Hop, skip and a jump away

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Quick! Name the five best platformers released on home consoles this generation. Well, let’s see, there’s Super Mario Galaxy, of course. And, uhh, well, I think that’s about it. What the hell, developers? What’s going on this generation? I realize that platformers may not be as hot as first-person shooters right now, but you would think it would be easy enough to list at least five platformers out of the many games to come out this generation.

But no, it’s not. There are a few semi-platforming games we can list off, like Ratchet and Clank Future and I guess Little Big Planet. However, even if we count these two games, it still doesn’t leave us with a whole lot to work with.

As a huge fan of the genre, it’s a pretty disappointing reality that I don’t fully understand. For as much as I love some of the dark and gritty games that are so popular these days, I still prefer to hop my way through the more colorful terrains of the Mushroom Kingdom or Jak and Daxter in their original adventure.

More of this, please.

More of this, please.

To be honest, the genre has been fading more and more with each new launch of consoles so it really shouldn’t be too surprising, but I just don’t get it. Do people think they are too mature for bright and happy worlds, or has platforming simply lost its appeal to most gamers these days? After the brilliant Super Mario Galaxy, I don’t necessarily think that’s the case – at least not in the Nintendo camp.

However, appealing to the Xbox 360 or PS3 owner might be a tougher sale. And given that most high quality 3rd party efforts do steer toward the beefier consoles, I guess it might make sense after all.

Although Rare strayed away from Banjo’s platforming roots with Nuts and Bolts, it’s bright and happy world stayed. I mention this because according to the latest NPD’s, the game didn’t sell too well, which is unfortunate. Is there a market for these types of games on the 360, or do 360 gamers just not give a damn about them anymore? If a developer truly put its all into a project as revolutionary as Mario 64, and launched it on a system outside of the Wii, would it even have a chance at success?

Less of this, please.

Colors? I hate colors.

Probably, but not without some serious effort. Nuts and Bolts was a game that faced some pretty horrible odds that certainly didn’t help its sales. Not only did it go against the grain for a 360 title, it released when tons of other juggernauts were there to bury it before it had a chance. It’s truly a shame, but with any luck, Rare’s latest release will have some legs and do well over time. I’m not sure many developers have the balls to take that kind of risk, but the thought of seeing more platformers in full HD glory makes my head spin.

That being said, if Super Mario Galaxy is anything to go by, it’s that a platformer with a great art style can look amazing without the best hardware in the business. If a top tier development studio like Capcom would deliver a Maximo sequel on any system, there’s a good chance a couple of the guys here at Reset Glitch would have a panic attack.

Despite thinking the genre works beautifully when done right in 3D, I’m all for some full-fledged 2D sequels, as well. Nintendo itself has plenty to work with. How about a new Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros., Yoshi’s Island, or best of all, Kid Icarus? The bottom line is, we need more platformers on home consoles, and damnit, I won’t quit whining about it until it happens.

Yoshi's Island Wii, let's make that happen.

Yoshi's Island Wii, let's make that happen.

Some recent downloadable titles like LostWinds and Braid are helping alleviate some of the pain, although neither are true platformers. For now, I’ll have to return to space to play the most bad ass game this generation, Super Mario Galaxy. Well, that, or crack open my DS.

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One Response to “Hop, skip and a jump away”

  1. TheLimper Says:

    I don’t really get it either. It’s one of my favorite genres, but I haven’t played one in forever (other than mario). Developers must assume that these games just won’t sell when you have market a new IP.

    Maybe we’ll see some cool ones on the xbox community games. You have to think platformers are one of the easier games to design since they are very effective in 2D.

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