Sunday, November 16, 2008


Back in the days of the SNES and particularly the NES, platforming games were very common, but today FPS's, sports, and music games dominate the industry. In the recent year or so, the genre of platformers has been a lot better. We've gotten stellar titles like Super Mario Galaxy and LittleBigPlanet, and quality, smaller titles like de Blob and Wario Land: Shake It! , but nothing like what went on in the 8- and 16-bit eras.

Even so, platforming games are still my favorite types of games. Why? I have many answers to that question...

I love how platformers flow. I love the genius level design that top-notch developers think of. I'll always have a place in my game-loving hearts for all those different types of games that require you to solve puzzles (like the Legend of Zelda series), but I love how there's not a lot of puzzles in platforming games. You usually know or have a general idea of your goal and the challenge is to get there. For example in most sidescrolling games, you know you have to get to the end, which is generally the left, so you've gotta fight and jump your way there. I like this a lot better than figuring out complex puzzles, though those are great too, just not as great.

Also, since platformers are one of the oldest genres out there (besides Pong and Shmups), there's been so much work and experience done that most games today are pretty damn good. Since they've been around that long mistakes have been made and the industry learns. Todays newest genres, like music/rhythm games, don't have those years to look back on. Though I may be a "young'un" when it comes to video games, as I didn't start my love/hobby with them until somewhat recently, I've been playing a lot of the classics as of late, and newer ones too, and I can see the polish that's come with many years in the industry.

Another reason is that I like the simple control schemes of platformers. Generally speaking, platformers usually have analog/D-pad control, a jump button, and maybe one or two more buttons, such as an attack command. You don't need five button combos or the need to memorize multiple face and trigger buttons. Take Super Mario Bros. for example, one of the highest regarded games ever. All the control you had over little Mario was mapped to two buttons (run and jump) and the D-pad. That didn't hurt it one bit. Many game enthusiasts consider it the best video game ever.

All in all, I don't really like to judge a game just by what it plays like. I'll enjoy any rhythm, action, shooting, or party game you have. But when it comes down to pure fun, platformers are where it's at for me.

Comments or questions? Drop an email to or leave a comment below...

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, I'm hesitant to agree completely about platformers, but I do enjoy them heartily. And while FPS's and Sports game DO dominate the industry, they don't dominate the cultural writings on video games, nor do they dominate the truly great games being made by Indie Developers.