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Thread: Gameplay and Design Origins Discussion Thread

  1. #61
    I possibly discovered something of big interest to me on the platformer origin front so maybe someone can help me with info. I know Frogacuda has spent time researching the genre a lot, too.

    I had previously assumed the Apple II game Smooth Max was from around 1983 or something, not historically significant but a good game anyway. I noticed on uvlist.net that it's listed as published in 1979 which would make the game way ahead of its time.

    It's a puzzle/platformer of sorts. You can't jump but you can fall down holes and control elevators. That website mentions that the author (Brad Edelman) now works at Playfirst so I emailed them a few days ago hoping that he can tell me when it was made. I haven't got a response yet.

    Anyone know anything else about the game? I can't find much info at all.

  2. I've never really seen any release date information for the game, but since the Apple IIe came out in 83, I don't think it could be earlier than that, since the game doesn't work on earlier models.

    I'm not sure I really consider stuff like that part of the platform genre, but then "platform game" was really a later concept that retroactively included a lot of of older games that may have had other influences. Before that, there was something that could be called a genre with side-view games where the player went up and down to different levels, and Donkey Kong and some other early platformers spun out from that genre, but I don't know that there really is a good name for it. I usually just call them ladder games.

    EDIT: Hmm, I did get the game to load in Apple II Plus mode (but not regular Apple II mode), although it runs very slowly. So I guess it's up in the air.
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 05 Apr 2008 at 04:14 AM.

  3. #63
    Yeah, what constitutes a platform game in its early stages is up for debate but this would still be significant for gameplay even if it's called a puzzle game. I do think it's unlikely that it's originally from 1979 but given that uvlist is usually pretty reliable, and that they knew stuff about the author, it's possible.

    As for the origin of the term "platform game" itself, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how soon it appeared although like you said, it was retro-actively applied to games. The earliest I have seen it used in a gaming mag is 1984.

  4. 84 is certainly earlier than I've found it used. I really can't find it used on any kind of marketing materials or packaging until much later. What was the magazine and what was the context?

  5. #65
    It was a Monty Mole review in the Spectrum magazine Crash.
    http://www.crashonline.org.uk/09/monty.htm

  6. Interesting. The earlier references to it that I found were also European, so that might lend credibility to the theory that the term originated there.

    Looks like the early 1983 issue talks about platforms in the context of the genre, too, though it doesn't use the term "platform game."
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 05 Apr 2008 at 01:27 PM.

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