I’m sure most of you have seen this by now, but I just thought I would link to a great post by Anna Anthropy on the level design over at her blog. Basically she dissects a small portion of one level from Super Mario Land, and shows the care and craft that went into designing even such a small corner of the game.
The piece reminds me a lot of the stuff that Richard Terrell has been doing over on his blog Critical-Gaming, which should also be referred to for some great insights into level design.
She mentions at the beginning of her post that she was partly inspired by a conversation she and I had about the lack of any real discussion about level design. The truth is that, as I’ve said before, I think the real problem is that most people who talk about games don’t actually make them. Anna Anthropy, Richard Terrell, and Steven Gaynor over at Fullbright have all written great pieces on level design, and they all have at least one thing in common: they all make games.
Also, if anybody’s wondering about the podcast she mentions, Noah Sasso and I are in the process of recording a dozen or so interviews which we’re going to edit all at once and then start releasing late August or early September.