3 Compelling Reasons Why Platformers Continue to Thrive
Platformers, like the ever-popular franchises Mario and Crash Bandicoot, are among the oldest and most-loved franchises out there to date. Back in the day, they were the main staples due to them being rather simple to make, and well, if you owned a SNES or a PS1, you likely had them both.
However, time went on, and games evolved. First-person shooters came into the fray, as well as open-world RPGs and simulation titles that let you live a virtual life. Despite this, platformers continue to thrive today, spawning new games that provide new gameplay concepts and mechanics. Why? Well, let’s take a good long look at some of the most notable reasons:
They’re the first games and people continue to play them
In the case of millennials, particularly those born in the early 90s and late 80s, their first-ever experience with a video game was with a platformer. This game is almost always Super Mario Bros 1 and 2, or Super Mario World on the SNES. You could also add in Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man 4. Despite the entry of newer genres and a plethora of different games out there, older players still dive into platformers. After all, it is what brought them to the gaming world: they won’t find these kinds of titles old and unappealing while continuing to play them.
They’re both simple and difficult
Platformers strike the delicate balance between ease and difficulty. As its name suggests, its gameplay revolves around jumping and navigating through various platforms, avoiding obstacles, and taking down beatable enemies. This is relatively straightforward, but when coupled with external factors, things can get rather challenging.
With that said, this means there are certainly platformers for just about any type of player. For example, Dragon Kong is at the bottom of the difficulty pole, making it a chill and casual experience for anyone wants to breeze through a game. However, titles like Celeste are quite daunting, making them a better fit for more experienced players.
Infinite creativity, spawning new genres
Platformers have grown and changed over the years, spawning new subgenres and different types of games. Due to the ingenuity of various developers, we’ve seen run ‘n’ gun types, metroidvania, and 3D ones.
Run ‘n’ gun games like Cuphead and Metal Slug deserve accolades, especially the former due to its early 20th-century animation aesthetics. Metroidvania (a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania) games, like its two namesakes and Hollow Knight, provide adventures that are nothing short of incredible. We’ve also seen the likes of 3D platformers like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Galaxy, as well as Spyro and Jak and Daxter.
These new genres will continue to rake in new players and infuse new concepts into platformers in general, breathing new life and sustaining it for future players.
So, what do you think? Do you believe platformers will continue to thrive in the future and continue branching out into new genres? Here’s to hoping it will and that we’ll see new games, especially on mobile, in the future.