A platform game (often simplified as platformer and sometimes called a jump 'n' run game) is a sub-genre of action video games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in an environment. Platform games are characterized by levels consisting of uneven terrain and suspended platforms of varying height that require jumping and climbing to traverse. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay, such as swinging from vines or grappling hooks, jumping off walls, air dashing, gliding through the air, being shot from cannons, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.
The genre began with the 1980 arcade video game, Space Panic, which includes ladders, but not jumping. Donkey Kong, released in 1981, established a template for what were initially called "climbing games." Donkey Kong inspired many clones and games with similar elements, such as Miner 2049er (1982).
During the peak of platform games' popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, platform games were estimated to consist of between a quarter and a third of all console games, but have since been supplanted by first-person shooters. By 2006, the genre had experienced a decline in popularity, representing a 2% market share as compared to 15% in 1998; however, the genre still exists in the commercial environment, with a number of games selling in the millions of units.
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