Platform games have been among the biggest console games since the 1980s. Then they were flat two-dimensional games, most of which were usually side scrolling. Today platform games on the modern consoles such as the Wii U, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are mostly 3D with a multitude of cameras. There are a few great platform game series that include both 2D and 3D titles.
Super Mario Bros kick-started platform games on the NES. This 1980s platform romp was the first to star Mario, Luigi Bowser and Princess Peach. It was among the first side-scrolling platform games of its period, and that is what set it apart from arcade Mario Bros titles and others such as Donkey Kong. Mario jumped through the levels to rescue Princess Peach.
After this first title, the Mario franchise flourished and remains among the biggest series today. Nintendo has included Mario titles on all its console, with Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES, Super Mario World on the SNES and Mario 64 on the N64. Then Nintendo added a whole new dimension to the franchise with Mario 64, as that was the first 3D game in the series.
Mario 64 enthralled fans of the series, and there have been a few more 3D Mario titles that have followed it. The Mario Galaxy titles are the most recent on the Wii, but New Super Mario Bros has also been a notable alternative that returned to the original 2D format. Nintendo launched New Super Maro Bros 2 as a sequel for the 3DS.
Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of the series with a limited edition Wii console, and plenty of Mario nostalgia on the anniversary website. Mario holds the record as the biggest console series on any platform. With further Mario titles confirmed for the Wii U, there's plenty more in store for the franchise.
Sonic the Hedgehog
In the early 1990s, Sonic the Hedgehog first emerged on the SEGA consoles. Starring the super fast hedgehog Sonic, this title soon emerged as one of SEGA's best titles. In this platform game Sonic picks up rings on every level, or zone, in pursuit of the Chaos Emeralds to defeat Robotnik. It was their alternative to Mario, and the Sonic series quickly emerged as SEGA's biggest.
Sonic began as a 2D platformer on the Genesis, given the limitations of the hardware of the time. However, SEGA's 3D game consoles had their own Sonic games such as Sonic Adventure. After the demise of SEGA's consoles, Sonic starred in further titles on other consoles such as the Wii, Xbox and PlayStation. With a total of 16 games of the series to date, alongside other Sonic spin-offs, this platform franchise has more titles than most.
Prince of Persia
One of the few DOS/Window platform game series that has had any notable impact is Prince of Persia. This is a swash buckling platform game, set in Persia, that was first set out over various levels within Jaffar's dungeons and towers, which the prince must pass through to rescue the Sultan's daughter. On each of these levels the prince had to defeat the various guards to reach Jaffar. Certainly, this was no Mario clone that first emerged in the late 1980s.
The original trilogy gradually expanded until the late 1990s with Prince of Persia 3D. This was followed by a variety of additional titles such as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and most recently The Forgotten Sands. Such titles reworked and rebooted the series on a variety of consoles. It is also one of the few game series that has had its own film with Sands of Time.
These are three great platform game series. Since the 1980s these games have continued on a variety of console formats, and have a multitude of fans in Europe, America and beyond.