What Makes a Game a Platformer? A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the world of platformers! These games have been a staple of the gaming industry for decades, captivating players with their fast-paced action, challenging obstacles, and beloved characters. But what exactly makes a game a platformer? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the key elements that define this iconic genre, from its rich history to the unique gameplay mechanics that set it apart from other types of games. So grab your running shoes and get ready to jump into the world of platformers!

What is a Platformer Game?

Definition and Origins

A platformer game is a genre of video games that is characterized by the player navigating a character through a series of obstacles and enemies, often with the goal of reaching a specific destination. These games are known for their emphasis on precise controls, timing, and skill, as well as their often challenging difficulty.

The origins of platformer games can be traced back to the early days of video games, with some of the first examples of the genre being created in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These early games were often simple affairs, with players controlling characters that could jump and move left and right across a series of platforms. As technology improved and game design became more sophisticated, platformer games evolved to include more complex mechanics, such as the ability to shoot enemies, use special abilities, and explore branching levels.

One of the most influential early platformer games was the 1983 game “Jumpman” created by Nintendo. This game featured a character that could jump and climb up a series of platforms, and was later re-released as “Super Mario Bros.” in 1985, which became one of the most iconic and beloved platformer games of all time. Since then, the platformer genre has continued to evolve and expand, with new games and franchises being created all the time.

Key Characteristics

A platformer game is a genre of video games that emphasizes character movement and platforming, which refers to navigating and interacting with various obstacles and enemies in a two-dimensional environment. These games often involve running, jumping, and climbing, and the player’s character may have special abilities or weapons to help them overcome challenges. Here are some key characteristics that define a platformer game:

  • 2D environment: Platformer games take place in a two-dimensional world, with the player character moving left, right, up, and down across platforms, ledges, and obstacles.
  • Jumping and climbing: Jumping and climbing are essential mechanics in platformer games, allowing the player character to overcome obstacles, navigate gaps, and reach hidden areas.
  • Obstacles and enemies: Platformer games feature various obstacles and enemies that the player character must avoid or defeat. These can include pits, spikes, bottomless drops, traps, and enemies with unique behaviors and attack patterns.
  • Precision movements: Successful platforming often requires precise movements and timing, as the player character must jump, climb, and move through the environment with exact timing and spacing to avoid hazards and defeat enemies.
  • Power-ups and collectibles: Many platformer games feature power-ups and collectibles that enhance the player character’s abilities or reward the player with bonuses, such as extra lives or additional points.
  • Challenging level design: Platformer games often have challenging level design, with intricate layouts, tricky obstacles, and hidden paths that require careful exploration and precise movement.
  • Simple controls: Despite their complexity, platformer games often have simple controls, with only a few buttons required to move, jump, and interact with the environment. This simplicity allows players to focus on mastering the challenges of the game.
  • Variety of settings and themes: Platformer games can take place in a wide variety of settings and themes, from fantasy worlds to sci-fi futures, and from ancient civilizations to modern cities. The choice of setting can influence the gameplay, with different obstacles, enemies, and environments to overcome.
  • Sense of progression: Platformer games often have a sense of progression, with new abilities, weapons, or upgrades unlocked as the player character advances through the game. This sense of progression encourages players to continue playing and improving their skills.

These key characteristics define the platformer game genre and set it apart from other types of video games. By emphasizing character movement and platforming, platformer games offer a unique and engaging gameplay experience that has captured the hearts of gamers for decades.

Platformer vs. Other Genres

A platformer game is a genre of video games that emphasizes character movement and dexterity. The player must control a character who moves through various obstacles, often by jumping, running, or climbing. Platformers often feature complex levels with multiple paths, hidden secrets, and challenging enemies.

