A platform game is a video game which requires an avatar to jump to and from suspended platforms or over obstacles. The player must control these jumps to avoid the avatar falling from platforms or missing necessary jumps. The most common unifying element in the platform video game category is a jump button; other jump mechanics include swinging from extendable arms or bouncing from springboards or trampolines. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform.
Platformers originated in the early 1980s, and 3D successors were popularized in the mid-1990s. Because of the technical limitations of the 80s, early examples were confined to a static playing field, generally viewed in profile. The term itself describes video games where jumping on platforms is an integral part of the gameplay, and came into use some time after the platform game genre had been established, but no later than 1983. However, it is not a pure genre and is very frequently coupled with elements of other genres, such as the shooter elements, adventure elements or the RPG elements.
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At one point, platform games were the most popular genre of video game. At the peak of their popularity, it is estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of console games were platformers. No video game genre either before or since has been able to achieve a similar market share. As of 2006, the platform game genre had become far less dominant, representing a 2 percent market share (compared to 15 percent in 1998), but is still commercially viable, with a number of games selling in the millions of units. Since 2010, a variety of "endless running" platformers for mobile devices brought renewed popularity to the Platform category.