What Is a Platformer in Gaming?

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What Is a Platformer in Gaming?

You may have heard the phrase “platformer” while discussing video games, but what precisely does it mean? We’ve produced this short and simple introduction to the word platformer so you know precisely what it means and where it came from.

What Is a Platformer?

Platformer is a video game genre that focuses on the act of completing jumping tasks in order to proceed. A platformer may be either 2D or 3D, with the only basic criterion for a game to qualify as a platformer being a concentration on leaping around platforms and not fitting into another genre for any reason.

For example, although some games incorporate platformer gameplay, they are not considered 3D platformers. Consider the situation of Uncharted. This game contains platforming components as well as long-winded climbing sequences.

Despite this, most people do not consider it a platformer since the gameplay combines gun fighting, stealth, and other adventure components.

Why Is a Game Called a “Platformer?”

So you know what it is now, but how did it get its name? Simply put, platformers are games in which the player controls a figure that jumps and runs around platforms. Normally, you interact with adversaries and treasures, all of which will distract you from the running/jumping and make the game more challenging.

Platformer has also given birth to new names, such as platforming, a verb used to characterize the leaping and challenge-based gameplay common in platformer games. A game review may include “platforming aspects,” for example.

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Other Platformer Genres

As with many mediums, we often split gaming genres up into sub-genres, which is also the case with platformers. As well as regular platformers, there are several common variants that you can read more about here:

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3D Platformer

A 3D platformer is a platformer that takes place entirely, or mostly, in 3D. These games often have much more complex jumping challenges because of having more freedom of movement and exploration elements.

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This genre is a platformer with a heavy emphasis on fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay. Examples of this would be the Mega Man series or Contra games.


Platformers featuring puzzles are known as puzzle-platformers. This genre emphasizes reasoning rather than depending only on response rates, as in games like Braid.

Cinematic Platformer

Characters and movement in cinematic platformers are more lifelike. A figure in a cinematic platformer will often exhibit genuine human frailty and will have to haul oneself up onto ledges rather than leaping freely like a cartoon character.

Examples include the original Prince of Persia and Oddworld games.

So Now You Know What a Platformer Is in Gaming

You should now have a rudimentary understanding of what a platformer is. You won’t be as perplexed the next time the subject comes up in discussion. You’ll be an expert in identifying the many sub-genres as well.

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