Created By: AlexSora89 on January 26, 2012 Last Edited By: AlexSora89 on October 31, 2014

Level Diorama Preview

You get to see a glimpse of the level you are about to enter thanks to a small diorama.

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[ EDIT: Sorry for the page image. "A master at work" was supposed to be the caption, potholed to Trope Codifier, while the image should have linked to the general Kingdom Hearts article, but I screwed it up as usual. Sorry about that.]

A Video Game trope currently becoming more and more popular as time passes, this is about a diorama used as a small "preview" of sorts for the level you're about to access. It generally comes off as a classy touch, and as a generally nice addition to the game as it makes easier (and in some cases possible) to tell the levels apart.

Given this is easy to confuse with the World Map, there's a just-as-easy example to distinguish these two tropes: while the World Map illustrates the world as a whole, the Level Diorama Preview is used for a level or world accessible by itself inside either the World Map or The Hub, depending on the case.

For example, while the smaller World Maps in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins actually are dioramas but don't qualify as Level Dioramas, given they show a world as a whole, the level selection screen in Super Mario Galaxy, as well as the World Map in its sequel, both have small dioramas - for the individual levels - in them, and therefore those games count as examples of this trope.

While easier to implement in Platform Games, this trope isn't strange to other genres, either.

Level Thumbnail ( at the moment the other ykttw in this page) is the Super Trope.

Examples of this trope:

Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • January 26, 2012
    How about Level Thumbnail?
  • January 28, 2012
    Nope... Level Thumbnail should be the Super Trope of this, considering it's the more generic preview for a given level. I'm not saying your suggestion is wrong, though; it's just another - and related - trope.

    The one you're talking about is a generic thumbnail akin to the ones seen in, say, the first installment of the Mario Vs Donkey Kong franchise.

    I seriously hope this idea of mine evolves into an actual trope though - we don't have this one, it's tropable, and it's not biased in either way.

    I'm looking forward to further opinions!
  • January 29, 2012
    Then let's create the Super Trope first. Having a Missing Supertrope is a confirmed magnet for Square Peg Round Trope examples.
  • February 17, 2012
    Supertrope coming soon (I hope).
  • February 18, 2012
    Do the 3D Zelda games (specifically Oo T and MM) qualify for this? Upon entering major areas, the camera pans round and shows the player an overview of the area.
  • February 18, 2012
    Nope. You were close, but that doesn't count because that shows the area itself, and not a small replica of it (hence the use of the word diorama).

    However, games such as Phantom Hourglass do count, as they use dioramas to show the smaller areas like islands for PH, or train stations for Spirit Tracks.

    An easy example would be the Final Fantasy games - the world map uses smaller-scale dioramas to show towns, castles, caves and whatnot.

    Also, I'm writing the Super Trope right now so watch out for Level Thumbnail when I finish writing it!
  • February 18, 2012
    Should we also have a trope for panning the level proper to show it off?
  • February 18, 2012
    Maybe, DQZ. Any name suggestions?
  • March 12, 2012
  • March 12, 2012
    I'd get Level Preview up and running first. Then you can see if there are enough of this type to justify making a subtrope.
  • April 3, 2012
    @ lebrel

    I dunno. Under Level Thumbnail - the supertrope also present in the YKTTW list - Dragon Quest Z suggested Kingdom Hearts, that is, the poster boy for this subtrope instead. You might be right about it, but if we went with that solution, I'd prefer a "Type A - Type B" disambiguation between Level Thumbnail and the subtrope in the former's page.

    So, it's anyone's game by now.
  • April 8, 2012
  • October 30, 2014
    This actually looks like a great idea. I'm noticing this trope more and more in games today. I hope it's okay to bump this (I don't know what the rules are).
  • October 30, 2014
    In Metal Slug X, the level selection appears as small models of the things that appear in the level on dishes, with the background of General Morden holding a fork and knife.
  • October 31, 2014
    The 3DS system menu gives each application a diorama. Nice looking and very likely the first 3d effect that anyone is going to see.