Platform games are one of the oldest genres in gaming. Players have been jumping around for decades, and although the genre sometimes goes quiet for a few years, there are new 2D and indie games around every corner. This is the genre of Mr. Video Game itself, Mario.
But players become complacent and everyone can get bad habits that they fall into when dealing with certain genres. Just as camping can be a bad habit in first-person shooters, there are plenty of bad habits in platform games. Hopefully the players will grow out of these in the future.
Overcorrection of a jump
Jumping from platform to platform is the gameplay the genre is named after. If the jump is not good, it’s probably not a good platform game. Any good platform game also allows for movement in the air. This allows the player to straighten their trajectory in the middle of the jump.
But this can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Because if the air movement is free enough, players can easily overcorrect. Players will try to correct an uncertain jump and accidentally destroy their jump completely. It is always frustrating and requires skill to do correctly.
Moving the camera from top to bottom for a jump
Because jumping is so integrated into platform players, it tends to be prominent. In 3D platform players, even the best modern ones, it can be difficult to know exactly where the player is in space, especially if they do not have a good depth perception. But what may seem like a solution in the beginning can be frustrating after training.
Moving the camera over the player as you jump seems to help. Some early 3D platform players even did this by default. But having to stop and move the camera every jump becomes time consuming. And it also limits the player’s view of the environment.
Trying to stomp any enemy like a goomba
Super Mario‘s impact on platforms can not be overstated. Mario has jumped and trampled and has never stopped. But with 35 years of play comes an equally great muscle memory. Mario’s trampling attack is one of the most famous attacks, but it is not universal.
Super Mario Goombas are such iconic video game enemies that players will often call other games basic enemies of Goombas, but their biggest weakness is not shared by the others. Trying to jump on enemies might just hurt the character, and this is especially embarrassing in games with melee buttons.
Trying to jump up slippery slopes
If a hill in a game is slippery, the developers probably do not want the player to go up it. Maybe that’s the limit of the card. Maybe it hampers progress until later. But it’s probably not worth spending minutes trying to jump on it.
But platformers are games of exploration. Seeing a slide makes players want to scale it, even if it’s pointless. There may be objects up that slope, but it is likely that the developers intend for the player to access them in a different way. However, if players see some success with this, as in speedrun, it is quite satisfying.
Accidental team killing
Platform players are not as common online multiplayer as other genres, but games like this exist and some platform players will allow players to bump into each other. This will inevitably cause a bunch of players to jump onto the same platform at once, leading to them all falling like dominoes 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 can be footsteps or throw teammates into the void, and this type of thing is very common in Super Mario Maker 2.
Jumps right into an attack
It is a bad habit to go back in time Mega man. Players try to move as much as possible to avoid boss patterns, but they slip up and accidentally bump right into an attack. Sometimes it’s a bullet, sometimes it’s a tackle, but it’s always embarrassing.
It is important to constantly move in platform games. Especially in combat tongue, as it can help avoid attacks. But in quick shootouts, the player never knows when an enemy’s attack will come out. So it is important also to strategize movement and not just jump for its sake.
Does not run
Momentum is the key in platform players, and being able to save and properly utilize speed is useful in games such as Mario and Sonic alike. But while Sonic builds speed naturally, Super Mario and similar large platform video games use a drive button, and it’s not always obvious.
Most levels require long jumps to complete, but these can only be achieved through running. And players who do not run are unlikely to jump. It’s also not really exciting to go slowly through a level. For the sake of these players, this habit should be broken.
In some of the genre’s most artistic games, it can be difficult to figure out what is and is not a platform. A particularly detailed part of the background can be confused with a platform, and players can just walk right off the edges or into pits.
But another similar problem has to do with falling through platforms. Some platforms have platforms that the player can fall through if they hold down. Some players are not aware of this, especially if the background is beautiful or distracting. There is a lot of confusion around platforms, and players often have the bad habit of rushing to take a step before they actually know what they are jumping on.
Use of power-ups redundant
Power-ups are an integral part of video games, not just Super Mario, but they are quite common in most platformers. Sometimes there will even be an inventory from which the player can take power-ups, but they are typically not cumulative. Getting a power-up usually overrides the power-up that the player currently has.
This can be a problem if the player simply picks up every power-up they see. Perhaps as a restraint from when points were more important, some people can not help but usually pick up every power-up. Sometimes the power-up is worse than the currently equipped one, downgrading the player and some games will even take advantage of this by placing weaker power-ups as a trap.
Moves to the right
It is the unspoken law of video games: to make progress, one must move from left to right. This has been the standard even before the first Super Mario Bros. games that probably made it popular. This makes sense since it is, after all, how much of the world reads. But not all games progress this way. Some games have large exploratory worlds that the player will miss by simply trying to move left to right out of habit. Or there may be secrets hidden to the left, like extra life behind the border of a level.
Designers have taken advantage of this old cliché to undermine and surprise players, but many of them still need to get smarter. Even in 2D platform players, players should always make sure to go back to find the hidden details.
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