Super Mario Bros. on World 1-1
|First appearance||Super Mario Bros. (1985)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Notable characters||Mario, Koopa Troopa, Goomba|
World 1-1 is the first level of Super Mario Bros., Nintendo's 1985 platform game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The level was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto to be a tutorial for new players, orienting them to platform jumping and to the rest of the game. World 1-1 is one of the most iconic video game levels and has been widely imitated and parodied.
During the third generation of video game consoles, tutorials which explain the mechanics of a video game were rare, and players instead were oriented to a new video game by its 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 are forced to explore the mechanics of the game to be able to advance. Super Mario Bros. is 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 to interact with them while advancing through the level.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Miyamoto explained that he designed 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 approaching. 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 very little progress is lost, the player learns from defeat and can try again. Past this Goomba comes an arrangement of blocks, a few of which are colored in gold. By bumping 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 second gold-colored block makes a Mushroom come out; a power-up, unbeknownst to the player. The player has learnt from the Goomba that just defeated them that mushroom-shaped beings are bad, so naturally the player tries to jump over the mushroom in order to avoid it, however the blocks are arranged in such a manner that a player attempting to dodge the mushroom immediately hits and is deflected by the block downwards onto the mushroom, which lands the player onto the power-up. Being touched by the Mushroom makes Mario grow in size, another positive reinforcement.
After this block formation comes a series of four vertical warp pipe obstacles that must be jumped over. Each has a different height, subtly teaching the player that the longer they hold the jump button, the higher their jump goes. When encountering variously-sized pits, the player may discover how to use the button for running, because running makes a bigger jump across the pits. Furthermore, Miyamoto ensured that some pits have floors and can be simply jumped out of instead of forcing the player 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 by replaying. 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 replays of the game.
World 1-1 has been 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. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012.
- Robinson, Martin (September 7, 2015). "Video: Miyamoto on how Nintendo made Mario's most iconic level". Eurogamer.
- Kerr, Chris (September 8, 2015). "How Miyamoto built Super Mario Bros.' legendary World 1-1". Gamasutra.
- Bishop, Rollin (September 8, 2015). "Why the Famous First Level of Super Mario Bros. Looks the Way It Does". Popular Mechanics.
- Saed, Sherif (September 7, 2015). "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 (September 11, 2015). "The 20 Best 2D Mario Levels of All Time". Paste Magazine.
- Gerardi, Matt (July 11, 2015). "How the spirit of the original World 1-1 carries on in today's Mario games". The A.V. Club.