When it comes to gaming we all have a few odd favorites in what we hope to see. Small character in a normal sized house so it like huge. Christmas themed areas, or if nothing else atleast snow. Like anything on or adjacent to the moon. There are so many good examples for my odd specific tastes in video game design that I have to remind myself what it is we are here about today.
Night time stages in most games feels special. That is unless it’s a horror game or like Dracula centric platformer obviously. Now I must admit I couldn’t come up with any solid reason as to why I prefer night stages. It could be that I personally prefer them from just being a night person. That or the illusion of control and safety night time usually offers me just makes me feel more relaxed.
Perhaps it’s how easily visible threats and key items are in front of a black background can be in most games. Or the fact they almost always have bumpin’ soundtracks. Plus if the game is modern enough to have a city you might even get a city lights background and those are always great. Vegas Themed levels are usually at night as well. So many fond memories of these stages and all accompanying a sense of accomplishment. Typically the night stages come later. Stage 3 – 1 in Super Mario Bros for example. Let’s not forget Starlight Zone now, it’s the best. Toad’s Turnpike is also amazing. Granted that last one is not really progression based just when else will I get to bring up Toad’s Turnpike?
Here we go, indeed. That and I also like big city levels. Yo! Noid had a good one, and it was also night themed and spooky. Tiny Toons had a city level more at sunset, I accept sunset, but I’d rather have night time. I suppose it could be a hold over from being a kid and not being allowed to leave at night. The perceived adventure and the general unknown of it all could be swaying my decision. Or it could be that of the 54 colors on the NES Color Pallet blue had the most options.
So a blue sky was usually the flavor of the day in most NES games. So the stark black night time levels always felt special. It’s just a little touch overlooked so often but just showing the passage of time implies a much larger world. If there is a night and day cycle then there has to be a full globe. What else might be out there? We didn’t know that until Mario 3 for his games, as Mario Two-SA was in his dreams. Also look at speed based games like Sonic. He streaks by so fast you would be forgiven for thinking he was just a few blocks away from Scrap Brain Zone, but if you look at the back grounds you can see it takes even Sonic some time to get there.
Arriving with the rising sun Sonic has ran all night. Just like I did the first time I finally beat it. So yeah, not much else to say about night levels aside from maybe next time keep an eye out. Subtle little things can tell us way more than you think.