Slicing, Dicing, and Revisiting the Complex World of 'Mark of the Ninja'


#1

In our latest Waypoint 101, Austin, Rob, Patrick and myself dissect the design ethos and over-the-top Ninjitsu stylings of Klei Entertainment's 2012 stealth platformer Mark of the Ninja. We talk about its strengths—particularly it's very parseable design and complex puzzle-room approach to stealth—its weaknesses, and its story and style. Then we dip into the question bucket to consider whether this Mark has aged particularly well, or is showing up a little long in the tooth or slow on the draw.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbymy4/mark-of-the-ninja-waypoint-podcast

#2

Much as I enjoyed playing Mark of the Ninja in anticipation of this 101, there’s no greater reward than Rob Zacny’s Hedwig


#3

When they were talking about other 2d stealth/puzzle games, it actually made me think of the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy from 2015/2016. I just played those games late last year and have a lot of thoughts about them but the short version is: China is flawed but enjoyable game, India makes some small changes that drastically reduce how much fun it is, and Russia only adds small bits that make it a middle ground between the two. But other than that… yeah I can’t really think of much in that same genre space.

I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game but I’m very excited for the Patrick/Natalie/Austin sorta-101 that they’re planning on doing.


#4

There’s a question in this episode talking about game design choices around when picking up a collectible or completing an objective “counts”. That is, whether the game persists your accomplishment if you die immediately afterwards.

They mention Celeste, but I think it’s been too long since anyone’s played it because they didn’t recall quite how it works in that game.

I feel like it’s worth mentioning that Celeste is actually really cool in this regard because picking up strawberries requires that you touch safe ground before it counts. You do not need to through the room, as long as you touch down. It becomes a part of the challenge of collecting strawberries; you can’t just get to it, you also have to get to safety. That’s a cool way of codifying this sort of design choice.

Obviously, people forget stuff about games they played a whole dang year ago. But this seemed like a salient point, so I wanted to mention it.


#5

That sounds like a really elegant solution to something that’s sort of gestured at, but not addressed directly on the podcast - that banking an objective immediately makes the game vulnerable to cynical play, i.e. suicide runs that go against the spirit of the challenge being presented. Like Rob, I accidentally benefited from that kind of thing, but it didn’t seem like a fun way to deliberately approach stuff. (I’m still very much in favour of the Mark of the Ninja approach to this subject, regardless)