Welcome back, NPCs, for Day Two of our month-long self-imposed Challenge! Yesterday we stepped into our transportive chronometer and went back in time to the arcades. Today, we haven’t gotten much further forward in history as we’ll be addressing 2D platformers and talking up our favorites in that category. We are assuredly plowing forward through time but 2D plats are evidently a big part of our childhoods and a big part of the past. Though we’ll still see new ones now and then hit the market, today’s list is like the 90’s with Sonic versus Mario all over again.
The Green Screen Mage
Sonic the Hedgehog is by far one of my favorite 2D Platformer games. Granted, I never beat the game, but I was pretty young and I spent hours running and jumping through levels. Eggman was just so hard!
The Black Humor Mage
Yoshi’s Island has to be my favorite 2D platformer. It’s an upgrade to the Super Mario World formula (another favorite 2D platformer), and it’s so much fun throwing the eggs at enemies. I love all the different Yoshi colors too. I had this game for the Gameboy Advance, and I played it so much that I wanted it on the Wii Virtual Console. I could not do that because the original version on the SNES has some sort of copyright. Sure the Wii U has it on Virtual Console now, but the music and visuals are much better on the SNES version. So, now I cannot wait for the SNES mini which includes the original version.
The Red Hot Chili Mage (Stuff and That Reviews)
Rayman Origins: I’ve always been a lover of 2D platformers, as I was infatuated with the early Sonic games for years and have always stated that this is my favourite genre. Rayman Origins, for me, is the crown jewel of them all, and is actually my favourite game of all time, undoubtedly. It’s a masterpiece of madness, with quirky stage designs, characters and soundtrack all in-your-face and expertly crafted by the developers, to bring a challenging, ridiculously fun and perfectly controlling platformer. It can be enjoyed equally single player or with friends, as while playing alone you can explore all the quirks of the game and develop your skill individually, whereas with friends, the fun factor along with the challenge are ramped up to oblivion.
The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)
Super Mario World. I almost thought about choosing a different title, but the amount of fun and time put into this game during my childhood is just completely unrivaled by any other 2D Platformer. I believe the Mario games to have set the standard for platformers and this game is a shining example of what all can be done right with the genre. You got the cape, you got Yoshi, the graphics were a huge jump forward at the time and still are very beautiful to this day. (Honorable Mentions – Trine, Super Meat Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog)
The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)
To me, nothing beats Super Mario Bros. 3. The creativity, the skill, the gorgeous world… Nintendo achieved perfection in 1989.
The Five More Minutes Mage (Gamegato)
My favorite 2D is a game called Phoenotopia. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s a really neat online action platforming adventure game I really enjoy.
The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)
One of my favourite childhood activities was going to my Grandmother’s house as she had a vast array of games during the DOS era. Jazz Jack Rabbit was a particular favourite of mine and one of the first games that I ever beat. I thoroughly enjoyed making my way through each planet with my bird side kick as I tried to find the princess. This time she wasn’t in another castle but another planet entirely! I’m really fond of bonus levels in games that are vastly different to the main games gameplay. If done right not only does it feel like a reward but also a breath of fresh air. Jazz Jack Rabbit’s bonus level had you running on a speedway at impossible speeds in an attempt to collect a certain amount of blue diamonds in the allotted time period. Successful completion resulted in an extra life which back in that day was something incredibly important. In the end the evil turtle was no match for the gun wielding hare and after making my way through the game we had the ultimate showdown.
The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)
Sonic the Hedgehog (Master System). There’s probably some confusion as to why I haven’t answered with ‘Super Mario Bros. 3’. Basically I’m a Sega kid who started with the Master System and its version of Sonic is what I was addicted to. One day I’ll play SMB3 properly, but until then Sonic’s 8-bit adventure will be my 2D platformer of choice. Sega cleverly dialed back the speed of the Mega Drive original and replaced it with more platforming, to great effect.
The Rage Mage
Ms. Splosion Man. I’m so confused. What by? By trying to figure out which is better: the vocals that sound like Mickey Mouse strapped to Revolver Ocelot’s torture table on extreme mode, or the game’s purely academic use of the word “badonkadonk” in song.
The Well-Red Mage
How is this one even harder than yesterday?! We’re only on Day Two and picking a favorite in such a category is nigh impossible! During my formative years, platformers may have been the dominating genre for home consoles. There are so many excellent titles to name but for me it comes down to a handful… Mega Man X, Earthworm Jim, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, Symphony of the Night, Shovel Knight, DuckTales: Remastered, Super Metroid, Mega Man II… okay, so maybe it comes down to an overflowing handful. Even with all those incredible games, I’m just going to cheat and go with Mega Man Legacy Collection: six classic Mega Man titles perfectly emulated on modern systems. It just narrowly beat out MMX Earthworm Jim, which is a phenomenal and unique platformer, but Mega Man has been my boy since I was a wee mage. Legacy recalls some of the most iconic platforming and 8-bit music of all time, and this is one of my favorite images ever.
Well, that’s it for Day Two. What genre are we looking at tomorrow? That’s for me to know and you to come back and find out, but I can tell you this: it represents another step forward in the history of gaming. Thanks for reading!