What makes Super Mario 3D All Star so exciting?
“Whaaat? Mario can now pull off a consecutive chain of long jumps?” Post finding out that was indeed the truth with Super Mario 3D All-Star; I was hooked. My sore thumbs and tired eyes were a testimony of how desperately I needed to get off the couch and give it a break. “Just one more level…” I continued to tell myself.
So what is that secret sauce which makes video games so addictive that even when our fingertips are sore and our eyes tired, we can’t seem to put down the controller? We all know the Super Mario Brothers -- those enthusiastic little crusaders that are on a mission to save the Princess from evil and make it to the castle, come what may. They go down tunnels, reach for leaves and stars to get magical powers to help them on their journey.
It’s been 40 years, and Super Mario fans are still obsessing over the "ridiculously fun" creation. If you’ve ever been frustrated at your inability to complete a level, here’s a little something to cheer you up. Believe it or not, Trigonometry is the secret sauce behind this cult favourite!
Here’s the thing -- When you see that little guy glide over the roadblocks so smoothly… It’s Trigonometry that helps Mario jump over these obstacles. He doesn’t really jump straight along the Y-axis; it is a slightly curved path or a parabolic path that he takes to tackle all the obstacles on the way.
Trigonometry simply means calculations with triangles. In all video games, there are many triangles making up different components. From having the ability to calculate the trajectory of an Angry Bird flying through the sky to ensuring that a character can jump and come back down to the ground, games simply wouldn't work without the help of mathematics.
Understanding trigonometry is the key to unlocking the magic of math
The next time you attempt Super Mario, observe the game more intently, and you’ll notice the angle between the tunnel floor and Mario, right after he makes a jump for it!
You see, math is an absolute fundamental foundation to successful game development and game design. For example, if you want to work out the difference between two objects in a game, you simply draw a triangle connecting them and then use mathematics to work it out. To develop a video game like Mario, trigonometry is used to calculate lengths, sides and angles of these triangles that determine timing, distances and other aspects.