What Defines a "Platform" Game?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay Mitchosky, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    The only games magazine I read is Official Xbox, and they constantly refer to "platform games" or "platformers" when talking about games like Mario Bros. and their ilk. What specifically do they mean by a platform game, aside from the frequency of having to jump from platform to platform?
     
  2. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    I'm no expert, but I'll take a stab at it. I would say a platformer is a game played in the third-person perspective, in which the object usually is to collect some sort of item, and in which the terrain is such that some areas require careful navigation and precision jumping. For instance, I would consider Jet Set Radio Future to be a platformer. The Oddworld series would probably fit in there as well, although it has puzzle-solving aspects of it.

    Someone much smarter than I will probably come along with a better definition, but that's what I think of when I hear the term...
     
  3. Peter Manojlovich

    Peter Manojlovich Second Unit

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    Traditional platform games like the super mario bros. games incorporate a lot of "jumping". While this might sound fairly trivial, a lot of the jumping was precision jumping, To make it from one platform to the next, complete with obstacles and enemies, often required precising timing and placement of the jump. Platformers were a staple of the 2-d gaming universe with mario and sonic.

    Platformers are more difficult to implement in 3-d. Camera control issues become problematic, and attempting to create a precision jumping scenario without causing undue user frustation is very difficult. Jak and Daxter for the ps2 was three years in development for an example of the lengthy time required to iron out various gameplay issues. And even with three years, the game's camera control system is far from perfect.

    Oddworld has some platform elements, but this is actually the worst implemented aspect of the game. Trying to gauge a jump is difficult because of the camera. In the ol' 2d world, you didn't have these problems, and the platforming aspects could be quite intricate and sophisticated, like running through gauntlets and jumping onto moving platforms and jumping off. Ahhh, the good ol' days. Well, there's always the gba and super mario world for those who want to enjoy 2d platforming goodness in all its splendor.
     
  4. Oscar_R

    Oscar_R Second Unit

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    jumping, shooting , destruction, mayhem, on a horizontal plain.
     
  5. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Games like Tomb Raider are more action games than platformers.

    Mario 64 was a platformer/adventure.

    Games that are just a series of levels with no overworld type thing or collecting elements are platforming games. Games with overworlds or where you collect things are adventure/platform games.

    Its really more based on the game than a standard. Some games might be designed to be action or adventure games, but retain platforming elements, and thus, be considered by some as platformers. Zelda:OoT had action, adventure, platform, and RPG elements, but is mainly considered an adventure game.
     
  6. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Well done. Thanks.

     
  7. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I would call Mario 64 _the_ platform standard for 3-d gaming. Banjo Kazooie improved upon it. I'm very excited to see what comes forth for the Gamecube in terms of platformers.
    They are my favorite genre... along with whatever genre Zelda fits into.. [​IMG]
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Mario set the standard rules for 3-D platform games. Banjo-Kazooie set the standard rules for 3-D platform/adventure games based on what Mario did. Its because of Mario that we got multi-objective levels and collecting things in platform games. Plus the game just kicked ass.
     

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