Everything I Need to Know, I Learned on Zebes

The Angry DM has written a list of adventure design tips inspired by Super Metroid. I especially liked the example for tip #9, “Don’t Let the Player’s Desires Align All the Time”:

In one room of Super Metroid, you have to make some jumps on narrow platforms over spiked pits while flying enemies buzz around. Shoot the enemies then proceed, right? Wrong. The enemies are glowbugs. And the room is dark without them. Every time you kill one, you make it harder to see the platforms you are trying to jump between. So, you have to decide which one you can do: navigate barely visible platforms or dodge enemies while jumping around.

There’s no right answer. That makes it a choice, not a puzzle. Choices have no correct answers. DMs forget that a lot.


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