While platformers share some similarities with other genres, there are key differences that set them apart. Here are some of the most important distinctions between platformers and other game genres:

  • Character Movement: The primary gameplay mechanic in platformers is character movement. Players must control their character’s movements in order to navigate the game’s environment. This can include running, jumping, climbing, and other acrobatic maneuvers. Other genres may also involve character movement, but it is typically less complex and central to the gameplay.
  • Precision: Platformers require precise timing and spacing in order to succeed. Players must time their jumps and movements perfectly in order to avoid obstacles and defeat enemies. Other genres may also require precision, but it is typically less critical to the overall gameplay.
  • Level Design: Platformers often feature complex levels with multiple paths, hidden secrets, and challenging obstacles. The levels are designed to test the player’s skills and encourage exploration. Other genres may also have levels, but they are typically less complex and less focused on exploration.
  • Story: While some platformers have a story, they are typically not as emphasized as in other genres. Platformers tend to focus more on gameplay mechanics and level design than on narrative. Other genres, such as RPGs or adventure games, tend to place more emphasis on story and character development.

Overall, while platformers share some similarities with other genres, they are defined by their emphasis on character movement, precision, level design, and gameplay mechanics. By understanding these key differences, players can better appreciate the unique qualities of platformer games and enjoy them to their fullest potential.

Understanding Platformer Mechanics

Key takeaway: Platformer games are a genre of video games that emphasize character movement and dexterity. These games typically feature 2D environments, precise movements, and challenging level design. Power-ups and upgrades are also a common feature in platformer games, providing players with enhanced abilities or temporary advantages. Platformer games have evolved over time, with modern trends including a focus on storytelling, procedural generation, cross-platform compatibility, and virtual and augmented reality integration. The genre’s popularity can be attributed to its accessibility, casual play style, challenging gameplay, and sense of progression and growth. With a promising future for the genre, platformer games are set to continue pushing the boundaries of gaming technology and innovating with new gameplay mechanics and storytelling techniques.

Movement and Jumping

Platformers are known for their fast-paced, high-intensity gameplay that requires precise timing and spacing. One of the core mechanics of platformers is the ability to move and jump. This section will delve into the specifics of movement and jumping in platformers, exploring how they contribute to the genre’s distinct gameplay.


Movement in platformers is typically based on a few simple mechanics, such as running, jumping, and climbing. These mechanics are often mapped to buttons on a controller, making them easy to execute in the heat of gameplay. The player character’s movement speed and responsiveness are also crucial factors, as they determine how quickly the character can react to changing situations and obstacles.

In some platformers, movement also includes the ability to double jump or perform other special jumps, adding complexity and depth to the gameplay. Additionally, certain platformers may introduce additional movement mechanics, such as gliding or sliding, which add new layers of complexity and strategy to the gameplay.


Jumping is perhaps the most iconic mechanic of platformers, and it is essential to the genre’s success. The ability to jump allows the player character to navigate obstacles, reach new areas, and defeat enemies. Jumping in platformers is often based on precise timing and spacing, requiring players to time their jumps carefully to avoid obstacles and land safely.

Platformers also often include various types of jumps, such as a simple jump, a jump with a mid-air direction change, or a high jump with a longer airborne time. The ability to chain jumps together, or perform special jumps like a double jump or a wall jump, adds complexity and depth to the gameplay.

Additionally, some platformers introduce unique jumping mechanics, such as the ability to jump on top of enemies or to perform a “ground pound,” where the player character jumps on top of an enemy or the ground, causing damage or triggering a special effect. These unique jumping mechanics add new layers of strategy and complexity to the gameplay, making platformers even more engaging and challenging.

In conclusion, movement and jumping are crucial mechanics in platformers, and they contribute significantly to the genre’s fast-paced, high-intensity gameplay. The ability to move and jump allows players to navigate obstacles, reach new areas, and defeat enemies, while the precise timing and spacing required for jumping adds an extra layer of challenge and skill to the gameplay. Understanding the role of movement and jumping in platformers is essential for both developers and players alike, as it forms the foundation of the genre’s distinct gameplay.

Obstacles and Enemies

Platformers are characterized by their obstacles and enemies, which challenge the player’s ability to navigate the game world. These obstacles and enemies come in a variety of forms, each with their own unique characteristics and mechanics.

