The Best Platformers in the History of Gaming

It may be hard to imagine for today’s gamers, but there was a time when 3D was seldom ever used in video games. One of the largest family of games played on generations of computers and consoles were platformers and side scrolling games. And these games sometimes had stories, backgrounds, visuals or gameplay exciting and unique enough to make it into the history books of gaming (if there was such a thing). These games are not easy to come by today – most of the greatest ones were built to run under DOS (it was the operating system used before Windows) – and although some of them are adapted to today’s software, finding them is not as easy as to sign up at So, without further ado, here is the list of the most iconic platformers of history, some of which are still waiting for a game to beat them.

1 Another World

First released in 1991, Another World (sometimes also called Out Of This World) is not what you would call a visually appealing game. Its graphics mostly consists of polygons filled with solid colors – but it still manages to offer its players a convincing (and sometimes amazing) backdrop against which they can immerse in the game’s story. Because the game has a great story to tell – that of a scientist being dragged out of this world by an unexpected event involving a particle accelerator, and taken into another one, filled with mysteries to explore – and dangers to evade.

The game was released in 1991 on DOS, and later made it to every single gaming platform, including the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

2. Heart of Darkness

Released at a later time, Heart of Darkness never ceases to amaze me with its graphics. The story is more playful than the above, but still involves another world: Andy’s dog, Whyskey, is kidnapped by an unseen creature during a solar eclipse. Andy, who is afraid of the dark, embarks on an epic journey to rescue his friend – and where else could his path take him than to the Heart of Darkness, a realm inhabited by creatures of the dark and ruled by the Master of Darkness himself.

Heart of Darkness was one of the most beautiful platformers of its time – but not the most beautiful. That distinction is reserved to another title – involving, again, another world:

3. The Oddworld series

The Oddworld is an alien planet, ten times the size of Earth, serving as a backdrop for several games. The planet is inhabited by several species on several different levels of development. The mudokons live in harmony with nature – they are spiritual creatures as opposed to the Glukkons, who exploit nature for profit, and the Sligs, the fearsome armed guards of the world. Abe is a mudokon who gets the task to free the spirits of the ancients – and this results in Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus, two of the most beautiful and intriguing (and sometimes exasperating) platformer games of history.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was first released in 1997 for Windows, followed by several other titles in the series up to the Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty!, released last year as a “ground-up remake” of the original game on PS4, Windows, Xbox One, Linux and OS X.