Side-scrolling video game

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Secret Maryo Chronicles , a side-scrolling video game
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A side-scrolling game or side-scroller is a video game in which the gameplay action is viewed from a side-view camera angle, and as the player's character moves left or right, the screen scrolls with them. These games make use of scrolling computer display technology. The move from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics, during the golden age of video arcade games and during third-generation consoles, would prove to be a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. [1]


Use of side-scrolling

A common use of the side-scrolling format is in the platform game genre. Platform games are action games that feature jumping, climbing, and running through many diverse levels. Super Mario Bros. (1985) is among the most famous side-scrollers of this type.

The side-scrolling format is also popular among beat 'em ups, such as the popular Battletoads series. Side-scrolling is sometimes used in role-playing video games such as the 2D Bookworm Adventures Deluxe or the Korean MMORPG Montaro . Often in beat 'em ups the screen will scroll to a certain point then stop and require the enemies on screen to be defeated before it moves on.

Another popular use of the side-scrolling format is in the shooter genre, typified by games like R-type , and more recently Jets'n'Guns . In this game style the player usually starts with a basic ship that flies from left to right and acquires Power-ups that allow them to face an ever increasing horde of enemies. This genre traces its roots back to such fast-paced games as Defender .

With video games that use side-scrolling, often the screen will scroll forward following the speed and direction of the player character, and can also scroll backwards to previously visited parts of a stage. In other games or stages the screen will follow the player character but only scroll forward, not backwards, so once something has passed off the back of the screen it can no longer be visited. Some games have stages where the screen scrolls forward by itself at a steady rate, and the player must keep up with the screen, attempting to avoid obstacles and collect things before they pass off screen. The screen in shoot 'em ups such as R-type often side-scrolls by itself in such a way. The Mario series has used all of three of these different ways of side-scrolling.

For the most part, the screen of a side-scrolling video game follows the player character and tries to keep it near the center of the screen. Other games will adjust the screen with the character's movement, making the character off-center in the opposite direction of its movement, showing more space in front of the character than behind.

A game can use the side-scrolling mechanic without being considered a side-scrolling game. One such game is Awesomenauts, where a side-scrolling mechanic is used, but since the objective is not simply met by scrolling to the side, it is not considered a side-scroller.


Side-scrolling shooters

Sega's Bomber was a side-scrolling shooter arcade game released in April 1977. [2] Defender (1981), released by Williams Electronics, was a major breakthrough in that it allowed the game world to extend beyond the boundaries of a single static screen. Defender included a mini-map, or radar, also used in the 1980 games Battlezone and Rally-X .

In 1981, Scramble was the first side-scroller with multiple, distinct levels. [3] The art of the side-scrolling format was then greatly enhanced by parallax scrolling, which is used to give an illusion of depth. The background images are presented in multiple layers that scroll at different rates, thus objects closer to the horizon scroll slower than objects closer to the viewer. Moon Patrol is usually credited with introducing this feature in 1982, [4] though Taito's Jungle Hunt also features parallax scrolling and was released the same year.

In 1984, Hover Attack for the Sharp X1 was an early run & gun shooter that freely scrolled in all directions and allowed the player to shoot diagonally as well as straight ahead. 1985, saw the release of Thexder , a breakthrough title for platform shooters. [5]

In 1985, Konami's side-scrolling shooter Gradius gave the player greater control over the choice of weaponry, thus introducing another element of strategy. [3] The game also introduced the need for the player to memorise levels in order to achieve any measure of success. [6] Gradius, with its iconic protagonist, defined the side-scrolling shoot 'em up and spawned a series spanning several sequels. [7]

1987's Contra was particularly acclaimed for its multi-directional aiming and two player cooperative gameplay. [8] However, by the early 1990s and the popularity of 16-bit consoles, the scrolling shooter genre was overcrowded, with developers struggling to make their games stand out.

Side-scrolling racing games

Taito's Speed Race , a 1974 racing game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, featured overhead vertical scrolling. [9] Kee Games' Super Bug (1977) [10] and Atari's Fire Truck (1978) [11] have a top-down view multi-directional scrolling. Both games are black and white, though Super Bug uses a yellow overlay in the center of the screen. In 1980, Namco's color driving game Rally-X also allowed scrolling in multiple directions, and it is possible to pull the screen quickly in either direction. [12] It also features an early example of a radar, to show the car's location on the map. [13]

Activision's Grand Prix is a side-scrolling racing game for the Atari 2600 published in 1982. By 1984, there were other racing games played from a side-scrolling view, including Nintendo's Excitebike [14] SNK's Jumping Cross . [15] and Mystic Marathon from Williams Electronics, a horizontally scrolling footrace between fantasy creatures. [16]

