In a previous post we could see the origins of platform games. From the first arcade machines to the all-famous Super Mario Bros., this videogame genre was promising, so promising. Now we will see how it evolved in the following years. Enjoy!!! 🙂
A FEW IMPROVEMENTS IN THE GENRE
So we are in 1984, in the middle of platform games peak, although until then these great games were very popular mainly in arcade machines. But the publishing of Super Mario Bros., for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) home console, in 1995, meant a huge step for the genre and maybe that is why usually it is thought to be the father of all platform games. It is undeniable that we are in front of one of the best platform games ever, although as we have seen it was not exactly the indisputed forerunner. No less than 40 million copies sold made Super Mario Bros. got directly to the Guinness Book of Records, so all the other publishers had no choice but making their own platform game version if they wanted to stay in the market against the mighty Nintendo. For example, Sega created jewels like Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy, which in some aspects even improved the great Super Mario Bros.
Usually scroll in games was, until then, only in one direction at the same time. But back then, in 1983, some games started allowing multi-scroll, like the vector game Major Havoc. This game cannot be considered at 100% as a platform game, as it consists of several mini-games, although the longest one of them is actually a platform game with multi-scroll. As for raster games instead of vector games, The Legend of Kage is among the first ones including a multi-scroll system.
In the late 80s, while home consoles started their incursion in action games, portable consoles hitting the market were technologically quite inferior. That prevented ports of action games if publishers wanted to keep a minimum quality, so platform games continued to be the main catalogue for this type of console. One could say that Super Mario Land for the Nintendo Game Boy portable console is what Super Mario Bros. was for the NES home console.
JUMPING FROM PLATFORM TO PLATFORM, WE GET TO THE 16 BITS ERA
The minute that 16 bits consoles started hitting the shops, platform games were the kings of the market. For manufacturers it was unconceivable launching a new console without a banner, a mascot, running and jumping through a platform game. Nintendo already had Mario, famous world-wide, unlike Sega which was not being really successful with their dull Alex Kidd, so they had to consider a new mascot: it was the beginnings of Sonic.
In the early 90s, Nintendo launched their 16 bits Super Nintendo console together with, of course, their brilliant Super Mario World. Sega, on their behalf, launched their Megadrive console with their new mascot in the game Sonic the Hedgehog. Although Super Mario World is absolutely a jewel in the world of platform games, one has to admit that Sonic the Hedgehog introduced improvements on the multi-directional scroll smoothness, as well as bent platforms, impossible trampoline jumps and 360 degrees loops at a really high speed.
In this generation computers also entered the battlefield. While PCs where not very powerful for videogames, other computers like the Amiga by Commodore and the ST by Atari did not have anything to envy about home consoles. Some brilliant games were published for these platforms, like Shadow of the Beast, with amazing sound and graphics levels, and Prince of Persia, with animations like we had never seen before.
In the next post we will see how platform games were also adapted to 3D, with some new jewels in the genre. Until then, enjoy the classics, RetroGamers!!!
You can also read: Everything about platform games. Part 1: The beginnings
You can also read: Everything about platform games. Part 3: Maturity
You can also read: Everything about platform games. Part 4: Current times