Types of Obstacles

Obstacles in platformers can be physical or environmental, and they are designed to hinder the player’s progress. Examples of physical obstacles include pits, spikes, and bottomless pits, while environmental obstacles include platforms that disappear or change position, and hazards such as lava or water.

Types of Enemies

Enemies in platformers are typically characterized by their aggression towards the player, and they are designed to be defeated or avoided. Examples of enemies include creatures, robots, and animals, each with their own unique abilities and behaviors.

Overcoming Obstacles and Defeating Enemies

Overcoming obstacles and defeating enemies is a key aspect of platformers, and it often requires careful timing, precision, and strategy. Players must learn how to jump, run, and slide to avoid obstacles, and they must learn how to attack and defend against enemies.

Progression and Difficulty

As players progress through a platformer, the obstacles and enemies become increasingly challenging, requiring the player to master new skills and strategies. This progression is often accompanied by an increase in difficulty, with more complex obstacles and enemies appearing as the player advances through the game.

Role of Obstacles and Enemies in Platformers

Obstacles and enemies play a crucial role in platformers, providing a sense of challenge and accomplishment as the player overcomes them. They also add an element of excitement and tension to the game, keeping players engaged and motivated to continue playing.

Power-ups and Upgrades

Power-ups and upgrades are integral components of platformer games that provide players with enhanced abilities or temporary advantages to aid in navigating the game’s levels. These features are designed to make the game more engaging and offer new challenges to experienced players.

Types of Power-ups and Upgrades

  1. Health Upgrades: These enhance the player’s health meter, allowing them to sustain more damage before losing a life. This can include extra health pickups or permanent health upgrades after defeating a boss.
  2. Offensive Upgrades: These give the player character offensive capabilities, such as additional weapons, ranged attacks, or enhanced combat abilities. This allows players to engage enemies more effectively and add variety to combat encounters.
  3. Defensive Upgrades: These enhance the player’s defensive capabilities, such as increased invincibility frames, faster movement speed, or temporary shields. These upgrades help players navigate difficult platforming sections or survive tough enemy encounters.
  4. Mobility Upgrades: These provide the player with additional movement options, such as double jump ability, wall jumping, or increased jump height. These upgrades enhance the player’s exploration capabilities and enable them to access previously inaccessible areas.
  5. Special Abilities: These grant the player unique abilities or powers, such as super strength, time manipulation, or elemental abilities. These upgrades can significantly change the gameplay experience and provide players with fresh challenges.

Uses of Power-ups and Upgrades

  1. Encouraging Exploration: Power-ups and upgrades can encourage players to explore different areas of the game world, as they may contain hidden pickups or areas that can only be accessed with specific abilities.
  2. Replayability: By offering a variety of power-ups and upgrades, platformer games can be replayed multiple times, as players may choose different combinations of upgrades to explore different aspects of the game.
  3. Progression and Difficulty: Power-ups and upgrades can be used to manage the game’s difficulty, as players can gradually acquire new abilities that make the game easier or more challenging.
  4. Variety and Replayability: Offering diverse power-ups and upgrades adds variety to the gameplay experience, making the game more engaging for players who have completed the game once and wish to replay it.

In conclusion, power-ups and upgrades are essential components of platformer games, providing players with enhanced abilities and temporary advantages. By offering a variety of power-ups and upgrades, platformer games can encourage exploration, manage difficulty, and add replayability to the gameplay experience.

The Evolution of Platformer Games

Early Classics

In the early days of gaming, platformer games were among the most popular and beloved genres. These early classics laid the foundation for the platformer genre, introducing the core mechanics and gameplay elements that would come to define the genre. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of the earliest and most influential platformer games.

Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Super Mario Bros. is often considered the quintessential platformer game. Released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it quickly became a worldwide phenomenon and has since spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. The game follows the adventures of Mario and Luigi, two plumbers who must save the Princess from the clutches of the evil Bowser.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog was a direct response to the success of Super Mario Bros. The game introduced a new protagonist, Sonic the Hedgehog, who could run at high speeds and perform acrobatic maneuvers. Sonic’s speed and agility made the gameplay more dynamic and challenging, and the game quickly became a classic in its own right.

Donkey Kong (1981)

While not a platformer in the traditional sense, Donkey Kong, released in 1981 for the original Nintendo consoles, is an important game in the evolution of the platformer genre. The game introduced the character of Jumpman (later renamed Mario), who would go on to become one of the most iconic video game characters of all time. The gameplay involved guiding Jumpman across a series of platforms while avoiding obstacles and defeating enemies.

Pitfall! (1982)

Pitfall! was released in 1982 for various home computers and consoles and is often credited as one of the first true platformer games. The game starred Pitfall Harry, who had to navigate a series of treacherous jungle environments while avoiding dangerous creatures and obstacles. The game was notable for its innovative use of scale and depth, allowing players to explore a large, interconnected world.

These early classics set the stage for the platformer genre, introducing key gameplay mechanics such as jumping, running, and exploration. They also demonstrated the potential for innovation and creativity within the genre, inspiring countless developers to create their own unique platformer experiences.

Modern Trends

Emphasis on Storytelling

In recent years, platformer games have shifted their focus from simple gameplay to incorporating more engaging narratives. This trend has led to the development of story-driven platformers that combine platforming mechanics with a rich and immersive storyline. These games often feature well-developed characters, intricate plotlines, and sophisticated dialogue systems that allow players to engage with the story in new and exciting ways.

Procedural Generation

Another modern trend in platformer games is the use of procedural generation. This technique involves generating levels, enemies, and obstacles on the fly, providing players with unique experiences each time they play. This adds a level of replayability to platformer games, making them more appealing to players who enjoy a challenge and a sense of discovery.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

With the rise of digital distribution platforms and cloud gaming services, platformer games have become more accessible than ever before. Many modern platformer games are designed to be cross-platform compatible, allowing players on different devices and operating systems to play together seamlessly. This has helped to expand the player base of platformer games and has opened up new opportunities for developers to reach a wider audience.

Indie Developers

In recent years, indie developers have made a significant impact on the platformer game genre. These developers often have more creative freedom and are able to experiment with new mechanics and designs, leading to a diverse range of unique platformer games. Indie developers have also embraced digital distribution platforms, allowing them to reach a global audience without the need for traditional publishing channels.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Finally, the rise of virtual and augmented reality technology has opened up new possibilities for platformer games. Developers are exploring new ways to incorporate platforming mechanics into VR and AR experiences, creating immersive and interactive worlds that allow players to explore and navigate in new and exciting ways. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the platformer game genre, offering players an unparalleled level of immersion and interactivity.

Future Developments

The future of platformer games is likely to see continued innovation and evolution. One potential direction for the genre is the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. VR offers the potential for players to immerse themselves in a more realistic and interactive game world, providing a more engaging and engaging experience.

Another potential direction for platformer games is the integration of more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems. This could lead to more sophisticated and challenging opponents for players to overcome, as well as more dynamic and responsive game worlds.

The use of more advanced physics engines could also play a role in the future development of platformer games. This could allow for more realistic and challenging environmental obstacles for players to navigate, as well as more realistic and dynamic interactions between the player character and the game world.

Finally, the increasing popularity of mobile gaming could lead to a greater focus on developing platformer games for mobile devices. This could result in new innovations in touch-based controls and user interface design, as well as new gameplay mechanics and challenges tailored to the unique capabilities of mobile devices.

Overall, the future of platformer games looks bright, with a range of exciting developments on the horizon. As the genre continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies and player preferences, it is likely to remain a beloved and enduring fixture of the gaming world.

