Super Meat Boy Galaxy Is “Just An Experiment”

By Jim Rossignol on November 14th, 2012 at 2:30 pm.


Over-talented game dev Aubrey Hesselgren crafted an unofficial 3D mashup of Super Meat Boy and Super Mario Galaxy, apparently “for Tommy Refenes’ 30th Birthday”. You can see a video of it in action below. Hesselgren says on a Reddit thread devoted to the idea: “It’s just an experiment in adaptation. I kept hearing people write off 3D games with all the arguments about spatial perception, limited information etc, and wanted to try to tackle a few of their points, just for my own edification. I didn’t want to dismiss what they were saying, but I felt like I had to see for myself. I learnt a lot!”

It’ll never work, Hesselgren, you madman!

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35 Comments »

  1. m0ntag says:

    And if the original wasn’t hard enough, we’ve thrown in another dimension for you to worry about. Come to think of it, this actually looks pretty cool. BUT IT’D NEVER WORK!

  2. HilariousCow says:

    I am so hungry for jaffa cakes for some reason.

  3. Dilapinated says:

    “U PEE TOY”

    I was not disappointed.

  4. phelix says:

    “I’ll congratulate you when you finish this little game I made.”

  5. dee says:

    I can kind of see this working in first person, with a high FOV, loads of extra-visual feedback and loads of hair-pulling practice.

    • Muzman says:

      It would be pretty much like In Momentum. Although most people who tried it weren’t as persistent as Meatboy type players. Which is interesting.

  6. The JG Man says:

    I would play this. I would play this a lot.

  7. trjp says:

    Interesting mashup idea

    SMB is the antithesis of video gaming for me – all the ‘fun’ removed, just the grind left – but polished to a degree where developing the muscle/spatial memory to solve it is satisfying (if not really a game)

    SMG is the greatest video game ever made – it is simply “joy!” wrapped-up in graphics/sound/code – it’s about as far from SMB as you can get without falling-off something

    Blending those 2 then – hmmm…

    • ulix says:

      Not sure if I agree. There are sections of Galaxy (especially Galaxy 2) that play a lot like SMB, in that there’s really only one valid way to get through an area.

      I can still remember trying this level a million times:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm_sJXa_wrg
      (And then trying it again for a thousand times with wonky and slippery Luigi)

      At the time I wished there were more levels this hard in SMG1. IN SMG2 there aparrently were some.

      I like SMG a lot, in fact it is the best game of this console generation (PC games included), but I also love and adore SMB.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        God, that level! I wouldn’t say there’s only one valid way through it, but yeah, it’s tough as nails.

        And if you haven’t played SMG 2, then you need to rectify that. It starts about as difficult as SMG was at the midway-point (or maybe even further) and ramps up from there. It’s not the hardest game I’ve ever played, but it’s definitely a good challenge. I’d argue that the first level of SMG 2 is a sort of thesis statement about difficulty, as it is very similar to the first level of SMG, but a little harder, and even features a boss that is very similar to the first boss of SMG, but again a little harder.

        Also, the final challenge in SMG 2 is so much better than the Luigi thing from SMG. I won’t spoil it, but it adds objectives that range from almost insultingly easy to requiring a willingness to exploit just about every move at your disposal. The only way I could see to complete one was to abuse Mario’s “ability” to bounce off of lava twice before dying.

      • thecat17 says:

        The fact that the level has more than 100 purple coins doesn’t really gel with your argument that there’s “only one valid way to get through an area”. Perhaps you could find a better example?

        • ulix says:

          True. I didn’t even remember there being more than 100 coins…
          Still: tried it a lot (A LOT!) of times, and most people probably gradually found “their own” route through this “maze”, and refined this route until they beat the level. Mine was similar, but also quite different from the one in the video. I did however go right first.

          But there are a lot of very linear levels and areas in SMG. It is decidedly less Mario 64, and a lot more Mario Bros. 3, with short, linear levels you have to master. Avoid this enemy in that way, jump over this gap in that way, etc. No real choice involved (apart from maybe deciding if you really need the longjump, or maybe do a triple jump… or if you get up there by triple jump, or backward-flip, etc.).

    • liptos says:

      I disagree, SMB isn’t just “grinding”. There are little points in almost every level, where you need to use creativity as well to get through, where the right path and moves aren’t obvious, and you have to try a bunch of different things to figure it out. I can’t tell you how many times I played a level in SMB and had no idea how to beat the level or get a certain bandage, and literally had to discover a new way to use Meat Boy’s abilities that I didn’t even know was possible in the first 20 hours I played the game. That’s part of the beauty of SMB.

