Experimentation – Using Different Materials and Mediums (Unit 12 2.1, 2.2)

Last week, we looked at experimentation and how it could help us further our skills and knowledge on both the games industry and how games have been made. So continuing from last week’s experimentation topic, we started looking at experimentation outside of our usual comfort zone of using digital software and instead we will be using more physical materials to experiment with different ideas.

We first started off by researching different ways that we could use physical materials to experiment around our specialist area, so I started looking at different methods for designing levels and I found out that Nintendo used graph paper to design the levels for Super Mario Bros which was explained by Shigeru Miyamoto during E3 2015.

One of the Original Graph paper level designs for world 1-2 of Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System

From learning about the use of graph paper when designing the levels of Super Mario Bros, I decided I would try using graph paper to design my own level based on a grassy plains with a small patch of water that flows through the level. I also wanted to add some collectables and enemies to the level to add a goal to it. So I first designed the level using only a few selected colours with a key using 2 by 2 blocks to represent each tile and once that was done I also designed the pixel art using another piece of graph paper to get an idea on how each of the tiles would look. The images below show both graph paper pieces.

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Once those were created, I moved on to recreating my level in Photoshop but before I could do that I recreated the tiles, collectables and enemy characters to be used when creating the level, once that was done, I used a scanned image of my level on the graph paper to place each tile where I have marked it out on the map, this was rather difficult to do as most of the tiles where in different sizes and were difficult to make it even. The Images below are the final results of the recreations.

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From this experiment, I have learned a lot more about how levels can be created and I have also improved my skill in designing levels and creating pixel art using Photoshop which will help me when designing a level for my final major project. Overall I am happy with how the experiment went but I would improve my work by making sure all of the tiles were the same size when I was recreating the level.


Valencia, N. (2016) These Sheets of Graph Paper Were Used to Design Super Mario Bros. Available at: http://www.archdaily.com/783657/the-sheets-of-graph-paper-they-used-to-design-super-mario-bros (Accessed: 30th January 2017).