Playing and Enjoying Platformer Games

Tips for Success

To succeed in platformer games, players must master certain skills and strategies. Here are some tips to help players improve their performance and enjoy the game to the fullest:

  1. Master the Controls: The controls are the foundation of any platformer game. Players must learn how to move their character, jump, and perform other actions with precision and accuracy. Practice makes perfect, so spend some time getting familiar with the controls before diving into the game.
  2. Time Your Jumps: Timing is crucial in platformer games. Players must learn to time their jumps perfectly to avoid obstacles, pitfalls, and enemies. It may take some practice, but with time, players will develop a sense of timing that will help them navigate the game with ease.
  3. Learn from Mistakes: Failure is a natural part of learning in platformer games. Players will make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them. Each failure is an opportunity to improve, so take note of what went wrong and use that knowledge to improve future playthroughs.
  4. Explore and Experiment: Platformer games often have hidden secrets, power-ups, and other surprises that players can discover by exploring and experimenting. Take the time to explore the game world and try out different strategies to discover what works best.
  5. Patience is a Virtue: Platformer games can be challenging, and it’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. However, patience is a key ingredient for success. Take a deep breath, focus on the task at hand, and keep moving forward. With persistence and determination, players can overcome even the toughest obstacles.

By following these tips, players can improve their performance in platformer games and enjoy the experience to the fullest. Whether it’s a classic side-scrolling game or a modern platformer, with practice and patience, anyone can become a skilled player.

Popular Platformer Games to Try

There are many platformer games available that offer hours of fun and excitement for players of all ages. Here are some popular platformer games that you can try:

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. is a classic platformer game that was first released in 1985. The game follows the adventures of Mario and Luigi as they navigate through various levels, collecting coins and power-ups while avoiding obstacles and enemies. The game is known for its iconic music, colorful graphics, and challenging gameplay.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is a platformer game that was first released in 1991. The game follows the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog as he races through levels, collecting rings and defeating enemies. The game is known for its fast-paced gameplay, colorful graphics, and catchy music.


Minecraft is a popular platformer game that was first released in 2011. The game allows players to build and explore a blocky 3D world, collecting resources and crafting tools while avoiding monsters and other dangers. The game is known for its open-ended gameplay, creative building mechanics, and sandbox-style gameplay.

Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends is a platformer game that was first released in 2013. The game follows the adventures of Rayman and his friends as they navigate through various levels, collecting Lums and defeating enemies. The game is known for its colorful graphics, catchy music, and challenging gameplay.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country is a platformer game that was first released in 1994. The game follows the adventures of Donkey Kong and his friends as they navigate through various levels, collecting bananas and defeating enemies. The game is known for its challenging gameplay, colorful graphics, and catchy music.

These are just a few examples of popular platformer games that you can try. Whether you prefer classic games or more modern titles, there is a platformer game out there for everyone.

Joining the Community

Joining a platformer game community can be a great way to enhance your gaming experience. By connecting with other players, you can share tips and strategies, compete in challenges, and even collaborate on creative projects. Here are some ways to join a platformer game community:

  1. Online Forums: Many online forums, such as Reddit and Discord, have dedicated platforms for discussing platformer games. These forums offer a wealth of information, from game walkthroughs to player-generated content. By joining these forums, you can connect with other players and expand your knowledge of the game.
  2. Social Media: Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, are great places to connect with other platformer game enthusiasts. You can follow game developers, streamers, and influencers to stay up-to-date on the latest platformer game news and trends. You can also join platformer game-specific groups or hashtags to connect with other players.
  3. Gaming Conventions: Attending gaming conventions, such as PAX and GDC, is a great way to connect with other platformer game enthusiasts in person. These conventions often feature platformer game-specific panels and events, where you can meet other players and developers, and learn more about the game.
  4. Twitch Streaming: Twitch streaming is a popular way to connect with other platformer game enthusiasts. Many platformer game streamers offer live gameplay, tips, and commentary, and you can interact with them and other viewers in real-time.

By joining a platformer game community, you can expand your knowledge of the game, connect with other players, and enhance your overall gaming experience. Whether you prefer online forums, social media, gaming conventions, or Twitch streaming, there are many ways to join a platformer game community and become a part of the platformer game community.

