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Losing Lives in Video Games vs. Progression

Updated on January 5, 2015
It was 2011 and some games removed the use of lives in their mechanics
It was 2011 and some games removed the use of lives in their mechanics
Some games did not get the memo
Some games did not get the memo

Gaming Differences

In video games there are mechanics that were always included in different genres. For platforming games it was the use of limited lives to complete a level. However, unlike the video game Super Mario 3D World, the video game Rayman Origins decided to do something different. Rayman Origins, a video game developed by Ubisoft in 2011, decided to replace the lives mechanic with something different while Super Mario 3D World, a video game developed by Nintendo in 2013 decided to keep its lives mechanic, most likely for various reasons. Super Mario, being a franchise that has been out longer than the Rayman franchise has had a habit of reusing old mechanics in all of its games, most likely afraid that any changes might lower sales and make any new products fail to meet sales quotas. Rayman Origins, a relatively new and recent reboot of the Rayman franchise by Ubisoft's video game development team got to experience its change in old mechanics because Ubisoft already had several games it could fall-back on if Rayman Origins failed. Seeing as both of these games are sequels or already helped produced more sequels, this means that both games worked and sold well despite their differences in game production.

An Icon

Super Mario as a franchise has been around for a very long time. Developed in 1985, all of the games up until Super Mario 3D World in 2013 have experienced barely any changes over the years. Due to the fact that this franchise was developed by a Japanese company and the values that Japanese people had about upholding tradition and the old ways, the platforming games in the Super Mario series barely changed. For one thing, the story mostly remains the same. Bowser, a giant turtle, kidnaps a princess, Mario and somebody else has to explore the world and make their way to Bowser's lair, and eventually defeat Bowser and save whoever got kidnapped. The biggest change that does happen for this game franchise is the type of power-ups one can acquire along the way. In Super Mario 3D World does have some innovative, or rarely used, changes. You have to save several fairies rather than a princess, who becomes a playable character instead, there are two new power-ups, a cat suit which grants agility and jump attacks and cherries which creates copies of the recipient, and Bowser as a final boss has him use your power-ups against you.

While there are some changes to Super Mario 3D World, there are still a majority of elements that remain. you, the player, are still saving a kidnap victim, you are still making your way to wherever Bowser resides, and in the end you still fight Bowser in some way or another. Super Mario 3D world, being part of an iconic franchise like Super Mario, could not really change its content too much, but it was still a fun game in its own right. And at the very east the player could play as a player who was normally a damsel-in-distress.

Introducing Innovation

As a French video game developer Ubisoft attempted to make changes to old products more frequently because they do not have as rigid a need to uphold the old ways like Japan. The thing about Super Mario's use of limited lives was that if the player lost all of those lives, the player would have to continue a level at the very beginning without any support. For very difficult levels, that was a problem. Rayman Origins had something different by implementing a checpoint system where the player just had to continue from the last checkpoint if lives were completely lost. A reboot of the original 1995 Rayman video game, Rayman Origins, developed in 2011, took the ideas of platformer games, and subverted certain aspects. As said about not worrying about losing lives, Rayman Origins allows players to start from a checkpoint when Rayman or whatever character is being loses all its lives. With this system the player gets the chance to steadily improve oneself while playing through the levels.

As this video displays, Rayman Origins ends on a level which involves fighting robots versions of old bosses, a dangerous looking platforming section, and a very hectic shooting segment. What did not help with getting through some of the more difficult levels in Rayman Origins was the scenery. When Rayman Origins was developed by Ubisoft it took an art direction that surpassed Super Mario 3D World in how animated it looked. While both games had levels that were visually pleasing, Rayman Origins made the scenery look like its own living thing. Backgrounds moved, objects were so integrated to the background that the player had difficulty determining what was safe to step on or not, and sometimes some levels had huge difficulty spikes at random moments.

Target Demographic

Both Super Mario 3D World and Rayman Origins are fun games. While both games are meant for young players Rayman Origins seemed like a game that factored-in the possibility of attracting older players whereas Super Mario 3D World sought to only attract younger players. As a result Super Mario 3D World and the Super Mario franchise as a whole has had a bit of repetition with its levels. While some levels are difficult, there is not much difficulty for someone who plays the game consistently. Rayman Origins however gets more difficult in a way that even experienced players can forget about a trap or two along the way. So while both games are fun Rayman Origins retains its difficulty, but Super Mario 3D World can get easier overtime.

Same genre
Same genre
Different consequences
Different consequences

The End

Super Mario 3D World and Rayman Origins are both platforming games. However, due to geographical differences and values how and what type of punishment a player can receive from losing a life differs. Super Mario 3D World in its simplistic and repetitive game design retains the traditional limited amount of lives punishment and forces players to replay whole levels if the players had lost all of their lives. Rayman Origins takes a different route in punishing a player for lost lives. With its checkpoint system and gradually increasing difficulty, Rayman Origins punishes the player but only lets them play from a certain checkpoint every time, thus forcing the player to learn how to maneuver through a certain point in a level at a much quicker pace. Both games are fun however and still appeal to a wide audience.


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