The Ultimate Guide To The World's Finest Platform Games - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Ultimate Guide To The World's Finest Platform Games

In the early 1990s, platform games were the top choice of kids across the nation. The first person shooters and beat ‘em ups were only just beginning to emerge, while platform gameplay remained fun and exciting. Platform games have always been more accessible to the younger generation as they had an innocence about them. There was no gore, no swearing, and no sensitive themes being explored. The era of 3D graphics and realistic gameplay hadn’t emerged yet. The fun of the games was their cartoonish nature, their wacky concepts, and odd storylines. Only in a platform game could you get away with a spiky blue hedgehog running rampant collecting rings throughout a range of different worlds!

Platform games had a habit of becoming highly addictive and permeated through popular culture. All big games consoles had a platform classic. Nintendo and Sega were the big names of the nineties and enjoyed great success when bringing their latest platform creations to the market. As the nineties morphed into the noughties, Sony and Microsoft made a play for the console market. This led to a shift away from platform games as they began to fall out of fashion. Now it was all first-person shooters, Call of Duty, horror RPGs, and sports games that could be played online with strangers from across the world.

However, platform games are now seeing a resurgence as smartphones are finding their way into the hands of youngsters. Sonic, Mario, the Simpsons, Ratchet and Crash Bandicoot have found their ways onto the iPhone and cost very little to download and play. Take a look at our foray into the platform world and look back with a smile as we explore the world’s finest platform games ever made.

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Super Mario World
There is no greater platform game than Super Mario World. This cheeky little plumber from Italy called Mario had a whole world created around him. He had a brother called Luigi who looked rather fetching in green, the Princess was the love of his life, Mushroom who was a pal, and Bowzer who was a bit of an arch-nemesis. These worlds and characters saw a range of platform games emerge over the course of two decades or more. Who could forget Mario Tennis? However, it was Super Mario World that took the globe by storm and became one of the most successful platform games in history.

Mario was in search of the Princess who had been kidnapped by Bowzer and was being taken from world to world in an effort to allude Mario. However, Mario was determined and continued to venture through pipes, trees, underwater, the sky, and desert to try and rescue his love. The gameplay was unique in that it could span the traditional console as well as Nintendo’s newer and smaller handheld device - the Gameboy. It was perhaps this Gameboy that enabled Super Mario World to take off like new other game ever had. Kids in schools were playing Super Mario World, people would grab their Gameboy in their lunch break to play, and moms would even find time to have a go. The accessibility of Mario was unique.

There were plenty of ‘cheats’ to discover when it came to Mario. It quickly became apparent that the third level of the first world could transport you to the very final level if you knew where to look. This article will not reveal the cheat - Google can do that now - but once selected, the game could be completed in record time. People across the globe competed to try and clock the speediest time to complete the entire Super Mario World game without losing a life.

Mario was a great little inoffensive character that people instantly fell in love with. He was smiley, courageous, the underdog, and spritely. The gameplay was speedy but also fun. The worlds were crafted with bright graphics and an ever-increasing skills factor. The likeability factor was through the roof. Many kids of the nineties actually grew up alongside Mario and wanted to control the hero within his platform world.

Mario spawned many different related games such as Mario Golf, Mario Kart, and Mario’s Olympics. The way this initial platform game was able to transfer across a range of gaming genres was unique to its creation.

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Sonic The Hedgehog
Alongside Nintendo’s efforts to create a character that permeated across popular culture, Sega also had a character in mind. Sonic the Hedgehog was a little edgier and could be played across the Gamegear, Master System and Mega Drive systems. The Sega Gamegear handheld console was a more advanced version of the Gameboy as it was color and was a virtual replica of the traditional video consoles in terms of gameplay.

Sonic was spiky, edgy, and crafted with the cooler kids in mind. There was less fluff around Sonic. He didn’t have a girl to save - he was the original eco-warrior, saving the animals from the evil Dr Robotnik. At the end of every world, Dr Robotnik would turn up in a heavy-armed vehicle or behind a strong barrier that needed breaking down by Sonic. As the levels increased in difficulty, the need to increase your skillset as the controller of Sonic was imperative. The worlds had sharp and angular graphics, emulating the lead character’s demeanor.

Sonic 2 introduced a new character and expanded the Sonic universe to put it on a par with Mario. Tails was the cool sidekick that had his own unique set of skills. Sonic 2 maintained the worlds and levels format from the original platform game, but it introduced some exciting bonus levels to add interest. Pinball twisting bonus levels allowed Sonic or Tails to collect even more rings. Another exciting addition to the game was the ability to switch between the characters. You could play as either Sonic or Tails, and it quickly became apparent that each character was more adept at tackling certain levels. Platform games have paid homage to this gameplay addition by allowing you to switch characters throughout a game.

Gamers tended to fall in one of two camps - either the Mario lovers or the Sonic obsessives. Few people had both the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive. It was usually one or the other. However, alongside the Sonic and Mario characters came a wealth of merchandise and even movies at a later date. Gamers are now nostalgic about their favorite gaming buddies and will still play them to this day using their more postmodern smartphones rather than their 16-bit consoles.

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Later Platform Games
Most platform games are now based on something that is already present in popular culture. Games originate because they are based on a movie or an animated film. Pixar has contributed to Toy Story platform games. Marvel has a whole host of universes that have morphed from the cinema screen to the games console. You could even check out the thunderstruck 2 demo play online and have a go at mastering some Norse slots based on the Thor movies from Marvel.

Disney also has a massive foothold in the gaming world. Star Wars, recently obtained by Disney, has a wealth of platform games from Lego varieties to more realistic first person viewpoint platform games. These are excellent additions to the platforming genre and have contributed to its resurgence. Movies are the top source of platform games from developers and enjoy wide success worldwide.

Many people are well acquainted with The Simpsons and these characters are all too familiar with the world of platform games. The Sega Master System had a fantastic platform called Bart vs The Space Mutants. It was one of the first games that morphed a whole world from an animated cartoon into a console game. You could visit Krusty World, make prank calls to Moe’s bar, and skateboard across Springfield. The game was left to right side-scrolling and would probably look incredibly retro today, but it was a brilliant piece of developing. Adding mini-games to the larger platforming world added fun to the game. The graphics were identical to the episodes, the characters were familiar, and the ability to play as the cheeky character of Bart was hugely entertaining.

If you fancy playing a great platform game on your smartphone, you could do far worse than downloading Spyro. This game is a 2D side-scrolling event that is a whole host of fun. It’s nothing too special in terms of originality, but you get to complete a range of levels in an effort to collect gems. The gameplay is addictive and perfect for a handheld phone. Turn it on its side, the controls are part of the screen, and you can simply enjoy a simple and innocent platformer.

Platform games might not be as in fashion as they once were. The heady days of the early nineties probably won’t ever be rediscovered, but many platformers are still making a play to be the top of the videogames charts. If you are keen to take a break from your Grand Theft Auto franchise or your Fifa gameplay, take a look at these incredible platform choices to enjoy.

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