Step 1: Picking the Game

The image from MarioWiki.com conveniently shows all the LCD elements ON which allows you to count the number of visual elements in the game. In this case there are about 38 visual elements that the LCD will display not including the time. We're not going to be replicating the "& Watch" portion of these games. Unfortunately, I have yet to find an image of the game that is useful for copying the visual elements from.

The reason we're picking this one (at least for the first round) is because it has a reasonable number of visual elements and the game mechanics are relatively simple.

If you're not familiar with how the game is played, here is an excellent video on YouTube.

Just from watching the video we can see there are three positions the player can be in: left, middle and right. There are only two buttons required to play the game. The smoke animation is just continuous and is not tied to game play. You can see in the still image above there is a fireman with a bell but that doesn't appear in the game play video. Also looking at the still image you can see how the people escaping the fire can start from two different positions. The top floor and the second floor. The top floor has an extra step before going into the common pattern for the top and second floor.

The player gets 1 point for every successful catch. Not just when a character makes it to the fire truck. If a player misses one of the characters, they appear below the player character and the "misses" count goes up.

More than one character can be bouncing at a time. And as the game progresses, it can speed up.

With this basic information of what's going on, it's possible to start simplifying the rules to get a working prototype created in JavaScript.

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