      And really, besides repetition and creativity, left-brain and right-brain, what other activities are involved in mastering and beating a game anyway? If you just want all right-brain creativity and no repetition/mastery of a skill in a game, then play a puzzle game, because even SMG involves mastery of Mario’s basic moves. SMB may present a high level of challenge that requires more repetition and mastery, but I feel more satisfied beating a level of SMB than beating a level in Halo, where you can win in just one or two repetitions. I suppose it depends on what you’re looking for in a game.

      To quote George Leonard:

      “The essence of boredom is to be found in the obsessive search for novelty. Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition, the discovery of endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes.”

  8. InternetBatman says:

    Mario Galaxy far exceeds Super Meat Boy in every respect. Combining the two would just result in a game worse than Mario Galaxy.

  9. Sutaraiku says:

    The twinkles are in the right place, I see.

  10. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I don’t mean to complain, I’m happy with every bit of new video game news from RPS.
    But how does something like this get an article when there are probably loads of more promising unfinished experiments that are more original? Actually that question is rhetorical, I’m just bitching.

  11. Crazy Horse says:

    Because this experiment is based on a game that features a fetus who may or may not have gone to medical school.

  12. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Alright, first of all, what madman “writes off” 3D games? How many good 3D games have to be made to accept that it is possible?

    Second, how could that argument even hold up within a discussion focused exclusively on platformers when there are have been plenty of good 3D platformers? Perhaps the difficulty of those titles could be called into question–I can’t think of a single 3D platformer that’s overall as hard as even the original Super Mario Bros., at least from a pure run-and-jump perspective–but I’d say that the concept has been pretty well proven.

    • HilariousCow says:

      Oops, was I making a strawman? I dunno. I remember seeing Worms 3D come out and everyone jumping on it, saying the 3D was the irredeemable problem. Or how almost all the 3D Sonics are crap, and therefore, a 3D version of a 2D game must always be awful?

    • fiddlesticks says:

      A lot of platforming franchises seem to suffer when they make the leap from 2D to 3D, though. Castlevania, Sonic, Donkey Kong Country, Megaman, Contra; even games that are generally well received such as Metroid Prime or Rayman 2 are often considered inferior to their 2D counterparts. There are some amazing 3D platformers out there, the Mario Galaxy games being a prime example, but they seem to be a lot rarer.

    • meatshit says:

      I think it’s mostly a write-off of 3D platformers. The basics of it is that without true depth perception, you have to rely on imprecise distance cues, meaning that precision movement in one of the 3 dimensions is not really possible. You can somewhat get around that with intelligent camera control, but it’s pretty much impossible to execute perfectly, especially in any kind of free form environment, which leads to frustrating deaths due to the camera.

      • HilariousCow says:

        @meatshit – yeah. I thought a lot about the shadow design of this. Normally, it’s enough to help the player see how far they are from the ground, but wall sliding/jumping features heavily in the SMB movement set, so I needed some way to describe distance from the wall, also. It’s a bit subtle, but there’s a stretched sphere intersecting with stuff below the avatar, so that you can get a small idea of how close the wall is. Could do with further development, but yeah, good, intuitive gizmos (like localized light sources, or slightly reflective surfaces) are good ways to give the player figurative visual feedback to interpret their depth in space. That, plus some consistent and responsive controls goes a long way to overcoming those issues.

      • Aatch says:

        I don’t disagree, but I do want to expand upon your points as they relate to depth perception.

        Depth perception isn’t quite as simple as just stereoscopic vision, as the margin of error expands as the thing you are looking at moves away, to the point where it would be hard to accurately tell how far away it is. This is because your eyes and even the optical processing in your brain has flaws that mean at distance, the noise in the information you get overwhelms the signal and you need a different way of processing.

        That way is to use known objects as reference and to estimate distance based on that. So since you know roughly how big a car is, then you know how far away one is from referencing the memory combined with the image. This is how those “giant things” pictures work, you get presented with an image that has no depth data, so your brain falls back on references, but since there are two competing objects you can use for reference (say, a hamster and person) you pick the one that you are more familiar with (the person). Thus, giant hamster. Conversely, you can get cognitive dissonance when approaching something that is much bigger than expect. From far away, you use some reference to estimate (say a house if you are approaching a mansion), but when you get close enough for true depth, you find that it is much bigger than you expected and take a moment to reconcile these two ideas.

        This applies to 3D games because referencing is a defacto fall-back, your brain doesn’t do it just when things are too far away, it does it when the depth data doesn’t make sense. That means that you can abuse this in a game to provide reference objects. While it isn’t perfect, it can help a lot with depth perception in 3D games. And as HilariousCow mentions above, there are various other tricks to make it easier.

        tl;dr – Our vision is buggy, this means we can hack it.

  13. HilariousCow says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVItxNSd3JE

    I made a fresh version. The faux Tom Waits birthday song was for Tommy’s birthday, obviously. It gets a bit annoying because it loops. This is why this shit is just an experiment.

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  15. ffordesoon says:

    Fascinating.

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