I played and recorded my playthrough of the first stage, Space Colony, in Super Metroid. I was able to play it through the Nintendo Switch Online and capture footage with the EVGA XR1 capture card. The footage I captured is the video above. It took me three attempts to complete this level.
During my first attempt, I take my time to get a feel for the controls and soak in the environment. I love how the music and environment scenes give the impression that something horrible happened and Samus may encounter it. Once Samus reaches a dead end and a Metroid in a jar which Samus cannot perform any action with, a boss called Ridley appears out of nowhere. I remembered from reviews and analyses on Super Metroid that Ridley cannot be defeated but I wanted to practice shooting and dodging. I always have a hard time shooting and dodging in video games. No matter what I do, Ridley kicks Samus’ butt. Once her health is at 22 out of 99, Ridley leaves and a self-destruct timer of one minute begins. I was nervous as I move Samus back to the entrance which is now the exit. The platforms Samus dropped down from the entrance, she now has to jump back up those same platforms to escape. Jumping back up was a lot of trouble. The camera tilts to the left, tilts to the right then back to the left. Also, there are what looks like steam projectiles coming from the sides of the platforms, which slows down Samus. I failed to get Samus to escape before the time reached zero. So, I try again.
My second attempt was pretty much the same result. The only difference was that Ridley left when Samus’ health was at 28 and Samus reached the platforms a few seconds earlier. I did realize after failing a second time, however, that the game might let Samus practice jumping up the platforms at the beginning of the stage.
Attempt number three was a success. It was quite easy jumping up the platforms when there is no self-destruct timer, camera is not tilting and no projectiles slowing Samus down. Now it’s obvious that I was letting the game make me nervous about escaping. For the remainder of the stage, I practiced patience and it paid off. I got Samus to escape with fifteen seconds left on the timer.
It’s amazing how much fun a game that is nearly 30 years old can be. Even in this first stage, Super Metroid has a way of encouraging me to do better. What techniques does Super Metroid use to encourage players to do better? And how can we use those techniques to encourage ourselves to do better in real life? That’s what I’m going to find answers for this week.