MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun – Super Mario Bros

I grew up playing Super Mario Bros with my brother and cousins, and have come to really appreciate the challenge aesthetic that it allows us as players to experience.

The set of mechanics behind the power-ups in this game, such as the specifics of where the power-ups are found, the ways that they can/cannot be used, and their appropriateness in different worlds, etc. creates a complex dynamic of strategy when playing with a team that I really enjoy. When power-ups are available for the team, the energy of the game heightens along with a sense of relief (as certain tasks should theoretically be easier) as well as pressure (to not lose your power-up and use it to its maximum capacity). It creates a range of experiences that help build the challenge aesthetic. The power-ups are an addition to the obstacles imbedded in completing each level itself that create feelings of anticipation when seeing a possible power-up box, excitement when securing the power-up and engaging with it throughout the course, reward as the obstacles become easier, frustration if the power-up gets lost, and the sense of fun as the player begins to learn the patterns of where to find the power-ups and the best ways to use each one.

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