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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jump, Jump, GO!

Ladies and Gentlemen.  We are witnessing a rebirth.  A new era is emerging.  One that is familiar, yet all the same new.  And crowning.  Ok, bad phrasing.

Thesis: We have entered a Rennaissance of Platform Gaming.

I myself have been guilty of saying things like, "God, I'm so sick of all these First Person Shooter Clones!  Doesn't anyone have anything NEW to make?!"  And even the other day I overheard a lady gamer (yes, I know ladies *plural*) say that everything these days is just Wolfenstein 3D.  Which is obviously not true.  And yet it has the spark of truth.  There seems to be a tendency towards Shock and Gore over Quality in games these days.  Or at least I used to think that was true....

The other night I was so bored with *UNNAMED MMORPG* that I could spit.  It was time to move on.  So I booted up Xbox live and downloaded the little engine that could - SUPER MEAT BOY.  And holy hell am I having fun.  It's amazing how something so simple as jumping from platform to platform toward an endpoint can be so challenging, invigorating, and charming.  All it takes is some inspired art/scoring, fun and appealing character design, and well crafted game mechanics and suddenly I'm transported into another era.  The era of my youth where nearly EVERY game was some variation of the platform.  Super Mario.  Wizards and Warriors.  * THIRD GAME WHICH FULFILLS LIST CRITERIA*.

But let's think about the last couple years and what Xbox Live Arcade itself has been able to unleash on us.


And then there's Kirby's Epic Yarn on the Wii.  I'm sure I'm forgetting other examples as well.

Here we have a genre which has more or less languished since the dawn of FPS.  And I'll admit I was not the least bit sad to see it go.  At their peak, platform games seemed to get redundant, repetitive, and retarded.  Nothing was progressing.  I was tired of getting knocked into water by an offscreen bat I couldn't anticipate coming at me.  Why can't my superpowered character survive a little H2O?  I can shoot lazers out of my eyes, but I never learned to swim??

But now we are seeing FPS begin to languish inartfully (I take it back Portal, I take it back!!), and new technology and the ease of promoting indie DLC has brought us innovation we never saw coming.  And I'm loving it.  Bring it on, developers.  Bring me quality and joy the likes of which mine eyes have not known for well on 15 years.  Give me back my childhood.

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