Top 5: Levels

Levels in video games are important, as without them there would be no sense of progression, no mountain to climb, no number to look up when you get stuck and need to go to gamefaqs because the designer decided to hide key to the door in a jar obscured by a pot plant next to a sign that says “the key is not here”. We’d all just be stuck at level 1, or even, god forbid, level 0 for the duration of a game. Well, we wouldn’t, because the concept of a level wouldn’t exist. It’d just be that you’d get to the end of the… erm… objective? Yeah objective, and it’d just carry on. It’d make the whole thing seem kinda weirdly empty and pointless. Imagine if Pacman ate all the pills but the ghosts just kept coming, and you ran around and around, with no way to defend yourself, not gaining any points, just running, screaming, crying… sorry I faded out for a second there, what were we talking about? Ah yes, levels, they’re good. That’s why we feel that it’s time to give our run-down of our favourite video game levels. Oh, and we mean numbers by the way, not fully designed stages. Loads of people have done that, and we’re original. Kinda. Just read the damn list, OK?

5. Level 1

The classic, the original, the deliciously welcoming Level 1, where all games start. Purists may quibble and state that 0 is the first proper level, but we mean the same thing, and anyway they’re being pedantic dicks. The first level you see when you load up the game and begin your quest is one that’ll stick with you, especially when you consider that it is almost always the tutorial. Without this you couldn’t have any other levels on top of it, it’d be like spreading peanut butter on a plate an then putting bread on top of it, it just doesn’t make sense. As the Buddhists say, a journey of a thousand EXP starts with a single level, or something like that. What, do I look like the Dalai Lama or something?

4. Level 65

Way to go champ, you reached the top of the tree! At least, you would have done seven years ago. Sadly the tree, like the majestic kelp plant, seems to be growing at a ridiculous rate, and while previously this would allow you to lord it over your fellow man and gank their shit, now you’re just another rung on the ladder to nowhere. Or 85, I think it’s 85 now. On the bright side at least you’ve technically beaten most of the content, and can now look forward to purchasing several expansion packs for some reason. QQ more and get back to grinding.

3. Level 10

Oh. Em. Jee. You’ve done it, you’ve broken into the big leagues now. Double digit levels, it’s only upwards from here! Unless of course you die and you lose all your progress, in which case that statement is somewhat false so disregard it. Also assuming your game has logarithmic progression (we only use the sexiest terms here at Pixel Grater), the distances between levels probably start to get bigger at this point, so maybe there’s a minor cause for concern. On the bright side you now know the first move in the game that you’ll actually like and keep, despite the fact that it turns out later on if you’d never used it you’d be doing much better. You live and learn.

2. Level 255

A lot of the time, level data is stored as an unsigned 8-bit integer, which means that 255 is the highest theoretical level that you can attain. Many legends of arcade cabinets becoming sentient and rising up against their masters are entirely unrelated to level 255 but it made this sentence seem more interesting. Going over level 255 is said to do horrible, horrible things. Either it’ll loop around and send you back to zero, or it’ll õY:9▒Yĵ╦╦h6\5÷↓69G\┘Ö)\§ÜS4¯⌂÷ÄB!^PY╚┼▒Y÷BE↓¾╦▒┼hÜ÷⌂Pw┼S↓\9P¿9Ê

1. Level 100

Double digits? PAH who needs ’em. We got three, check ’em THREE digits now. One hundred levels, a century of progress. If you had a Blastoise at this level and showed it to the guy behind the Pokémon centre in Vermillion, he’d give you a key to the truck near the SS Anne, and if you moved it (because what ten year old can’t move heavy dock machinery with the assistance of a turtle with canons in its back?) Mew was underneath! At least, that’s what the kid by the sheds in the playground said, and everyone knows he’s trustworthy because his uncle works at Nintendo.

About Cieran Douglass

Cieran built this website in a cave with a bunch of scraps. Actually no that's not right at all, it was with Wordpress and middling Photoshop and design skills. He often plays video games and his favourites are Paper Mario TTYD, GTA San Andreas, Portal 2 and Minecraft. His display picture is not an accurate portrayal. He currently works for a much bigger website at the University of York, but if you'd like him to write something for you he can be contacted at