Progress Report: A Name and a Contents Page!

November 4th, 2012

Given the book’s constant delays—remember when it was meant to be finished last Christmas?—I’ve been feeling reluctant to post any updates. Alas, it’s time for me to swallow my shame.

After the last edit in July, I spent the following two and a half months doing what I think is the third or fourth edit. I’m not exactly sure, I lost count a few months ago. What I can say with certainty though is that I’m finally satisfied with the copy. I just need to give it a final proof-read and make a few small adjustments to punctuation and it’ll be ready for print.

At the moment, I’m more than a third of the way through the reference images and video. I expect that to last another 2 weeks or so. After which I will begin putting the images, links and text together into its final form. I’m hopeful of hearing a response back from a publisher in the next month or so. If I don’t get picked up, I’ll probably just go ahead with self-publishing. Yes, I will be offering a print version and have been optimising the images and reference material to suit the format. I’m not going to take a stab at a release date this time. Just know that I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time on it and it should be done in due time.

Today I want to share 2 things with you. The name of the book and the contents page. The book will be called Rethinking Games Criticism: An Analysis of Wario Land 4. It is as much game design text book as it is a piece on Wario Land 4 and a critique of current serious games writing. As for the contents page, please find it below:


Rethinking Games Criticism: An Analysis of Wario Land 4







What is Wario Land 4?

How to Read This Book

Online Reference

A Few Words on Style


Need To Know

Game Elements



Transformations and Navigation

Level Elements

Essential Elements

Regular Elements

Exclusive Elements




Coins, Crystals, Diamonds and Treasures

Game Structure

Level, Hub and System Structure


User Interface


Digging Deeper

Mechanics Analysis

Why Jump, Attack and Traversal?

Mechanics, Function and Minimum Difference

The Dominant Mechanics

Attack and Dash Attack Comparison

Dash Attack – Accessibility Diminishing Power

Attack – Power Flavouring Play

Fake Momentum and Step Acceleration

Controller Input~Mechanical Output

Nuance and the Hierarchy of Power

Game Dynamics

Game Dynamics Introduction

Enemies and Interplay

Interplay Analysis

Enemies as Static Game Elements

Psychology and Engagement

Principles of Engagement

Selectable and Scalable Difficulty

Health and Hearts Introduction

Rewards, Punishment and Psychology


Premise and Interaction Set in Context

Game Ideas


Examples of Counterpoint


Room Suspension


Conveying Information Through Form

The 2D Perspective and The Illusion of Depth

Bounding Boxes, Camera, ACTION!

Music Observations

Design Philosophies

Game as Teacher

The Game Design Style Guide

Additional Essays

Through the Lens of Interaction + Association + Cognition and Application

Designing for Freedom Within Linearity


Level Analysis

Essays on Levels

Folded Level Design

Rooms, Doors and Considerations

Skills and Challenge Types

Transformations and the Level Design Tool Box

Restricted-to-Freer Practice


Level Analysis Introduction

Entry Passage: Hall of Hieroglyphs

Emerald Passage: Palm Tree Paradise

Emerald Passage: Wildflower Fields

Emerald Passage: Mystic Lake

Emerald Passage: Monsoon Jungle

Ruby Passage: The Curious Factory

Ruby Passage: The Toxic Landfill

Ruby Passage: 40 Below Fridge

Ruby Passage: Pinball Zone

Topaz Passage: Toy Block Tower

Topaz Passage: The Big Board

Topaz Passage: Doodle Woods

Topaz Passage: Domino Row

Sapphire Passage: Crescent Moon Village

Sapphire Passage: Arabian Night

Sapphire Passage: Fiery Cavern

Sapphire Passage: Hotel Horror

Golden Passage

Purple Pipe Puzzle Rooms


Passage Themes



Topical Essays

Wario Land – An Evolutionary History

From Odd to Off-Kilter – The Transition into WarioWare

From 8 to 16 bits in a Year and a Half – Wario Land 3 to 4

The Cutting Room Floor – Beta Vs. Final Game

Wario – A Personality Profile

Mario and Wario – A Character Comparison

Loose Ends





  • Wow!

  • KirbyKid

    What he said! 

  • moomoo

    I’ve just recently stumbled onto this site and would like to express my support for this kind of thing.  I also think Wario Land 4 is a phenomenally designed game and would buy this book in a minute.  Can’t wait to delve into all your writing on this site.