Facts about... the ice world

Above: That was your first fact: Ice age is a game. We could go on

World 6 in Mario Bros. 3, Blizzard Man and Ice Man from the Mega Man series and that one planet in Mass Effect: frozen worlds aren’t just for movie-based spinoff games. We wanted to figure out why this motif keeps repeating itself, so we started coming up with some ideas: is it the safety of a proven level design? Do consumers respond well to level-types that appeared in Mario Bros games? Is it just an unwillingness or resistance to thinking outside of the box?

It turns out that none of those are even close to true. Any level’s theme is dependent on its temperature.

So what makes some levels cold and others not? Atmospheric composition, mostly, and particularly the concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane gas can have a drastic effect on the temperature of the entire level. Also, the orbit around the sun can affect global temperature, and the movement of tectonic plates changes the location and amount of the continental and oceanic crust of the planet, which – you know – can make things hot or cold.

Above: Science shows us two typical inhabitants of two planets in separate orbits

Once an ordinary game level reaches the appropriate temperature, which is 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water freezes and it becomes known as the ice level. Or to say it simply, things go from this:

Above: Serious running faces

To this:

Above: We don’t even need to put on warmer clothes

It’s obvious that Sonic and Mario are having a better time in the second screen, but what caused this change to happen? Well, we know that when the temperature drops the ice world is created, but does the temperature alone cause more happiness and fun in Mario and Sonic franchise collaborations? Let’s take a look at an estimate of how the addition of trillions of tons of frozen water might affect our planet.

Freezing the Earth certainly turns the chart bluer. But for those who are also concerned with the data, the levels of rocks trees and dirt are way down – sealed under glaciers and tons of snow. Ice is on the rise and obviously that translates into some fun game worlds. Need proof to back that up? Take a look at this chart of how much fun people, Mario and penguins usually have while living on different surfaces: