Super Meat Boy the use of Flow and Low Entry Barriers
Analysis


Flow as described by (Csikzentmihalyi, 1990) is the idea of a state where nothing else but the current goal or game is important or noticed and could be considered a golden state for the player in games design.

A Low Entry Barrier (L.E.B) is a term used in games design that allows for players from a wide range of experiences to be able to easily pick up and play a game without having to go through a large expansive tutorial or have prior knowledge before being able to play the game in question.

Aesthetics (Schell, 2008) are often used to support Flow within a game to easily draw player’s into the world as well as to help give support to the Mechanics and rules within the game world.

This Analysis Will Cover the application of Flow (Schell, 2008, Csikzentmihalyi, 1990 ) and Low Entry barriers and how these are combined within Super Meat Boy to create a fun and entertaining experience for a wide audience of players varying from introductory level to veteran level.

Super Meat Boy is to be considered immensely successful amongst its peers and it can be assumed that it has been largely because of its relatively simplistic mechanics and rules, As well as providing the player with a basic objective that follows through in every level “finish the level by getting to the girl”, the games core controls are very basic as you’re only given control of the character by use of W,A,S,D, shift for sprint and spacebar for jump allowing the player to navigate each level’s gamespace in a seemingly fast and stylized manner, all of this is used to perpetuate the feeling of Flow.

For Super Meat boy to be able to successfully immerse the player into the gameworld to the point of achieving Flow it uses a mixture of Aesthetics and Mechanics, Aesthetically the game has been designed using a grid system for level design (as well as graphical design) which in turn then allows the player to visually break the game apart into smaller more manageable chunks, which can make the game more mechanically easy to play for Low Entry players, while still keeping a high level of entertainment.

Aesthetically speaking the game has three main characters the Protagonist Super Meat Boy, the Antagonist Dr. Fetus and Bandage Girl, the story revolves around Super Meat boy attempting to save his girlfriend Bandage Girl while Dr. Fetus continues to kidnap Bandage Girl, although a very simple story this can be considered adequate as the game is centered mainly around Flow and uses the story as a simple progression method between level’s and chapters..

To Conclude Super Meat boy has successfully used it’s Mechanics, Rules and Aesthetics with the aid of Flow and Low entry barriers to create to a massively popular game which is accessible by a wide audience.

McMillen, E. Refenes, T. (2010). Super Meat Boy [Computer Game].Asheville: Team Meat.

Schell, J. (2008).Jesse Schell The Art of Game Design. Burlington: Morgan Kaufman Publishers.

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Fullerton, T. & Swain, S. & Hoffman, S.S.H (2008) Tracy Fullerton Game Design 2nd Edition. Burlington: Morgan Kaufman Publishers.

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