RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Aug 12th 2021 at 12:00:00 PM by (EZ Racer)
Posted under Platforming, side scroller, video games, retrogaming, mario, mega man, metroid, top 20, nes

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/851390-super-mario-bros-3-nes-screenshot-it-s-full-of-pipes.png[/img]

Over the last year and a half, we've looked at the best games from a variety of systems, and in that time more than 1000 games at least got some attention. The lists focused on retrogaming, and with nearly all the lists specific to a particular system, it meant that there wasn't many opportunities to compare games between systems.

For this list, though, we've looked at the best 2D platforming games, regardless of console. Mario vs Mega Man vs Samus vs Sonic and others in a match outside the Smash Bros Universe. One of the challenges in a list like this is to decide what it includes, so the question was left open-ended. Because of this, there were some interesting choices, including what to do with games that cross genres but include heavy doses of platforming.

[img width=480 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/134597-pitfall-atari-2600-screenshot-escaping-the-bite-of-a-dangerous.png[/img]
Atari 2600 Pitfall. Often considered one of the earliest platformers

In its infancy, platforming involved getting from one side of the screen to the other, while avoiding various obstacles, by running and jumping. As the genre grew, so did the creativity and immersion behind the ways to complete levels. The popularity of characters like Mario and Sonic began with good 2D platforming. The genre influenced the NES era to the point where a glance at its library shows a vast amount of games subscribing to this formula, with mixed results.

Six RFGen members participated this month in coming up with the best 2D platformers-

EZ Racer
Disposed Hero

While there were many single vote getters, possibly due to the open for interpretation nature of the genre, there were also several consensus favorites, with one game featured on five of the six lists (and it may not be the one you think it is). There were also a few games that made the list with only a single vote, due to a very high ranking by the voter.

Plenty of great games didn't make the final cut, so if there's one you thought should be here, check the submissions page here- http://www.rfgeneration.c...topic=19578.msg280425#new

Also, we'd love to have as much participation as we can get for next month, when we look at the best of the fighting genre- http://www.rfgeneration.c...topic=19584.msg280428#new

So here we go, starting with some honorable mentions-

Cyber Shadow (28 pts)
2 votes- #16, #16

Kirby's Adventure (29 pts)
2 votes- #18, #13

Sonic the Hedgehog (30 pts)
2 votes- #16, #14

Super Mario Land 2 (31 pts)
2 votes- #15, #14

Sonic 2 (32 pts)
2 votes- #18, #11

-----And now for the Top 20-----
(Please note- The consoles listed represent original releases, as several games have had a multitude of re-releases)

20. Little Nemo: The Dream Master (36 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/85553-little-nemo-the-dream-master-nes-screenshot-title-screen.png[/img]

Released- 1990
Console- NES
2 votes (#18, #11)

18tie. Ninja Gaiden II: Dark Sword of Chaos (38 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/83301-ninja-gaiden-ii-the-dark-sword-of-chaos-nes-screenshot-title.png[/img]

Released- 1990
Console- NES
1 vote (#2)

18tie. Sonic 3 and Knuckles (38 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/691645-sonic-3-and-knuckles-windows-screenshot-title-screen.jpg[/img]

Released- 1994
Console- Sega Genesis
1 vote (#2)

17. Ninja Gaiden III: Ancient Ship of Doom (40 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/83314-ninja-gaiden-iii-the-ancient-ship-of-doom-nes-screenshot-title.png[/img]

Released- 1991
Console- NES
1 vote (#1)

16. Sonic Mania (46 pts)

[img width=640 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/975128-sonic-mania-playstation-4-screenshot-title-screen.png[/img]

Released- 2017
Consoles- Xbox One, PS4, Switch
2 lists (#11, #8)

15. Cuphead (48 pts)

[img width=640 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/905889-cuphead-windows-screenshot-title-screen.png[/img]

Released- 2017
Console- Xbox One, PS4, Switch
2 votes (#18, #3)

14. Mega Man 9 (51 pts)

[img width=640 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/341358-mega-man-9-xbox-360-screenshot-he-s-back-and-as-fit-as-ever.jpg[/img]

Released- 2008
Consoles- PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
2 lists (#15, #3)

13. Mega Man 2 (52 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/83367-mega-man-2-nes-screenshot-title-screen.png[/img]

Released- 1988
Console- NES
2 lists (#12, #4)

11tie. Donkey Kong '94 (54 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/21711-donkey-kong-game-boy-screenshot-title-screen.gif[/img]

Released- 1994
Console- Nintendo Game Boy
2 lists (#8, #7)

11tie. Contra (54 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/46308-contra-nes-screenshot-title.gif[/img]

Released- 1988
Console- NES
2 lists (#9, #6)

10. Rayman Legends (57 pts)

[img width=640 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/856373-rayman-legends-playstation-4-screenshot-moving-platforms-and.jpg[/img]

Released- 2013
Consoles- PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
2 lists (#13, #1)

9. Ducktales (60 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/439726-disney-s-ducktales-nes-screenshot-amazon-scrooge-uses-vines.png[/img]

Released- 1989
Console- NES
3 lists (#17, #15, #5)

8. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (68 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/173929-castlevania-symphony-of-the-night-playstation-screenshot-death.jpg[/img]

Released- 1997
Console- PS1
2 lists (#4, #4)

7. Donkey Kong Country (75 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/27540-donkey-kong-country-snes-screenshot-now-we-ve-really-climbed.jpg[/img]

Released- 1994
Console- SNES
4 lists (#16, #13, #12, #8)

6. Super Mario World (88 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/218715-super-mario-world-snes-screenshot-bring-a-key-to-a-keyhole.png[/img]

Released- 1991
Console- Super NES
3 lists (#7, #6, #6)

5. Mega Man 3 (90 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/a/screen/full/1/9/2/74192.jpg[/img]

Released- 1990
Console- NES
3 lists (#12, #4, #2)

4. Shovel Knight (108 pts)

[img width=640 height=360]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/735883-shovel-knight-windows-screenshot-haunted-house.jpg[/img]

Released- 2014
Consoles- 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PS4
5 lists (#20, #17, #15, #5, #2)

3. Super Metroid (108 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/546931-super-metroid-snes-screenshot-in-maridia.png[/img]

Released- 1993
Console- Super NES
3 lists (#7, #1, #1)

2. Mega Man X (124 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/116332-mega-man-x-snes-screenshot-riding-a-mine-cart.png[/img]

Released- 1994
Console- Super NES
4 lists (#12, #5, #4, #1)

1. Super Mario Bros 3 (144 pts)

[img width=640 height=480]https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/851383-super-mario-bros-3-nes-screenshot-world-5.png[/img]

Released- 1990
Console- NES
4 lists (#7, #2, #2, #1)

Final Thoughts

There are some absolute classics within the 2D platforming genre. And yes, it predictably had a lot of Mega Man and Mario atop the list. But games like Little Nemo and Rayman Legends show the genre isn't limited to only those characters. Thanks again to all who participated, and hope to see as many participants as we take down the fighting genre next month.

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Very awesome list! So happy Nemo snuck in the top 20 and very surprised to see Ninja Gaiden II and III make people's #1. Also love all that Shovel Knight love!
Kinda kicking myself for not thinking of Shovel Knight when I was coming up with my list, but glad to see it got some love. Also, there are a handful of games here that I consider more "run n gun" style, versus platformers, so it's interesting to see the definition of what a platformer is through other eyes.
@MetalFRO: yeah I LOVE Cuphead and Metal Slug, but just didn't think they fit the category for me. Glad they got some love from others

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