Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
What Lies Beyond: Doorways in Gaming
View All     RSS
December 15, 2019
arrowPress Releases
December 15, 2019
Games Press
View All     RSS







If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 

What Lies Beyond: Doorways in Gaming


June 10, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next
 

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 brought Nintendo's hero into full 3D, and much of the joy in its gameplay comes from Mario's unfettered ability to roam around the world, leaping and swimming and climbing trees.

The Doors

Once we've tired of exploring the playground outside and entered the castle proper, we find ourselves in a world of doors, and paintings that serve a similar function, as Mario is free to open or leap into them and enter the worlds beyond.

The Experience

The doors in Super Mario 64 serve as boundaries between worlds, and Miyamoto's inventive design throws us into new experiences as we pass through each one. We are also given reasons to revisit these areas, to complete challenges or locate hidden collectibles.

This Is Your Brain On...

Whether our exploration-hungry brains realize it or not, these portals serve a regulatory function to manage the difficulty curve -- we have to make a certain amount of progress before certain doors will open, though we have a lot of freedom in deciding which worlds to tackle first. When we later return to now-familiar areas, the newness has worn off, but the gateways still serve to bookend each part of the experience -- whether we succeed or fail, Mario gets sent back the way he came in, our framework resets, and we are ready to decide what to do next.

Grand Theft Auto III

The Grand Theft Auto series came to 3D with its smash-and-grab criminal enterprise gameplay intact.

The Doors

Well...

The Experience

Despite advances in technology, certain limitations afflict the open-world genre even today, and few are so frustrating as the myriad storefronts with sealed doors and opaque windows. We find ourselves standing at one door, forever closed:

 

And another:

 And another:

This Is Your Brain On...

Why does this kind of thing drive human beings crazy? It's a technical issue, but also a psychological one -- these moments reveal that the illusion of a sprawling cityscape is supported by a bunch of painted boxes, a Potemkin city of substantial but unsatisfying proportions. Almost everywhere we go, we are confronted with intriguing doors that can't be opened. And the few accessible interiors don't really feel like interiors; doors tend to open in our anti-hero's path automatically as we walk into generally indicated zones. GTA III's doors are thus neither obstacles nor points of demarcation; our memories end up depending more on the transitions into canned cutscenes, and the end-of-mission theme music, to delineate the flow of the game.


Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next

Related Jobs

Sanzaru Games Inc.
Sanzaru Games Inc. — Dublin , California, United States
[12.12.19]

Systems Designers
Sanzaru Games Inc.
Sanzaru Games Inc. — Dublin, California, United States
[12.12.19]

Level Designer
Deep Silver Volition
Deep Silver Volition — Champaign, Illinois, United States
[12.12.19]

Principal Writer
Futureplay
Futureplay — Helsinki, Finland
[12.12.19]

Senior Game Designer





Loading Comments

loader image