For modern day games to the classic 8-bit platformers, games have always had plot and other features such as characters, sounds, enemies,etc. The first ever game created was in 1958, by a physicist named William Higanbotham, it was “Pong”, even though it doesn’t have a complex story such as Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy, it does still have a plot, which is to hit the pong ball the most and achieve the highest score out of both of the players (AI or another player).
Some of the classic 8-bit video games managed to get more of a story rather than an objective but a couple of examples of this are Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog- these two games were made around the 1980s, a good couple of decades after “Pong”.
Donkey Kong was made in 1981 and the characters consist of Donkey Kong, Mario and Princess Peach- Mario being the protagonist and Donkey Kong as the antagonist. The objective of this game is to rescue the princess (Peach) from going through different levels, jumping from platform to platform whilst avoiding the barrels being thrown at Mario. The controls of Donkey Kong and very crisp in the sense that the is no delay one i click a button, Mario doesn’t slide around the map, unlike Sonic who tends to move even when I let go of the controller. On the other hand games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros have much larger levels and there’s areas which can be explored in stead of having the whole map on the screen, however I do like the simple design of this platformer, it’s easy to see what possible ways Mario can go and there’s nothing distracting me from the game, in the background. Having the game being minimalistic is very useful because Donkey Kong can be very difficult considering the only checkpoint i when you complete a level and Mario only has 3 lives and if they are lost then the game restarts. Something that makes this game more competitive is that there there is a leaderboard that tallies up the points that you collect during the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog is another classic 2D platformer, that was published to the public in 1991, ten years after Donkey Kong and five years after the first Mega Man game (1987). This 2D platformer as well as Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda started to bring in more AI features and side swiping background, so then there was more places to explore and items to interact with. Sonic the Hedgehog is slightly difficult to control considering the character slides around the environment a lot and there are many items with in the game that can cause damage to the protagonist.Other than those features, I do enjoy playing this video game as it has a lot of nostalgia for gamers of today, additionally this games bring in the factors of surprise and upgrades which could either make the game more challenging or easy for the player. This particular game of Sonic the Hedgehog only consists of the characters Sonic and Dr. Robonik a.k.a Eggman, whereas in the newest games we see new characters like Shadow, Tales, Knuckles, Rosy, etc.
Just from looking at these two games we can see that a lot of factors had changed with in a few years, features such as side swiping maps, enemy bots, upgrades had been introduced to entice the player more- we see quite a few of these features commonly used in modern day platform puzzle games such as Ori and the Blind Forest and Unravel, two indie games that have made very big success with using old features. However games are still released to this date where there are not as many features, like Minecraft (even though it’s not 2D) and Rayman Legends- bringing back the difficulty in video games where if you die you have to restart from the beginning of your game.