Super Meat Boy is fun, even when you're dying. In fact, some of the most exciting, funny, and surprising parts of the game come from your own death. Just like in the best survival-horror games/movies, witnessing the protagonist being graphically and grossly dispatched is big part of Super Meat Boy's appeal. Screwing up in the game leads to both a punishment and a reward. That didn't come about by accident.
Edmund McMillen, Super Meat Boy's artist and co-designer, has laid out his philosophy towards designing the game's reward/punishment system and multiple difficulties, and it's pretty smart stuff. Budding game designers, or anyone interested in understanding how videogames work, are sure to be entertained. Not only does the post give us an idea of what makes Super Meat Boy compelling to play (and replay), but it also gives us good look at how difficulty was handled in the 2D platformers of the past (with illustrations to match). It also definitively explains why child abuse is not good, but is in fact, bad.
Just another reason why I like Edmund McMillen one-hundred-million-billion-trillion times more than Carlos Mencia.
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