Empowerment: Sliding Ninjas

Games like Zool and Sonic are at their most enjoyable when they empower the player with a feeling of control over a fluid gameplay experience. In other words, the player is able to execute very cool moves without too much effort. The player feels in control, but somehow their normal abilities seem to be enhanced beyond what they should realistically be able to achieve. Sonic routinely flies about the landscape at incredible speeds, grabbing rings mid-flight and narrowly avoiding perilous-looking hazards—and that makes the player feel powerful. Naturally, some of this is just good level design, but the levels ...

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