Call me late to the party if you’d like but it has taken till now for me to play the indie hit Super Meat Boy. I will start by saying that I have never been a huge fan of time trial type games. I always thought the appeal (of SMB) was for quick level completions (Gaining the A+ status). It is amazing what that small timer in the corner can do to a person, both good and bad. Whenever I watched videos of the game it felt as if players were running around with their head cut off… but I could not have been further from the truth.
The main quality I have to respect about Super Meat Boy is simply the level of polish put into the game. Even the smallest details are very well thought out. The main quality that makes SMB so well done is how it handles death. When a player dies they are not blasted with game over screens or pauses… the level simply restarts. This seamless transition gives the urge to try a level just one more time before giving up. Before they know it the player has spent an extra 20 minutes struggling through a level till its completion. That rush of excitement (from completing a difficult level) transitions into playing more and more levels. I can guarantee that average play session times would dramatically decrease with a different take on death (or result in players giving up on the game all together). In an era where most games are designed for casual users SMB has been able to bring old school difficulty into the casual games space. My only regret is not picking up the game sooner. I highly recommend trying it out on XBLA / Steam if you have not yet played Super Meat Boy!