Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Platformers

I think not many of you will agree with me here, but I've just got to say, I think platformers are terrible.

Or, to be more specific, I think platformers are obsolete and should be put down.

They're a product of early video games. Back then, the technology was so new, that the simple act of manipulating something on a screen in a digital environment using physical controls was, in and of itself, so interesting and fun that games were built around it. The games were about, "how skilfully can you interface with the controls?" "How's your hand-eye coordination?" Hence early games like Mario. Timing jumps, judging distance... back then, it was new, and gaming technology was limited in how far it could push strategy elements, story elements, artistic elements, and so forth. So, platformers had their role.

But in this day and age? I'm sorry, but I think a game whose core still revolves around platforming is just lazy. I understand the nostalgia element, I guess, but since I came to gaming later than most, I never developed the love for platformers when they existed in their own time. Of course, all games involve timing and hand eye coordination - you're still using a controller, after all - but an FPS, for example, involves strategy and planning and coping with what other players or AI toss in your way. The game is not ONLY about how well you handle a controller. For the actual gameplay, and the challenge of a game, to be you, simply hitting the right buttons or flicking the joystick at the right time... and that's it? That's the whole thrust of the game? I just don't see the appeal in this day and age.


Take for example, the image below. Where's the fun in completing that level? I know what I have to do, I've figured it out. There are no surprises or ambushes or twists. The only challenge is that my finger might slip and I'll have to start again. This is fun?

6 comments:

  1. I completely agree with you! Although the old school games are still fun to play IMO, it is nice to get away from the button meshing now-a-days. Thanks for the great post!

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  2. That just reminds me of the old school mario games from when I was a kid! lol.

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  3. Platformers still have their place as long as the controls are tight. If the challenge comes mainly from having to compensate for loose and sloppy controls then it's no fun at all.

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  4. There are some good platformers. I like them better than FPS.

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  5. Platformers combined with other genre aspects are great fun, e.g. Ratchet and Clank.

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  6. Like Zombie said, Mario games! I waste a lot of time playing it on my N64 and my GBC.

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