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30 Genres of Christmas
Platformers
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 25, 2009   |   Episode 30 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!



It's still more realistic than the Super Mario Bros. movie!
How Do You Know You Are Playing a Platformer? Despite the name, a Platformer can be recognized by more than just a few floating platforms and difficult jumps. You will also find that a lot of Platformers feature cartoon animals and other company mascots. What's more, many Platformers boil the combat down to simply jumping on your enemy's head. In a Platformer the level design is the star, often creating unrealistic obstacles that will require your very best running and jumping skills. It's not uncommon to have to use trampolines, large stairs and, of course, floating platforms to get to the next stage. And just when you've mastered navigating your way through difficult jumps, the game will add ice and an underwater level. If any of this sounds familiar, then it's because you've grown up playing too many Platformers!

Patron Saint: Getting around using your legs, including jumping and climbing.

Typical Story: Uh oh, the Princess has been kidnapped by a big dragon and is keeping her in a big castle. But don't worry; this isn't going to be some long, drawn-out adventure game. Instead you will need to run and jump your way through eight levels, battling turtles, flowers and mushroom men. Look out, because at the end of each level is one of the dragon's clones, who has

Somewhere Bubsy the Bobcat is unsuccessfully trying to pitch a 3D reboot!
already kidnapped seven other characters just to be a dick. Good thing you have superior jumping skills, no doubt something you perfected in your work as a plumber.

What Santa Claus Says: "Oh you kids and your stupid video games! Thanks to Nintendo and that blasted Super Mario, today's child wants a video game system. And don't think that they want something simple. No no, they want a Wii or a PlayStation 3. They want something with a ton of moving parts and complicated circuitry. It used to be that my elves and I could mass produce a bunch of motherboards and create the NES in a day. The Sega Genesis was just as easy, thanks to the easy to order Motorola 68000 chip. But now the systems need different processors, hard to find chips and a lot of ventilation. These systems feature motion control and Blu-ray DVD support. This has really put a cramp in our system. What used to take a week to complete now takes a month.

These days Sonic is the only one giving thumbs up to his 3D adventures!
And don't think that the wife hasn't taken notice. You kids need to stop wanting video games, it's the only thing keeping me from having a relaxing November. Ho, ho, ho jerks!"

Not a Platformer: Running downstairs to open your presents is not a Platformer. Reading all 30 episodes of this lengthy (20,000+ word) article is not a Platformer. Uncharted 2 is not a Platformer. Your mom is not a Platformer. Look, you know what a Platformer is. You stuck with me for 30 days, by now you know what a Platformer is. And if you don't, just think about the last 29 days and remember that they are NOT Platformers. I'm with Santa, let's get this thing over and done with and celebrate 2010 already.

Then vs. Now? Sorry Jax, Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ratchet, Clank and even Crash Bandicoot, I'm siding with the old school Platformers in this case. Look, I love today's 3D Platformers, you'll find that I've given high marks to a number of recent Platformers (the most recent being Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crank in Time). But let's face it, video game companies knew exactly how to make a worthwhile Platformer back in the 1980s and 90s. It doesn't matter if it's just another Super Mario clone, even the most generic Platformer was a lot of fun. The very fact that they were able to come up with so many inventive ideas for all of these different games is outstanding, especially given the limited technology. I still love my modern day 3D Platformers, but I'll always prefer the old school 2D variety.
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