Unfortunately, it seems that there are really no side-scrollers left in the world.
The good old fashioned Castlevanias, original Ninja Turtles, Super Metroid, Double Dragon, Sonic, Mega Man, and so many other great classics have all but disappeared. Perhaps they exist in the form of rarified, off-beat exclusively PSP and downloadable games. But for the vast majority of the gaming world they seem to be going extinct at an alarming rate.
Which, to me, is rather strange. I would think that it's the perfect genre for the digital world. Not incredibly difficult to make, doesn’t have to be particularly fancy and can still be tons of fun. Huge bang for your buck as they always and perhaps surprisingly contained quite a bit of replay value. Has the player base changed so much that they just wouldn’t be profitable? Sure, we see them pop up now and then but in truth, this used to be a massive genre with rabid fans. As soon as Castlevania went 3D, I felt the tide turning and possibly saw it as the end of side scrollers. And in reality its slow demise began well before that. Will future generations grow up saying, "what’s a side scroller?" So, I guess my question is, what happened? Where did it all go and where did all the fans go?
And with technology as it is today we could do very cool RPG side scrollers. TIme effected environments, all sorts of hidden rooms and secret stashes of gold or weapons guarded by complex puzzles. Absolutely massive map with inside and outside environments and fast-travel points. Different climate zones with different enemies. You could have a much more in-depth experience than was ever offered before. Maybe that detracts from the enjoyment of the classic side-scroller but as far as I’m concerned it’s not the simplicity of it. It doesn't have to be simple, it’s just a whole different type of gameplay that I find myself missing quite frequently.
Come on! Mario?! Hello? One of the very roots of gaming itself and yet the entire genre is going the way of the dinosaurs? There’s so much that could be done with this; I just see it as a complete waste of one of the longest lived and most fun play styles ever invented. I can’t be the only one who has asked these questions or noticed the side-scroller's quiet decline. So, what do you think?
Related Game(s): Castlevania, metroid, mario