meet. An impact; a burst of compressed air; a body blown into space; a crippled vessel drifting toward Mars. What remains is a quartet of crew and a fistful of dice to navigate…


Paint your way through an invisible platformer

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. INK (Windows)  BY ZACKBELLGAMES  Discovery defines the greatest videogame experiences. No one forgets that butterflies-in-your-stomach, swooning I’ve-never-felt-this-way-before feeling you get upon first entering a game world you know you’ll be spending a lot of time in. The really good games give you that sensation throughout, with each new rule and mechanic or narrative twist. INK blends the visual discovery embedded in Unfinished Swan with the platforming surprises (read: difficulty) of Super Meat Boy. A lonely square avatar bounces from invisible wall to invisible wall, splattering paint swabs across the newly-visible environment. You learn from the world…


Here comes a touch-screen Super Meat Boy

On August 19th, wunderkind duo Team Meat announced they would be unveiling a new game at PAX Prime 2014 called A Voyeur for September. This was surprising for two reasons: first, everyone assumed Team Meat would be showing up with Mew-Genics, their mad scientist/cat lady simulator. Second, this new project claimed to be a “live-action stealth game,” its announcement accompanied by a 55 second video that looked like it took even less time to shoot and edit. Immediately after the teaser was released, the internet figured out that A Voyeur for September was an anagram for Super Meat Boy Forever.…