Platform Video Games – Fast Regaining Their Popularity
A platformer is a video game wherein the gameplay keeps revolving intensely around players governing a character who keeps running and jumping on platforms, ledges, stairs, floors or other objects portrayed on a single or scrolling (vertical or horizontal) game screen. A platformer is usually categorized as a sub-genre of action games.
The latest example of an excellent platformer is Red Wizard Island, a wizardy platformer! This is a platforming video game. People that subscribe to the newsletter will receive news on Steam publishing and beta testing keys.
It was in the early 1980s that the first platform games were developed when it was one of the earliest video game genres to be present, but the term platformer or platform game was not in use till many years later to describe the games.
According to some game historians, the 1980 Space Panic was the first true platformer while according to some others the 1981 Donkey Kong of Nintendo was the first one. Thus, while there is a debate about which game was actually the first platformer, it’s a fact that the early classics like Space Panic, Donkey Kong and Mario Bros were very powerful and played an important role in shaping the genre.
Besides being one of the first and most popular video game genres, platform game is also one of the genres that combine elements from other genres such as character abilities and leveling that are seen in role playing games. You can see several other examples where platform games contain elements from other genres.
Single Screen Platformers
As the name suggests, single screen platformers are played on a single game screen and often contain hurdles the player has to avoid and an objective s/he should achieve.
The best example of this type of platformer is Donkey Kong, wherein Mario goes up and down steel platforms skipping and hopping over barrels being thrown at him.
Once the single screen’s objective is achieved, the player stays on the same screen or moves to a different screen, but in either way, the object for that next screen becomes more challenging.
Side and Vertical Scrolling Platformers
These are characterized by their scrolling game screen and background that keeps moving along as the player goes towards one side of the game screen. Several of these scrolling platformers can also typically contain multiple levels. Players will keep traveling across the screen defeating enemies, collecting items and completing objectives till the level is complete.
Once a level is complete, the players will move to the next, often more difficult level and continue playing. Several of these platform games also have every level ending in a boss fight. Players must defeat these bosses before reaching the next level or screen.
Decline and Resurgence
As there is a great advancement in graphics and complexity in general in video games, the popularity of platform games has lowered significantly since the late 1990s. According to an observation, platform games account only for a 2% share of the video game market while they made up over 15% share of the market when they were at peak.
However, in more recent years there has been a resurgence in the popularity of platformers. This is largely due to lately released platform games, but primarily due to mobile phones. E.g. Red Wizard Island, a wizardy platformer mentioned above, still in its beta is fast getting popular.
Besides the several freeware platform games designed for PC, there has been a resurgence of platform genre on mobile devices like iPhones, Android phones, iPads and other phones/tablets.
Do you too enjoy platform games? If you do, don’t forget to let us know and also about why you like them. Happy gaming!