The Appeal of Platformer Games

Retro Nostalgia

The allure of platformer games can be attributed to several factors, one of which is the sense of nostalgia that they evoke. For many gamers, platformer games are reminiscent of their childhood and bring back fond memories of hours spent playing classic games like Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Donkey Kong. This nostalgia factor plays a significant role in driving the popularity of platformer games, as players often return to these titles to relive past experiences and share them with younger generations.

Moreover, the retro nature of platformer games provides a unique and charming experience that sets them apart from modern games. The simplicity of the graphics, the catchy soundtracks, and the challenging gameplay mechanics all contribute to the retro charm of these games. Many developers have capitalized on this trend by creating modern platformer games that pay homage to the classics, incorporating elements from iconic titles while still offering fresh and innovative gameplay mechanics.

The popularity of retro platformer games has also led to the development of new genres and sub-genres, such as retro-inspired platformers, metroidvania-style platformers, and roguelike platformers. These games often blend classic platformer gameplay with new mechanics and features, creating a unique and engaging experience for players. Additionally, the availability of these games on modern platforms, such as mobile devices and consoles, has made it easier for gamers to access and enjoy retro-inspired platformers.

Overall, the retro nostalgia associated with platformer games plays a significant role in their appeal, as it offers players a chance to relive fond memories and experience the charm of classic games. This nostalgia factor has not only contributed to the continued popularity of platformer games but has also inspired developers to create new and innovative titles that pay homage to the classics while still offering fresh and exciting gameplay experiences.

Accessibility and Casual Play

One of the key reasons why platformer games have remained popular over the years is their accessibility and casual play style. These games are designed to be easy to pick up and play, making them ideal for players of all ages and skill levels. Here are some of the ways in which platformer games are accessible and casual:

  • Simple controls: Platformer games typically have simple controls that are easy to learn. Players can typically move their character with the arrow keys or WASD keys, and jump or attack with a button. This simplicity makes it easy for players to get started, even if they have never played a video game before.
  • Short levels: Platformer games often have short levels that can be completed in a matter of minutes. This makes it easy for players to pick up and play the game for a few minutes at a time, making it an ideal choice for players who have busy schedules or limited gaming time.
  • Forgiving gameplay: Platformer games are often designed to be forgiving, with generous checkpoints and multiple lives. This means that even if a player dies, they can easily start back at the beginning of the level, with no loss of progress. This makes it easy for players to enjoy the game without getting frustrated or discouraged.
  • Casual play style: Platformer games are often designed to be casual, with a focus on fun and enjoyment rather than competition or challenge. This makes them ideal for players who are looking for a relaxing and enjoyable gaming experience, rather than a stressful or challenging one.

Overall, the accessibility and casual play style of platformer games make them an ideal choice for players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or a newcomer to the world of video games, platformer games are a great choice for anyone looking for a fun and enjoyable gaming experience.

Skill and Mastery

One of the primary appeals of platformer games is the opportunity for players to hone their skills and achieve mastery over the game’s mechanics. In a platformer, players must navigate a character or avatar through various obstacles, challenges, and enemies by executing precise movements and timing. The process of improving one’s abilities and conquering increasingly difficult levels provides a sense of accomplishment and progression.

Challenging Gameplay

Platformer games often feature challenging gameplay that requires both dexterity and strategy. Players must master the timing and spacing of jumps, maneuver through treacherous environments, and employ special abilities or weapons to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies. This demanding gameplay adds an element of excitement and challenge to the game, encouraging players to continually improve their skills and push themselves to new heights.

Feedback and Iteration

Another aspect that contributes to the appeal of platformer games is the feedback players receive during gameplay. As players attempt to navigate through levels, they receive feedback on their performance through scoring systems, checkpoints, and the occasional fail state. This feedback helps players identify areas where they need improvement and encourages them to iterate on their strategies and techniques to overcome obstacles and improve their scores.

