The Nintendo 64 and original Playstation are known for having many 3D platformers, ushering in a change in gaming which saw many franchises move from 2D to 3D. 3D Platformers continued as one of the dominant genres through the 5th and 6th console generations until the First Person Shooter eclipsed it mid way through the 6th generation, at which point there was a steep decline. Super Mario 64 is considered by many to be the game that revolutionized 3D platformers, and encouraged the move for many to 3D though it was not the first. Before the 3D platformer was truly realised, there was a minor flirtation with isometric platformers, which to this day has remained a niche genre, with very few games; notable examples include Sonic 3D Blast, and Spot Goes To Hollywood.
3D platfomers come in many forms, the most common are linear, collect-a-thon, and open world; though some games may mix and match some or all of these styles at times, and many 3D platformers take elements from other genres, such as Hack & Slash or Third Person Shooters.
Some of the most notable 3D platformers include franchise such as Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and more. Individual games that haven't yet become franchises have occasionally shown to be notable such as Psychonauts and Vexx, though while well recieved critically, they rarely do well financially. 3D platformers lend themselves well to becoming franchises.
The 3D Action Platformer, is arguably a subgenre, though perhaps a departure all together. With game franchises such as Tomb Raider, Uncharted, and Prince Of Persia making up the bulk of this style. Whilst maintaining many of the same game elements, stylistically these games are rarely identified as platformers; more frequently called the catch all "action adventure" usually reserved for games that defy categorisation. It is difficult to decipher where this sub-genre would end and Hack & Slash or Sandbox games that just happen to include platforming, such as InFamous or Devil May Cry 4 would begin.
Some unconvensional games of note do exist amongst 3D platformers, such as Mirrors Edge and the far earlier Jumping Flash, games that attempted a first person perspective within the genre. Others such as Alice: Madness Returns have attempted darker themes not normally associated with the genre. Still, to this day, mascots and family friendly entertainment as presented by companies such as Disney or Nintendo are still considered the norm for this genre.
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