What makes a good level?

I wanted to share my opinion on what makes a good Mario level. I believe that good course design incorporates a balance of fun gameplay with challenging effort – whether achieved through puzzles, obstacles, or quick thinking. I also believe that relatively good levels have some form of the following three major characteristics:

  1. Theme (aesthetics, showcasing a mechanic, focusing on an enemy set, using a particular gameplay style, etc.)
  2. Replay Value (fun to play again or keep trying, alternative experience/route, new challenges, skill development, etc.)
  3. Presentation (look-and-feel that is clever or appealing, layout or pathway that isn’t confusing, appropriate cues for the player, etc.)

These are just my opinions on what constitutes a “good” level, but they stem from my personal experience with and affection for the original Mario games (SMB, SMB3, SMW, and NSMB). Like most players, my passion for Super Mario Maker comes from creating levels that replicate a similar joy that I got from any one of the four official Mario games over the past three decades. My hope is to create levels that hold true to these three core values and offer a fun experience for anyone that plays my courses.

What do you believe makes a good level?

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