Platformers: All The Old Clichés

You're making a platforming game, but you can't be bothered with original elements. What you need is something that's been done a hundred times before! Here's a list of all the things that you've already seen. Go on, I challenge you to make a platformer without them.


Coins, gems, bones, rings, whatever's related to the platformer. Few of them go without some kind of collectible which is widely available, sitting on the floor or floating a little. Occasionally, getting a hundred of them will buy you a life. Occasionally, pain will make you lose them.

Different bit

…and it's shockingly bad. It might be assisting a weak, defenseless, speedless man as he ambles to his destination, while hordes of bloodthirsty enemies attempt to cut his brains out. It might be you in a submarine, using up and down to avoid sea mines. Maybe a helicopter section. Maybe a jeep section. In any of these, and many more, instances, the section is rubbish. It'll have you a. dying, and b. wondering why you have to play this crap in something you thought was a platformer.

Enemies With Generally No AI

They have enough to turn around when they hit a wall, or when they would otherwise fall off their ledge. But they never think "ooh look, it's that guy, attack!". They think "gap ahead, turn left, man about to step on us, it's OK". If they're flying, maybe they'll get out a gun and shoot in any number of degrees from zero to the latest Xbox number.

Enemies With Smooth, Jumpable Heads

Usually, they have no real AI. They just walk until they touch a wall, then turn around and walk again. Their heads are very smooth and can be jumped on to kill them. Usually accompanied by a small squishing animation and the random release of a coin or one of whatever the currency in the game is.

Evil Villain

…and half the time, he's nicked your girlfriend. This guy/girl/monster will be the one that occasionally shows up to taunt you throughout the game, then at the final level try to kill you by using a series of patterns of attacks… which inevitably the player can learn and manipulate to kill the villain and save the world/girlfriend.

Game Over

Platformers tend to give you limited lives. When you lose them all, you get a GAME OVER stuffed in your face (maybe with a slightly sarcastic SORRY) and the offer to begin from the start. These ensure that nobody every sees the last third of the game.


Instant death. In later levels, require pixel-perfect leaps of faith to traverse.

Jump-Through Blocks

Usually the only form of depth seen in a platformer. You can go underneath this, and jump up and onto it. Often seen in stuff like Mario, where you're standing infront of a hill and can jump up and onto it.


Level unlocks, colour changes, infinite lives, infinite power-ups and 100% completion can lie in the simple input of a password. These can often break a game as well as make it, as two people with 100% completion could have very different effort levels.


They might let you shoot. They might let you shoot better. Flight, instant height increase, temporary invincibility, an extra hit before death and an extra life are all examples of power-ups you might find in your everyday question-mark box.


Instant death, and a perforated anus to take with you to Heaven.

That one level you cannot pass

There's always one. The most frustrating level in the entire game. Annoyingly, the more frustrated you get, the harder it seems.

Written by NAL

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