Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 2, 2014

Email: On Shovel Knight

It’s a fun game.  Definitely old school in its design.  I think you’d like it.  But that’s not really the point of this email.

The developers of that game recently gave an interview where they said this interesting tidbit:”Sean: I was reading about the Mario team, and you know Miyamoto, he’s like “Every time we make a Mario, usually we swear never to do another one. Then like six months later everyone starts kind of remembering the ideas they had or starts to have new ideas and then everyone’s like ‘Okay, maybe it’d be a good idea to make a new one’”.

Now that statement Miyamoto made was only printed in the Mario Mania Player’s Guide from 1991, so most people wouldn’t know about it.  I know this because I’m the one who sent you that quote a few years ago.  So I have a feeling the Shovel Knight guys might read your blog.  Unless of course they have old Player’s Guides sitting around that they read, which seems unlikely.

I thought that was interesting.


I doubt game developers have time to read this crusty blog. However, Shovel Knight seems interesting.

Eurogamer kept calling this a ‘SNES game’ and 16-bit style. Totally wrong. It is NES game and 8-bit style.

I’m not a fan of 8-bit visuals (and I don’t think most people are). What I am a huge fan of is how the 8-bit games use so much screen space for level real-estate. In the 16-bit games, all the spites got LARGER which mean less screen space for level real-estate. Here is what I am saying:

Mega Man 3


Mega Man 7

I like the increased number of colors 16-bit games had. However, I hate, hate, hate how the level real-estate got so much slower. This is partially why I think platform games began to wane in the 16-bit Era. No one wanted to make SMALL sprites. No. Each sprite had to be HUGE, clog up the screen, so everyone can show off their 16-bit graphics.

Of course, now we have cameras. I cannot remember a 2d platformer where the camera can move in and out giving you as much level real-estate as needed. (Not automatically, but the player having control of that.) I’d be interesting if you could zoom the camera out all the way and view half the stage on a single screen!

The music of Shovel Knight is very interesting indeed. It definitely has that Mega Man vibe going. In some music, it has other vibes going on as well.

Is that Castlevania? Hmm.

I’ll play through Shovel Knight very soon. This game seems like it was made for me.



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