At first, platformers took place on a single screen, where the player would have to overcome certain obstacles. With the advent of Super Mario Bros., the 2D platform games began to introduce scrolling levels, where the players scrolled left to right, with the playable character viewed from a side angle. The character climbs up and down ladders or jumps from platform to platform, fighting enemies, and often has the ability to gain powers or weapons. Later on, the term came to describe games where jumping on platforms, as opposed to shooting, was the main gameplay focus. These include games like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country. However, many platform games feature projectile weapons, including the Mario and Castlevania franchises.
Platform games are one of the most well-known types of video game outside the gaming community, which could be the reason games based on movies, television shows, and comic books tend to be of the platform variety.
Chronology of significant platform games
- Space Panic (Universal, 1980)
- Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981) - first game featuring Mario (although named Jumpman at the time)
- Pitfall! (Activision, 1982)
- Miner 2049er (Big Five Software, 1982)
- Manic Miner (Bug-Byte, 1983)
- Chuckie Egg (A'n'F, 1983)
- Monty on the Run (Gremlin Graphics, 1985) - ZX Spectrum & CBM 64 classic
- Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo, 1985) - perhaps most widely known platformer; best-selling game of all time
- Ghosts 'n Goblins 1985 is an arcade based series similar to Castlevania series.
- Mega Man (Rockman) (Capcom, 1987)
- Haunted Castle (Konami, 1988) - predecessor of the Castlevania series
- Captain Comic (Michael Denio, 1988) - possibly first IBM PC platformer
- Prince of Persia (Brøderbund, 1989)
- Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo, 1990) - highest grossing console game before Pokémon
- Commander Keen (id Software, 1990) - first major IBM PC platformer
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega, 1991) - first platformer widely considered to be a rival to Mario series
- Earthworm Jim (Shiny Entertainment, 1994)
- Donkey Kong Country (Rareware, 1994) - featured revolutionary computer generated graphics
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