The kiddy-genre: Platformers

Before i start, please go watch this wonderful video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOh968qao74

Now, take a deep breath, wipe away the tear of joy that started growing when you were reminded of the great time you had with Super Mario Galaxy. Okay.

The clever choice of music combined with the shown scenes made me think about something. That is, why are there only kiddy platformers out there? Not kiddy in terms of gameplay, but looks, i mean. If you take a look at that genre you´ll realize something shocking: Mario, the nice plumber man, is the most mature platformer-character when it comes down to pure appearance. You have Jak, Ratchet, Crash Bandicoot, Rayman, Tak and the likes…but all of them look even more cartoonish and goofy than Mario. That had me think:

Where are the mature platformers? Platformers that take the awsome gameplay of a 3D-Mario-game, but put it into a mature, more realistic setting. I´m not even talking about Gears of War-guys jumping around, now that would be silly. But how about, instead of some abstract cartoon-character, you let me take control over a sympathic, well-designed anime-character. You know, that 08/15-, standard-adventure-hero-boy. Like…him:

VyseAnd instead of jumping in abstract levels, you create a realistic world, that works both as living world AND “jump-around-and-show-some-skill”-world. I mean, if nothing else, you could always approach the story like Virtua Fighter: Cyber Quest and have the main character enter some virtual world, where there could be as abstract levels as in those Mario-games.

Why all that would matter, you ask? Well, for one, i have more fun when i´m playing as a character i like. Secondly, i think platformers are, together with action-adventures, THE genre that gives the player a great deal of interactivity. And i´d love to experience such interactivity in a game that goes beyond cartoonish and goofy behaviour. And in case someone feels the need to name them, let me do it first: Prince of Persia and Mirrors Edge just arent platformers in the vein of a Mario-game. The latter is completely different, while the former is more of a climb-game than a jump´n run/platformer. No, give me a non-cartoonish-character that can use a double or triple-jump, that makes a wall-jump, and what not else. Though present it in a rather cool than goofy way. Personally, that´s what i´d always hoped a new Kid Icarus-game could become. A combination of Zelda´s epic presentation and Mario´s move repertoire.

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