Saturday, 26 March 2016

Design inspirations from Mario

Tell me one name who has not played Mario game in his/her childhood or not aware about Mario at all. Mario is such a fantastic and famous game of all time. We really enjoyed playing and watching it. Mario game also gives some amazing design inspiration which a designer can take in back of his/her mind while designing. Let’s start with inspirations.

1.       Visibility of System Status

It is also mentioned as one of the important Heuristic Principles by Jacob Nielsen ‘Visibility of System Status’. It means system should tell its current status clearly. If you see in Mario, there are different looks of Mario signifies different meaning and makes it easier for player to understand the status of Mario. Difference in size and appearance makes clear visibility of status.


2.       Privileged Feeling

Whenever Mario grabs a Mushroom it gets some special privileges and a player can feel those privileges in terms of power, controls etc. Apart from that background music changes to give complete feeling of power and special. In our system we should also take care of our privileged user/customer/members feelings. This inspiration is not limited to a User Interface but one should apply this in their real system.

3.       Excitement vs. Difficulty Balance

For any game it is one of the critical factor to maintain Excitement vs Difficulty balance which Mario is using in very effective manner. For designing any gamified system one should always design complete system by using proper motivations to maintain Excitement vs. Difficulty balance. 

4.       Fun

This is again one important factor for any system to engage their users FUN. If your players or users are getting fun with your product or service, they will be engaged in you. Mario does It by giving micro and big challenges and achievements to a player, also by appreciating player on winning.

5.       Expert vs. Novice user

Design is called good when it takes care of both ‘Novice and expert’ users. Expert users expect more flexibility and customization whereas novice users expect easy availability of information. In Mario for novice players points, powers and obstacles are upfront available and for expert players hidden points, powers and challenges are given, that makes more excitement and engagement for both kind of players.


6.       Error Correction

In a good design, designer always think about error correction and error prevention. In Mario game for each player 3 chances (life) are given, by which player can play the game and if failed in any challenge then he/she can try again.



7.       Simplicity

Simplicity is really complex to design. Yes of course bringing simplicity in design or solution complex thinking and analysis is required. Simplicity of Mario game is one of the major factor for making it successful. A simple graphic, limited controls and easily visible challenges bought simplicity in Mario game design. Her simplicity is not meant by making game easy, I hope designers understand this.

8.       Identity

Mario game has given a best example of branding and identity creation. Theme music and other music of this game are well used in games with consistency so that we all still remember theme music of Mario very well. For any design, product, service, company branding and identity is very important. Be consistent in service better your customers Mario tells you. 

Let’s feel Mario again


About Author:

Abhishek Jain (@uxdabhi)


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