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Ramses

Warp Zones

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What's everyone's thoughts on warp zones or perhaps I should say level warps? Since just about every game these days saves your progress and you don't need to start from the beginning every time, there really isn't a need for them anymore. I can't remember the last time I've seen one. Does anyone miss them? I do in some ways. Who can remember the feeling of finding the hidden 1-2 warp zone in the original Super Mario Bros? The warps gave options for subsequent playthroughs and they helped add a sense of mystery and discovery. That said, I'd venture to guess that they probably work best on games of a certain length (30 minutes to a few hours?). I'd be curious to hear if any long games ever incorporated them (5+ hours).

 

I've been developing a retro arcade game for the past year and I got to thinking about the options for continuing. I'm debating if I should use warps or if I should just let the player choose to skip ahead (if they already made progress). Thoughts?

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Not to steer off topic, but is there a definitive list somewhere of games that feature 'warp zones' ? I know of SMB but what else? I did a little searching but didn't see a whole lot besides for Mario series. Personally I like them, as long as they are somewhat hidden. Makes you work to find them, then more rewarding.

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Thing about warps is they are easy to find once you know where to look. They definitely gave Super Mario Brothers some variety. I can easily get to any level I want to. If I've got a couple hours to kill, I'll go warpless through all 8 worlds; if not, I'll go strait to World 4 and then 8. When I was a kid, I took the warp to World 2 and typically made it to the fishy bridge (2-3) before I died. World 4 was too hard for me in my younger years.

 

If you're designing a homebrew game and you plan to include warps or Easter Eggs, you may want to hint that they exist in the manual so people will know to look for them. Homebrew games may not get the level of exposure of classic games so some exploits, intended or not, may go unnoticed by gamers.

 

I generally enjoy games that can be played non-linearly as well. Some even include a level select on the start screen or allow you to play the game out of order.

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They were convenient back then when most games didn't have save points and you wanted to be able to practice later levels more easily, but as far as playing games I don't like to use warps when going for a full run. I like to play and experience every stage rather than skipping it. Otherwise you've only really beaten 1/4 of Super Mario Bros. if you take the world 4 and 8 warps.

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Off hand I can think of Kid Chameleon on Sega Genesis and Psycho Fox on Sega Master System.

 

I don't mind them cause you can use em if you want or bypass em if you want.

 

I really like them in Super Mario Bros. because I like to think of them as pertaining to 'the story'.

 

Mario is on a quest to find the Princess, there are 8 Castles she could be in. If you forget the level 'Numbers' and just think of the game as Mario's Quest, then the warp zones allow Mario to go right to the correct Castle and find her. Whose to say Mario had to be so unlucky as to search EVERY wrong castle before finding the right one? Like a Maze, you don't HAVE to take EVERY wrong turn and hit EVERY dead end before finding the exit. Sure if you are at a fair or something and you paid for a ticket you might feel a little ripped off to solve it so quick, and you might wonder what else the maze had to offer in surprises, so you re-enter and take a few different turns. IE You reset the NES and take a different warp or none at all.

If you walk 2 miles to work everyday and suddenly one day you notice a vacant lot that trims half a mile off your walk, would you take it? or would you say your cheating?.. Maybe if you were using the daily walk to work as exercise, or you are in a new town and want to get to know the area.

Mario wasn't 'Cheating', he was taking a shortcut he found. He wasn't on this quest because he heard the Mushroom Kingdom was such a beautiful place to visit or so he could burn a few calories and fit into Luigi's overall's, he was in a rush to save the Princess before Bowser did god knows what to her.

Edited by Torr

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After thinking about it some more, there aren't as many games with warps as I thought there were. Star Fox is another and I vaguely remember Bonk's Adventure and/or Bonk's Revenge having something.

 

 

If you're designing a homebrew game and you plan to include warps or Easter Eggs, you may want to hint that they exist in the manual so people will know to look for them. Homebrew games may not get the level of exposure of classic games so some exploits, intended or not, may go unnoticed by gamers.

 

Good point. Though it's technically not a homebrew game, there's a good chance it won't get much exposure. I'll have to keep that in mind when designing the secret stuff.

Edited by Ramses

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Some games you can only skip one level. I remember Battle Toads having a level warp in it near the end of level 3. Level 4 looked really cool in the strategy guide (it was non-linear) and my friend Brian said he'd never played it because he always took the warp.

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I remember quiet often (even to this day) playing Super Mario Bros on NES and someone will ask "what game is that?" Not because it's not recognizable as Mario, but because so many people use the warps, the never get out of the levels that are bricks. People forget about the ice stage, or the stage's that look like giant mushrooms, surprises me how many people will say "I've never seen that and I play the game blah blah blah"

 

Anyhow, for me, I almost never use the warps, I enjoy playing the game though, so I may be a bit biased :P

 

Gotta feel bad for those poor Mushrrom Retainers in 1-4 and especially 4-4. Hardly anyone ever bothers to rescue them... :sad:

LOL I'm on it :D

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