Platform games are one of the oldest genres in gaming. Players have been hopping around for decades and while the genre sometimes goes quiet for a few years, there are new 2D and indie games are around every corner. It is the genre of Mr. Video Game himself, Mario, after all.
But gamers get complacent and everyone can get bad habits that they fall into when dealing with certain genres. Just like camping can be a bad habit in first-person shooters, there are plenty of bad habits in platformers. Hopefully, players will grow out of these in the future.
Over-Correcting A Jump
Jumping from platform to platform is the gameplay the genre is named after. If the jumping isn’t good, it probably isn’t a good platformer. Any good platform game will also allow for in-air movement. This allows the player to correct their trajectory mid-jump.
But this can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Because if the aerial movement is free enough, players can easily over-correct. Players will try to fix an iffy jump and accidentally completely ruin their jump. That’s always frustrating and takes skill to do correctly.
Moving The Camera Top Down For A Jump
Because jumping is so integral to platformers, it tends to feature prominently. In 3D platformers, even the best modern ones, it can be hard to know exactly where the player is in space, especially if they don’t have good depth perception. But what might seem like a fix initially can be frustrating after practice.
Moving the camera above the player when doing a jump seems like it could help. Some early 3D platformers even did this by default. But having to stop and move the camera every jump gets time-consuming. And it also limits the player’s view of the environment.
Trying To Stomp Every Enemy Like A Goomba
Super Mario‘s impact on platforming can not be overstated. Mario has been jumping and stomping and has never stopped. But with 35 years of games comes an equal amount of muscle memory. Mario’s stomp attack is one of the most famous attacks, but it’s not universal.
Super Mario Goombas are such iconic video game enemies that often, players will call other game basic enemies Goombas, but their chief weakness is not shared by the others. Trying to jump on enemies might just get the character hurt and this is especially embarrassing in games with melee attack buttons.
Trying To Jump Up Slippery Slopes
If a slope in a game is slippery, the developers probably don’t want the player going up it. Perhaps it’s the boundary of the map. Maybe it’s impeding progress until later. But it’s probably not worth spending minutes trying to jump up on it.
But platformers are games about exploration. Seeing a slippery slope makes players want to scale it, even if it’s pointless. There may be items up that slope, but it’s likely the developers intend for the player to get to them another way. If players do see some success with this, like in speedrun, it is pretty satisfying though.
Platformers aren’t as commonly online multiplayer as other genres, but games like this do exist, and some platformers will allow the players to bump into each other. This will inevitably cause a bunch of players to jump onto the same platform at once, which leads to them all falling like dominos and players accidentally falling into pits.
This phenomenon is frustrating enough in races, but it can also occur in co-op matches. An incompetent teammate can be really frustrating. Players might be footstooling or throwing teammates into the void and this type of thing is very common in Super Mario Maker 2.
Jumping Right Into An Attack
It’s a bad habit going back to the days of Mega Man. Players try to move as much as possible to avoid boss patterns, but they slip up and accidentally collide right into an attack. Sometimes it’s a bullet, sometimes it’s a tackle, but it’s always embarrassing.
It’s important to be constantly moving in platformers. Especially in combat-heavy ones, as it can help to avoid attacks. But in fast-paced shootouts, the player never knows when an enemy attack is going to come out. So it’s important to also strategize movement and not just jump for the sake of it.
Momentum is key in platformers and being able to store and properly utilize speed is helpful in games like Mario and Sonic alike. However, while Sonic builds up speed naturally, Super Mario and similar great platform video games utilize a run button, and it’s not always obvious.
Most levels require long jumps to clear, but these can only be accomplished via running. And players who don’t run are probably not gonna make the jump. Also, slowly plodding through a level isn’t really that exciting. For the sake of these players, this habit should be broken.
In some of the most artistic games of the genre, what is and isn’t a platform can be hard to figure out. An especially detailed part of the background may be mistaken for a platform and players may just walk right off edges or into pits.
But another similar problem has to do with falling through platforms. Some platformers have platforms that the player can fall through if they hold down. Some players don’t realize this, especially if the backgrounds are pretty or distracting. There’s plenty of confusion around platforms and players often have the bad habit of rushing to make a move before they actually know what they’re jumping on.
Using Power-Ups Redundantly
Power-ups are a staple of video games, not just Super Mario, but they’re pretty common in most platformers. Sometimes there will even be an inventory from which the player can take power-ups, but they typically aren’t cumulative. Getting a power-up usually overrides the power-up the player currently has.
This can be a problem if the player simply picks up every power-up they see. Perhaps as a holdover from when points were more important, some people can not help but habitually pick up every power-up. Sometimes the power-up is worse than the currently equipped one, downgrading the player and some games will even exploit this by placing weaker power-ups as a trap.
It’s the unspoken law of video games: to progress, one must move from left to right. This has been the standard even before the first Super Mario Bros. game, which likely popularized it. This makes sense, as it’s how much of the world reads, after all. But not all games progress this way. Some games have large explorable worlds the player will miss out on by simply trying to move left t0 right out of habit. Or there may be secrets hidden to the left, like extra lives behind the border of a level.
Designers have taken advantage of this old cliche to subvert and surprise players, but plenty of them have yet to catch wise. Even in 2D platformers, players need to always make sure to backtrack to find the hidden details.
Animal Crossing Player Goes Viral After Hiding In-Game Body
About The Author
James Potvin (33 Articles Published)
James W. Potvin is a freelance writer for Screen Rant. This is is his first professional writing job, but he’s been making infographics about nerd culture interests for years. In the past, James has worked in education. He loves video games, and his favorite is Kirby.