Difference between revisions of "Platform shooter"

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| ''[[Contra]]'' || 1987-02-20 || [[Konami]]
| ''[[Contra]]'' || 1987-02-20 || [[Konami]]
| ''[[Contra (NES)]]'' || 1987-02-20 || [[Konami]]
| ''[[Contra (NES)]]'' || 1988-02-09 || [[Konami]]
| ''[[Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story]]'' || 1986-12-19 || [[Nintendo]]
| ''[[Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story]]'' || 1986-12-19 || [[Nintendo]]

Revision as of 12:49, 28 August 2019

A platform shooter, often referred to as a run and gun, is a genre of video game which became very popular in the mid-to-late-1980s. It is a hybrid platformers and scrolling shooters where the player controls a character on the screen which shoots projectiles at enemies while avoiding their fire and advancing across a map — like a scrolling shooter, and the player's character is gravity-bound and must jump over obstacles to onto platforms — like a platformer. Famous archetypes of the platform shooter genre include Contra and Metal Slug.

Many gaming databases use the term "run and gun," but I prefer "platform shooter" because it more accurately distinguishes the game's mechanic from its theme. For example, Gun.Smoke is typically referred to as a run and gun since your character runs on the ground and shoots a gun, but mechanically it has far more in common with a scrolling shooter like Gradius than a platform shooter like Contra. Also, many gaming databases don't distinguish a platform shooter from a traditional shooter, but, in my opinion, the inclusion of gravity and jumping is a significant enough change in game play to warrant a distinction.

One of the first games to mix elements of scrolling shooters and platformers is Moon Patrol in 1982. You move along the ground, jump over pits, and shoot at enemies. However, unlike subsequent platform shooters, scrolling is still forced on the player rather than letting the player control the rate of advancement and there are no platforms beyond the lunar surface to which the player can jump.

Because the platform shooter is a hybrid genre, there is some overlap between it and more "pure" platformers or shooters. Shinobi, for example, ticks all the boxes of a platform shooter, but it also uses close-quarter combat when enemies are close to the player's character, making it similar to a beat 'em up. Also, as hardware improved, more complex elements were added to the platform shooter genre like exploration and storytelling. Games like Metroid and Blaster Master have the basic platformer shooter elements, but are expanded into the Metroidvania genre.


This is a list of platform shooters that are important to me:

Title Released Developer
Bionic Commando 1987-??-?? Capcom
Contra 1987-02-20 Konami
Contra (NES) 1988-02-09 Konami
Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story 1986-12-19 Nintendo
Mega Man 1987-12-17 Capcom
Mega Man II 1988-12-24 Capcom
Mega Man III 1990-09-28 Capcom
Moon Patrol 1982-??-?? Irem
Rolling Thunder 1986-12-?? Namco
Shinobi 1987-??-?? Sega
Super C 1990-02-02 Konami
Wrath of the Black Manta 1989-11-17 A.I