Super Mario Bros. on World 1-1.
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Notable characters||Mario, Koopa Troopa, Goomba|
|First appearance||Super Mario Bros. (1985)|
"World 1-1" is the first level of Nintendo's 1985 platform game Super Mario Bros.. The level was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto to be a tutorial for new players, so that they can quickly learn how to play the rest of the game. "World 1-1" is one of the most iconic video game levels and is frequently imitated and parodied.
During the third generation of video game consoles, tutorials in which players are explained the mechanics of a video game were rare, and instead, they had to learn how a video game worked by being guided by level design. The opening sections of Nintendo Entertainment System games such as Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. are all designed in such a way that players were forced to explore the mechanics of the game to be able to advance. Super Mario Bros. was the first side-scrolling video game featuring Mario, and one of the first video games directed and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto. Rather than confront the player with obstacles indiscriminately, the first level of Super Mario Bros. introduces the variety of hazards and objects by forcing the player interact with them while advancing through the level.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Miyamoto explained that he created "World 1-1" to contain everything a player needs to "gradually and naturally understand what they’re doing," so that they can quickly understand how the game works. According to Miyamoto, once the player understands the mechanics of the game, the player will be able to play more freely and it becomes "their game."
At the start of "World 1-1", the player—taking control of Mario—comes across a Goomba slowly moving towards them. According to 1UP.com, it is likely that this first enemy will kill a new player, even though the enemy can easily be avoided by jumping over it. As barely any progress is lost, the player learns from their defeat and can try again. After passing this Goomba, the player comes across an arrangement of blocks, a few of which are colored in gold. By tapping one of the gold-colored blocks from below, a coin pops out. According to Miyamoto, seeing a coin come out will "make [the player] happy" and want to repeat the action. Doing so for the next gold-colored block makes a Mushroom come out; a power-up that moves towards Mario in such a way that, due to the arrangement of blocks, it is difficult to evade. Being hit by the Mushroom makes Mario grow in size, another positive reinforcement.
After this block-formation, the player comes across a series of four vertical obstacles (warp pipes) that need to be jumped over. Each is of a different height, subtly teaching the player that the longer they hold the jump button, the higher their jump goes. The player learns how to use the game's "run button" when they come across differently-sized holes in the level, as holding the button makes it easier to jump across. Furthermore, Miyamoto ensured that there were holes that, if Mario fell in them, they would be fine and would not be forced to retry the entire level.
"World 1-1" includes a few secrets—such as a warp pipe that leads to a bonus room and a hidden block that contains a 1-up—that players can discover upon multiple play-throughs. The warp pipe also allows a player to skip a large portion of the stage, so that more experienced players can advance more quickly in repeat play-throughs of the game.
"World 1-1" is frequently cited as one of the most iconic video game levels, with Chris Kerr of Gamasutra describing it as "legendary". Boston Blake of Game Rant rated "World 1-1" among the best opening levels in video games as a level that "ignited a love for gaming in the hearts of gamers around the world," and Jon Irwin of Paste Magazine described the level as a "master-class in teaching players how to play."
Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com stated that "much of the game's success arose from the fact that it equipped players with the tools to master it from the very beginning." Almost all mechanics introduced later in the game are variations of what the player learns in "World 1-1", and the first levels of later games in the series (such as Super Mario Bros. 3) also expand upon the mechanics introduced in "World 1-1". Parish described the stage as "the most widely imitated, referenced, and parodied single level of a video game."
The design philosophy introduced in Super Mario Bros., described as "learning through play", has been implemented in all video games Miyamoto has worked on since. "World 1-1" greatly influenced later Super Mario games, such as Super Mario 3D World's first level.
- Parish, Jeremy (2012). "Learning Through Level Design with Mario". 1UP.com.
- Robinson, Martin (2015-09-07). "Video: Miyamoto on how Nintendo made Mario's most iconic level". Eurogamer.
- Kerr, Chris (2015-09-08). "How Miyamoto built Super Mario Bros.' legendary World 1-1". Gamasutra.
- Bishop, Rollin (2015-09-08). "Why the Famous First Level of Super Mario Bros. Looks the Way It Does". Popular Mechanics.
- Saed, Sherif (2015-09-07). "Watch Miyamoto explain how he designed Super Mario Bros. World 1-1". VG247.
- Blake, Boston (September 2015). "The Top 10 Opening Levels in Video Games". Game Rant.
- Irwin, Jon (2015-09-11). "The 20 Best 2D Mario Levels of All Time". Paste Magazine.
- Gerardi, Matt (2015-07-11). "How the spirit of the original World 1-1 carries on in today's Mario games". The A.V. Club.