2d online platform games got their name from early games design where characters would be able to jump from one platform to another or jump over an obstacle. A character in a game must be able to freely jump at any time controlled by the player in order for the game to be classed at platformer. So where a character's jump is automated such as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, such a game is not true platform game.
Way before free online platform games were available over the internet, the platform genre originated in the early 80's and games were purely 2d back then. This genre has advanced a great deal since, with many 2d types being offered as free online platform games in today's flash gaming market.
It took over 10 years for game developers to start introducing 3d platform games. The 3d type is commonly mixed with elements of different genres, for example in the Metal Slug 2d game, your character is freely able to jump from one platform to the next, so this game can be classed as platformer. However we also know that Metal Slug uses various weapons and is in an almost constant state of shooting throughout the game, so this game could also be classed as a 'shootem up'.
The first true platform game to be released was Donkey Kong, in July 1981. The player had the power to make jumpman (popularly known as Mario today) jump over obstacles, onto different platforms and to climb ladders. There were earlier games which flirted with the idea of being a platformer, such as Frogger, released in 1978, but this game didn't allow you free reign over Frogger's jumps and so simply influenced the emergence of the first true platform game.
Two sequels were brought out after the release of Donkey Kong, the second was a platform game but the third deviated. Nevertheless soon afterwards Mario Bros. was to appear on the shelves. This was the first platform game to introduce a two player cooperative mode. Above are several online platform games related to super mario that can be played free.
There were many static screen platform games that were brought out in the 80's. Whether they were single or multi layer graphics the character would have to switch from one screen to the next to advance, such games included Pitfall for the Atari 2600 and Prince of Persia.
Jump Bug was the first game to have scrolling screens and was brought out only 5 weeks after Donkey Kong into the arcade scene. It had no real impact or influence on any games at the time, yet this simple car bouncing platformer would be mimicked many hundreds of times in years to come, in essence Jump Bug's concept was way before its time which is why its success was limited in the early 80's.
A multi-layered parallax scrolling platform game released in 1984 would become hugely popular and ported onto many consoles. Pac-Land featured more than simply a jumping character going from one platform to another, for this reason it would prove a great influence on later games such as Wonder Boy and Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. is the best selling video game of all time, selling over 40 million copies by 1999. It became rapidly popular in 1985 when it was first released in a bundle with the Super Nintendo. This game was the sole driving force behind the genre's huge popularity that led to it taking one third of the games market at its peak point. We currently have 4 super mario games that can be played on our site and they represent 2d online platform games.
Other games developers such as Sega attempted to mimic the success through series such as Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy. Although these games were a good success, they fell well short of reaching the dizzy heights of Super Mario Bros. The Wonder Boy series did offer a hell of a lot in its design, the series mixed adventure, rpg and platform features together in a masterful concoction. Indeed Wonder Boy 3 the Dragons Trap was the peak of the series, brought out for the Sega Master System.
In 1990 Sega introduced Sonic the Hedgehog as their landmark title to launch with the Sega Mega Drive. It beat Super Mario World hands down. Where as Super Mario world stuck true to its predecessors in terms of game play, Sonic the Hedgehog introduced so many new features, never seen on a platform game. These included: a character with attitude (a cutting persona never seen in any other games mascot before), a whole range of un even terrain never seen in such detail before, a physics system that allowed players to quickly fly through levels using loops, runways and Sonics well remembered steam spin and roll.
The first of many 3d platform games to come out on consoles was Jumping Flash, a sequel to an original Japanese platformer called Geograph Seal that was never distributed in North America or Europe. Jumping Flash replaced Geograph Seal's mechanical frog with a mechanical rabit instead. Jumping Flash was released on the Sony Playstation as one of the console launching games. It was successful enough to have two sequels and will always be remembered as the Sony Playstation's pioneering 3d platform game.
Finally Super Mario 64 released for the Nintendo 64 was a landmark game for the platform genre and for 3d games themselves. It took the genre into a new era, featuring a vast range of different worlds and sub worlds involving great exploration to collect items and solve puzzles. Incorporating many genres together it could be classed as a number of types, but will always be best classed as a platform game. The old 2d platformer had one simple aim, to get from one side of the screen to the next. Super Mario 64 had a whole array of objectives which would need to be accomplished to complete a level and eventually the game itself.
It's amazing how far this genre have advanced since the days of Donkey Kong. Some of the original genre's games can now be played as free online flash versions. Indeed many 2d online platform games have been spawned using flash as a developing platform.
Enjoy playing free online platform games at Games Lunatic!