The First Platformer Video Game Was?
Answer: Donkey Kong
Platformers are an early (and still active) genre of video games wherein the player’s avatar jumps between suspended platforms and/or over obstacles in order to navigate the game world. The genre itself emerged from the limitations of early video games—it was far easier to keep the levels static and move a single player avatar around than it was to have the entire screen continuously update.
Although the first game to resemble a platformer was 1980’s arcade release Space Panic, the game lacked one of the defining characteristics of the platform genre. Although players could climb ladders and fall, there was no jump (or swing and bounce) function. The first video game to incorporate vertical movement, falling, and the key element of jumping, was 1981’s iconic Nintendo arcade game, Donkey Kong.
Throughout the ensuing decades, the platform genre expanded, including best-selling games like Super Mario Bros. and its sequels, as well as other popular franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog and Castlevania. Despite the advances in 3D graphics and a movement away from platforming, the platformer genre continues and there are still notable successes like 2009’s beautifully rendered platformer Trine and 2011’s Rayman Origins.
Image courtesy of Nintendo of America.