The Rewarding Nature of Super Monkey Ball 2

Super Monkey Ball 2 is an example of a platform game, where the player is tasked with navigating each individual stage (platform) in order to reach the goal and complete the level. In her paper, “Unlocking the Gameworld: The Rewards of Space and Time in Videogames,” Alison Gazzard illustrates four central reward categories that are prevalent in games like Super Monkey Ball 2, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and many other classic platform games. These four types of rewards are “‘rewards of glory, rewards of sustenance, rewards of access, and rewards of facility’” (Gazzard 2). For the rest of the blog post, I will explain how each of these rewards relates to the game play of Super Monkey Ball 2.

Rewards of glory are “‘[. . .] all the things you’re going to give the player that have absolutely no impact on the game play itself but will be things they end up taking away from the experience’” (Gazzard 2). In Super Monkey Ball 2 rewards of glory would be bananas, which are comparable to the coins and rings that Gazzard mentions when discussing Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the HedgehogIn the game play of Super Monkey Ball 2 the bananas, individually, serve no purpose, they can increase a player’s score slightly, but in challenge mode each individual banana serves no real purpose. In challenge mode, and even in story mode the bananas seem to be elements of juiciness that serve as a social reward, giving “[. . .] the player an opportunity to discuss rewards amongst friends ” (Gazzard 2).

This picture shows a level rich with bananas (reward of glory). When the banana counter in the top right reaches 100 the player will be granted an extra life. (Courtesy of Google images).

 

Rewards of glory can be linked to rewards of sustenance, as rewards of sustenance are “‘given so the player can maintain their avatar’s status quo and keep all the things they’ve gained in the game so far’” (Gazzard 2). In terms of Super Monkey Ball 2, the bananas, which individually serve no purpose, eventually allow the player to gain a life. This feature is only available in challenge mode, but it allows “[. . .] players to keep their characters within the gameworld longer” (Gazzard 2). In doing this, rewards of sustenance allow the player to increase the amount of time he or she is able to play one continuous game.

The third type of reward is rewards of access, which “[. . .] allow for a direct impact on the spatial opportunities within the game” (Gazzard 2). In Super Monkey Ball 2 these rewards manifest themselves as switches that move certain elements of the platform, such as a bridge. Without activating these switches the player will not be able to successfully complete the level. Gazzard claims that “these rewards are spatial, as they allow for game progression through unlocking new areas for players to explore” (2). While these buttons might not always be seen as rewards due to their necessity, it is their ability to help the player progress through the level that makes them a reward.

This picture shows many switches, only a few will cause the goal to pop up, allowing the player to successfully complete the level (Courtesy of Google images). 

The final category of rewards is rewards of facility. They are defined as things that ‘”[. . .] enable a player’s avatar to to do things they couldn’t do before or enhance abilities they already possess’” (Gazzard 2). In Super Monkey Ball 2 these can be considered the switches similarly to the rewards of access; however, I believe that knowledge of the game mechanics is the games true reward of facility. As a player improves he or she will inevitably gain a better understanding of the patterns within the game, and the proper techniques for navigating difficult obstacles. This, while not a physical reward, will allow the player to enhance their existing abilities and will expand the existing spatial world for the player. These four types of rewards make a significant contribution to the incredibly rewarding nature of platform games like Super Monkey Ball 2

 

Works Cited:

“Game Studies.” Game Studies – Unlocking the Gameworld: The Rewards of Space and Time in Videogames, gamestudies.org/1101/articles/gazzard_alison.

Source Website: http://gamestudies.org/1101/articles/gazzard_alison

 

Source: The Rewarding Nature of Super Monkey Ball 2