Scrolling platformers

The first scrolling platform game was Jump Bug , a platform-shooter released in 1981. Players controlled a bouncing car and navigated it to jump on various platforms like buildings, clouds and hills. It featured levels that scrolled both horizontally and vertically. [5]

In 1984, Pac-Land took the scrolling platformer a step further, aspiring to be more than a simple game of hurdle jumping. It was not only a successful title, [17] but it more closely resembled later scrolling platformers like Wonder Boy and Super Mario Bros . It also featured multi-layered parallax scrolling. [18] That same year saw the release of Legend of Kage , [19] which offered levels that extended in all directions. Sega released Flicky , [20] a simple platformer with horizontally scrolling levels that featured their first mascot character. Namco followed up Pac-Land with the fantasy-themed Dragon Buster the following year. [21]

Nintendo's platform game Super Mario Bros. , released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, became the archetype for many scrolling platformers to follow. The title went on to sell over 40 million copies according to the 1999 Guinness Book of World Records. Its success contributed greatly to popularizing the genre during the 8-bit console generation. Sega attempted to emulate this success with their Alex Kidd series, as well as with the Wonder Boy series. The later Wonder Boy games were also notable for combining adventure and role-playing elements with traditional platforming. [22]

Side-scrolling beat 'em ups

In 1984, Hong Kong cinema-inspired Kung-Fu Master laid the foundations for side-scrolling beat 'em ups with its simple gameplay and multiple enemies. [23] [24] Also in 1984, Karateka successfully experimented with adding plot to its fighting action. It was also the first side-scroller to include cutscenes.

In 1986, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun deviated from the martial arts themes of earlier beat 'em up games and introduced street brawling to the genre. The Western adaptation Renegade (released the same year) added an underworld revenge plot that proved more popular with gamers than the principled combat sport of other games. [25] Renegade set the standard for future beat 'em up games as it introduced the ability to move both horizontally and vertically. [26]

In 1987, the release of Double Dragon ushered in a "Golden Age" for the beat 'em up genre that lasted nearly 5 years. The game was designed as Technos Japan's spiritual successor to Renegade, [25] but it took the genre to new heights with its detailed set of martial arts attacks and its outstanding two-player cooperative gameplay. [25] [27] Double Dragon's success largely resulted in a flood of beat 'em ups that came in the late 1980s, [27] where acclaimed titles such as Golden Axe and Final Fight (both 1989) distinguished themselves from the others. [25] Final Fight was Capcom's intended sequel to Street Fighter (provisionally titled Street Fighter '89), [28] but the company ultimately gave it a new title. [29] Acclaimed as the best game in the genre, [30] [31] Final Fight spawned two sequels and was later ported to other systems. [29] Golden Axe was acclaimed for its visceral hack and slash action and cooperative mode and was influential through its selection of multiple protagonists with distinct fighting styles. [32] It is considered one of the strongest beat 'em up titles for its fantasy elements, distinguishing it from the urban settings seen in other beat 'em ups. [33]

On the IBM PC

Side-scrolling was a well-known phenomenon in arcade, and various home computer and console games of the 1980s, as they often possessed hardware optimised for the task like the Atari 8-bit family [34] and Commodore 64, but IBM compatible PCs did not. Smooth scrolling on IBM PCs in software was a challenge for developers. There were a small number of PC ports of smooth scrolling arcade games in the early 1980s, including Moon Patrol [35] and Defender . [36] The second version of Sopwith , released in 1986, also featured smooth scrolling.

In 1990 John Carmack, then working for Softdisk, developed a smooth scrolling technique known as adaptive tile refresh. The technique was demonstrated in with the proof-of-concept game Dangerous Dave in Copyright Infringement, which was a clone of the first level of Super Mario Bros. 3 , but with Mario replaced by the character Dangerous Dave of earlier Softdisk games. [37] The success of the demonstration led Carmack and others at Softdisk to resign and form their own company, id Software. Id Software went on to develop Commander Keen that same year, which was the first publicly available PC platform game to feature smoothly-scrolling graphics. [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

Platform game Video game genre

Platform games are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer, the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments often feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed. The player often has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

Shoot em up Subgenre of shooter game

Shoot 'em up is a subgenre of video games within the shooter subgenre in the action genre. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives.

Racing video game Video game genre

The racing video game genre is the genre of video games, either in the first-person or third-person perspective, in which the player partakes in a racing competition with any type of land, water, air or space vehicles. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to entirely fantastical settings. In general, they can be distributed along a spectrum anywhere between hardcore simulations, and simpler arcade racing games. Racing games may also fall under the category of sports games.

