The platformer could certainly be considered a staple of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The game that was packaged with the system (and sold a record 40 Million copies), Super Mario Bros., was itself a platformer. What is a platformer you might ask? From Wikipedia:
A platform game (or platformer) is a type of video game, and a subgenre of action game. It involves guiding a player character or avatar to jump between suspended platforms and/or over obstacles to traverse their environment. The player controls the jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps … at the peak of their popularity, it is estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of console games were platformers. No genre either before or since has been able to achieve a similar market share.
This type of game played especially well in the era of the NES due to it’s rather limited technical capabilities. There were several franchises that got their start as platform games on the NES console and some are still around, even today! Here is a list of my five favorite platformers from the era of the original Nintendo.
#5 Super Mario Bros.
(From the instruction manual)
One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horsehair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.
The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King. Unfortunately, she is presently in the hands of the great Koopa turtle king.
Mario, the hero of the story (maybe) hears about the Mushroom People’s plight and sets out on a quest to free the Mushroom Princess from the evil Koopa and restore the fallen kingdom of the Mushroom People.
You are Mario! It’s up to you to save the Mushroom People from the black magic of the Koopa!
Why is it memorable?
This game introduced me to a scrolling platformer. It introduced the notion of hidden items, power-ups and helped us all learn how to play with the Nintendo controller. The game provides a variety of levels types which include underground caves, swimming levels, the outdoor levels and the castle which holds a boss for the world.
Does it hold up?
This game is showing its age at this point, but it still features music that you can find in any Mario game.