Progression and Growth

Platformer games often offer a sense of progression and growth as players progress through the game’s levels and challenges. As players hone their skills and overcome obstacles, they gain access to new abilities, weapons, or power-ups that allow them to access previously inaccessible areas or defeat more challenging enemies. This sense of progression and growth encourages players to continue playing and striving to master the game’s mechanics.

In summary, the appeal of platformer games lies in the opportunity for players to hone their skills, conquer challenging obstacles, and achieve a sense of mastery over the game’s mechanics. By offering feedback, challenging gameplay, and a sense of progression, platformer games provide an engaging and rewarding experience for players of all skill levels.

The Enduring Legacy of Platformer Games

The platformer genre has a unique and enduring legacy in the world of video games. For decades, these games have captivated players with their blend of action, puzzles, and exploration. This section will delve into the reasons behind the lasting appeal of platformer games, exploring the factors that have contributed to their enduring legacy.

One of the primary reasons for the continued popularity of platformer games is their accessibility. These games are often designed with simple controls and intuitive gameplay, making them easy to pick up and play for players of all ages and skill levels. This accessibility has helped platformer games remain relevant across generations, as they can be enjoyed by both casual and experienced gamers alike.

Another factor contributing to the enduring legacy of platformer games is their innovative gameplay mechanics. Many early platformer games introduced groundbreaking concepts that have since become staples of the genre, such as the ability to jump and perform various actions in mid-air. These mechanics have continued to evolve over time, with developers introducing new features and techniques to keep the gameplay fresh and engaging.

The platformer genre has also been greatly influenced by its iconic characters and franchises. Characters like Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Crash Bandicoot have become cultural icons, appearing in numerous games, TV shows, and movies. These characters and their respective worlds have become synonymous with the platformer genre, and their popularity has helped sustain the legacy of these games.

Moreover, platformer games often offer a sense of progression and accomplishment as players complete levels, overcome challenges, and unlock new abilities. This sense of achievement is a key component of the genre’s appeal, as it drives players to continue exploring and improving their skills.

Finally, the platformer genre has also been shaped by its rich history and evolution. As the technology and creativity behind video games have advanced, platformer games have continued to evolve and expand their scope. Today, the genre encompasses a wide variety of subgenres, from classic 2D side-scrollers to modern 3D platformers, each offering unique gameplay experiences and challenges.

In summary, the enduring legacy of platformer games can be attributed to their accessibility, innovative gameplay mechanics, iconic characters and franchises, sense of progression and accomplishment, and rich history and evolution. These factors have contributed to the continued popularity of platformer games, ensuring that they remain a beloved and essential part of the video game landscape.

A Promising Future for the Genre

  • The continued success of platformer games in the modern gaming industry
    • The enduring popularity of classic platformer franchises, such as Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog
    • The emergence of new and innovative platformer games, such as Celeste and Ori and the Blind Forest
  • The influence of platformer games on other genres and mediums
    • The inspiration that platformer games have provided for other types of games, such as Metroidvania-style games and physics-based puzzle games
    • The impact that platformer games have had on the animation and film industries, with influences seen in movies such as Disney’s “Moana” and “Zootopia”
  • The growing interest in retro-style platformer games
    • The rise of indie developers creating retro-inspired platformer games, such as Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge
    • The success of Kickstarter campaigns for retro-style platformer games, such as Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and Cyber Shadow
  • The potential for platformer games to continue to push the boundaries of gaming technology
    • The use of virtual reality and augmented reality in platformer games, such as Super Mario Odyssey and Moss
    • The incorporation of more realistic physics and environmental simulations in platformer games, such as Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • The ongoing evolution of platformer games in response to changing player preferences and expectations
    • The incorporation of accessibility features, such as adjustable difficulty settings and subtitles, in platformer games
    • The inclusion of more diverse and inclusive characters and settings in platformer games, such as the inclusive cast of Overcooked! and the representation of non-binary characters in Hollow Knight
  • The potential for platformer games to continue to innovate and experiment with new gameplay mechanics and storytelling techniques
    • The exploration of non-linear gameplay and open-world design in platformer games, such as LittleBigPlanet and Rayman Legends
    • The incorporation of emotional and narrative depth in platformer games, such as Inside and Limbo
  • The overall optimism for the future of platformer games, with a continued interest and investment from both players and developers
    • The excitement surrounding upcoming platformer games, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Astro’s Playroom
    • The ongoing support and updates for existing platformer games, such as Minecraft and Celeste
    • The continued interest and investment from developers, with new platformer games being announced and released on a regular basis
    • The potential for platformer games to continue to be a driving force in the gaming industry, with a dedicated and passionate fanbase that continues to grow and evolve.