A sports game is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, track and field, extreme sports and combat sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport, whilst others emphasize strategy and sport management. Some, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals and Punch-Out!!, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes. Sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history.

Action game video game genre

An action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Multiplayer online battle arena and some real-time strategy games are also considered action games.

Tomohiro Nishikado Japanese video game designer, creator of the video game "Space Invaders"

Tomohiro Nishikado is a Japanese video game developer. He is best known as the creator of the shooter game Space Invaders, released to the public in 1978 by the Taito Corporation of Japan, often credited as the first shoot 'em up and for beginning the golden age of video arcade games. Originally Nishikado wanted to use airplanes as enemies for Space Invaders, but would have encountered problems making them move smoothly due to the limited computing power at the time. Humans would have been easier to render, but management at Taito forbade the use of human targets. Prior to Space Invaders, he was also the designer for many of Taito's earlier hits, including the early team sport games Soccer and Davis Cup in 1973, the early scrolling racing video game Speed Race in 1974, the early dual-stick on-foot multi-directional shooter Gun Fight in 1975, and the first-person combat flight simulator Interceptor in 1975.

Though not a complete history, herein is a list of what many would consider most of the "game" changers that made arcade experiences so powerful and nostalgic.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker is the name of several video games based on the 1988 Michael Jackson film Moonwalker. U.S. Gold published various games for home computers, released in 1989, while Sega developed two similarly themed beat 'em up video games in 1990; one released for arcades and another released for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Master System. Each of the games' stories loosely follow the story of the film, in which Michael Jackson must rescue kidnapped children from the evil Mr. Big, and incorporate synthesized versions of some of the musician's songs.

1985 saw many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Gradius, Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.

Fueled by the previous year's release of the colorful and appealing Pac-Man, the audience for arcade games in 1981 became much wider. Pac-Man influenced maze games began appearing in arcades and on home systems. Nintendo broke from their mediocre early releases with Donkey Kong which defined the platform genre.

Cooperative gameplay is a feature in games that allows players to work together as teammates, usually against one or more non-player character opponents. In the case of video games, commonly specific reference to multiple users on separate systems entering the game of a single host user.

<i>Xenon 2: Megablast</i> 1989 shoot em up video game

Xenon 2: Megablast is a 1989 shoot 'em up video game developed by The Bitmap Brothers and published by Image Works for the Amiga and Atari ST. It was later converted to the Master System, Mega Drive, Commodore CDTV, Game Boy, Acorn Archimedes and Atari Jaguar platforms. The game is a sequel to Xenon and takes place a millennium after the previous title. The goal of the game is to destroy a series of bombs planted throughout history by the Xenites, the vengeful antagonists of the first game.

<i>Batman Forever: The Arcade Game</i> 1996 arcade video game

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game is a beat 'em up video game based on the movie Batman Forever. The subtitle is used to differentiate it from Batman Forever, another beat 'em up published by Acclaim at around the same time. One or two players, playing as Batman and Robin, fight Two-Face, the Riddler, and numerous henchmen.

Beat em up video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents

Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, though some later games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. These games are noted for their simple gameplay, a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.

Cotton is a series of shoot 'em up video games developed by Success with a history of releases both in arcades and video game consoles. With the series debuting in 1991, the Cotton games have helped to establish the visual style of shoot 'em ups sometimes called cute 'em up. Instead of warships and battlefields typical of most shoot 'em ups, Cotton games put players in control of a witch riding on a broom and tasks them with fighting through magical haunted kingdoms. Cotton games have appeared on a variety of consoles including the PC Engine, the Super Famicom, the Mega Drive, the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation, the Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the Dreamcast.

In video games, first person is any graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player's character, or a viewpoint from the cockpit or front seat of a vehicle driven by the character. Many genres incorporate first-person perspectives, among them adventure games, driving, sailing, and flight simulators. The most notable is the first-person shooter, in which the graphical perspective is an integral component of the gameplay.

A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.

Video games in Japan

Video gaming in Japan is a major industry. Japanese game development is often identified with the golden age of video games, including Nintendo under Shigeru Miyamoto and Hiroshi Yamauchi, Sega during the same time period, Sony Computer Entertainment when it was based in Tokyo, and other companies such as Taito, Namco, Capcom, Square Enix, Konami, NEC, and SNK, among others.

A vertically scrolling video game or vertical scroller is a video game in which the player views the field of play principally from a top-down perspective, while the background scrolls from the top of the screen to the bottom to create the illusion that the player character is moving in the game world.


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