What 8-Bit Video Games Can Teach Us About Design And UX

It’s frightening to think that many kids finishing high school may have never played an 8-bit video game. For the rest of us–who now feel rather old–this post from Spire Studios gives pointers as to how what UX tips we can take from Mario and co.

What’s wonderful about the idea is that it’s like an epic mashup of mobile first and gamification. Why not think like we’re designing a Nintendo NES game?

While one or two of the pointers would need a bit more work to translate to interaction design,  many are great off the bat:

  • The point of embracing constraints is fundamental to design.
  • Use A Lack Of Color To Create Atmosphere is a good counterpoint to the latest retro trend.
  • Substitute ‘power up’ for ‘progress’ in Show that a Power Up is Working  and it’s all about giving signals …
  • … while Show, Don’t Tell Us It’s Friendly conversely is a reminder that some problems are kayak-shaped ones that right themselves (like how it took people about thirty seconds to figure out on Google Maps mobile that right button click left them move the maps)

The author gives contemporary experimental sites as examples of his points. And did I mention the  game shots?

Supermario Brothers Duck Hunt

Supermario Brothers Duck Hunt. Don't you want to find an old console now?

So, anyone up to do a post on arcade games and UX?

That was before my time, I have to admit.

For the original post (and more screengrabs!) see the Spirestudios post.

Vicky Teinaki

An England-based Kiwi, Vicky is doing a PhD at Northumbria University into how designers can better talk about touch and products. When not researching or keeping Johnny Holland running, she does the odd bit of web development, pretends her TV licence money goes only to Steven Moffatt shows, and tweets prolifically about all of the above as @vickytnz.

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