Recommended Resources for Further Exploration

Platformer Games as a Popular Genre

Platformer games have remained a popular genre for decades, with new titles and remastered classics continually released. This longevity can be attributed to their accessibility, simple controls, and the ability to appeal to players of all ages. Some popular platformer games include Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Rayman.

Online Platformer Communities

There are numerous online communities dedicated to platformer games, offering forums, wikis, and discussion boards for fans to share tips, strategies, and recommendations. These communities also often host events and tournaments, fostering a sense of camaraderie among players. Examples of such communities include Reddit’s r/gaming and the Speedrun.com platformer community.

Platformer Games in Education and Therapy

Platformer games have also found their way into educational and therapeutic settings. Some games, such as Minecraft and Portal, have been used to teach programming, spatial reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Others, like Endless Ocean and Katana ZERO, have been used to help individuals with anxiety or depression by providing relaxing and calming environments.

YouTube and Twitch Platformer Content Creators

YouTube and Twitch have become hubs for platformer game content creators, with numerous channels and streams dedicated to walking through levels, sharing glitches and secrets, and discussing the history of the genre. Creators like PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Lgriffiths119 have amassed large followings by showcasing their passion for platformer games and engaging with their audience.

Documentaries and Retrospectives

Documentaries and retrospectives on platformer games have become increasingly popular, offering a deeper look into the history, design, and cultural impact of these games. Examples include the documentary series “The Art of Game Design” by Extra Credits and the PBS documentary “Super Mario Bros.: How Nintendo Conquered America.”

By exploring these recommended resources, players and enthusiasts can further immerse themselves in the world of platformer games, discovering new titles, uncovering hidden gems, and appreciating the lasting appeal of this beloved genre.


1. What is a platformer game?

A platformer game is a type of video game where the player controls a character that runs, jumps, and interacts with a two-dimensional environment. The goal of the game is usually to navigate through obstacles, enemies, and other challenges to reach the end of the level or complete a specific objective.

2. What are the key features of a platformer game?

The key features of a platformer game include a focus on precise jumping and movement mechanics, a two-dimensional environment, and a variety of obstacles and enemies that the player must overcome. Other common features include power-ups, collectibles, and a variety of levels or worlds to explore.

3. What are some examples of popular platformer games?

Some examples of popular platformer games include Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, and Rayman. These games have been critically acclaimed for their innovative gameplay, memorable characters, and engaging worlds.

4. What makes a game a platformer, as opposed to another type of game?

A game is considered a platformer if it focuses on precise jumping and movement mechanics, takes place in a two-dimensional environment, and features obstacles and enemies that the player must overcome. While there may be some overlap with other genres, such as action or adventure games, the core mechanics of a platformer set it apart from other types of games.

5. How has the platformer genre evolved over time?

The platformer genre has evolved significantly since its inception in the late 1980s. Early platformers were often simple affairs with basic mechanics and limited graphics. However, as technology has advanced, platformers have become more complex, with intricate level designs, advanced animation and graphics, and more varied gameplay mechanics. Additionally, platformers have branched out into different sub-genres, such as metroidvania-style games, which emphasize exploration and discovery, and runner-style games, which focus on fast-paced action and timing.

What Makes a Good Platformer?

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