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A side-scrolling video game (alternatively side-scroller) is a game viewed from a side-view camera angle where the screen follows the player as they move left or right. The jump from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics during the golden age of arcade games was a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. 
Hardware support of smooth scrolling backgrounds is built into many arcade games and some game consoles and home computers, including 8-bit consoles like the Atari 8-bit family and Nintendo Entertainment System, and 16-bit consoles such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis added multiple layers which can be scrolled independently for a parallax scrolling effect.
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A common use of the side-scrolling format is in platform games. Super Mario Bros. (1985) is considered to be one of the most well-known side-scroller games. 
The side-scrolling format is also popular among beat 'em ups, such as the Battletoads series. Often in beat 'em ups, the screen will lock into place until the enemies on screen have been defeated.
The side-scrolling format can also be found in the shooter genre, such as in games like Gradius and R-type . In this game style, the player usually starts with a basic ship that flies from left to right, acquiring Power-ups which allow them to face an ever-increasing horde of enemies. This genre traces its roots back to fast-paced games such as Defender .
With video games that use side-scrolling, often the screen will scroll forward or backward following the speed and direction of the player character. In other games or stages, the screen will follow the player character but only scroll forward, not backward, so once something has passed off the back of the screen, it can no longer be visited. Some games have stages in which the screen scrolls forward by itself at a steady pace, requiring the player to keep up in order to survive; this is generally referred to as auto-scrolling. The screen in shoot 'em ups, such as in R-type, often side-scrolls by itself. The Mario series has used all three types of side-scrolling.
Typically, 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 generally adjust the camera 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 video 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 game.
Sega's Bomber was a side-scrolling shooter video game released for arcades in April 1977.   Side-scrolling was later popularized by side-scrolling shoot 'em ups in the early 1980's. Defender , demonstrated by Williams Electronics in late 1980 and entering production in early 1981, allowed side-scrolling in both directions in a wrap-around game world, extending the boundaries of the game world, while also including a mini-map radar. Scramble , released by Konami in early 1981, had continuous scrolling in a single direction and was the first side-scroller with multiple distinct levels. 
The first scrolling platform game was Jump Bug , a platform-shooter released in 1981. Players control a bouncing car and navigated it to jump on various platforms like buildings, clouds and hills. While it primarily scrolls horizontally, one section includes coarse vertical scrolling.  Taito's first attempt at a side-scrolling platformer was the arcade game Jungle King (1982), later altered and renamed to Jungle Hunt due to legal controversy over similarities to Tarzan. 
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.  Some parallax scrolling was used in Jump Bug.  It used a limited form of parallax scrolling with the main scene scrolling while the starry night sky is fixed and clouds move slowly, adding depth to the scenery. The following year, Irem's Moon Patrol (1982) implemented a full form of parallax scrolling, with three separate background layers scrolling at different speeds, simulating the distance between them.  Moon Patrol is often credited with popularizing parallax scrolling.  Jungle Hunt also had parallax scrolling,  and was released the same month as Moon Patrol in June 1982. 
Activision published two side-scrolling racing games for the Atari VCS in 1982: the biplane-based Barnstorming  and the top-view Grand Prix . By 1984, there were other racing games played from a side-scrolling view, including Nintendo's Excitebike  SNK's Jumping Cross .  and Mystic Marathon from Williams Electronics, a footrace between fantasy creatures. 
In 1985, Konami's side-scrolling shooter Gradius gave the player greater control over the choice of weaponry, thus introducing another element of strategy.  The game also introduced the need for the player to memorize levels in order to achieve any measure of success.  Gradius, with its iconic protagonist, defined the side-scrolling shoot 'em up and spawned a series spanning several sequels. 
In the mid-1980s, side-scrolling character action games (also called "side-scrolling action games" or side-scrolling "character-driven" games) emerged, combining elements from earlier side-view, single-screen character action games, such as single-screen platform games, with the side-scrolling of space/vehicle games, such as scrolling space shoot 'em ups. These new side-scrolling character-driven action games featured large character sprites in colorful, side-scrolling environments, with the core gameplay consisting of fighting large groups of weaker enemies, using attacks/weapons such as punches, kicks, guns, swords, ninjutsu or magic. 
The most notable early example was Irem's Kung-Fu Master (1984),  the first and most influential side-scrolling martial arts action game.  It adapted combat mechanics similar to single-screen fighting game Karate Champ (1984) for a side-scrolling format,  along with adapting elements from two Hong Kong martial arts films, Bruce Lee's Game of Death (1973) and Jackie Chan's Wheels on Meals (1984),   and had elements such as end-of-level boss battles  as well as health meters for the player character and bosses. 
The side-scrolling character action game format was popular from the mid-1980s to the 1990s. Popular examples included ninja action games such as Taito's The Legend of Kage (1985) and Sega's Shinobi (1987), beat 'em up games such as Technōs Japan's Renegade (1986) and Double Dragon (1987),  and run and gun video games such as Namco's Rolling Thunder (1986)  and Treasure's Gunstar Heroes (1993).  Legend of Kage  notably had levels that extend in all directions, while maintained a side-view format. On home computers, such as the martial arts game Karateka (1984) successfully experimented with adding plot to its fighting game action, and was also the first side-scroller to include cutscenes.
Character action games also include scrolling platform games like Super Mario Bros. (1985),  Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)  and Bubsy (1993).  Super Mario Bros. in particular, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console, had a significant impact on the game industry, establishing the conventions of the scrolling platform genre and helping to reinvigorate the North American home video game market (which had crashed in 1983).  It combined the platform gameplay of Donkey Kong (1981) and Mario Bros. (1983) with side-scrolling elements from the racer Excitebike and the beat 'em up Kung-Fu Master,   and was more expansive than earlier side-scrollers,  striking a balance between arcade-like action and longer play sessions suited for home systems. 
In 1984, Hong Kong cinema-inspired Kung-Fu Master laid the foundations for side-scrolling beat 'em ups, by simplifying the combat of Karate Champ and introducing numerous enemies along a side-scrolling playfield.   In 1986, Technōs Japan's Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun 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.  Renegade set the standard for future beat 'em up games as it introduced the ability to move both horizontally and vertically. 
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,  but it took the genre to new heights with its detailed set of martial arts attacks and its outstanding two-player cooperative gameplay.   Double Dragon's success largely resulted in a flood of beat 'em ups that came in the late 1980's,  where acclaimed titles such as Golden Axe and Final Fight (both 1989) distinguished themselves from the others.  Final Fight was Capcom's intended sequel to Street Fighter (provisionally titled Street Fighter '89),  but the company ultimately gave it a new title.  Acclaimed as the best game in the genre,   Final Fight spawned two sequels and was later ported to other systems.  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.  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. 
In 1984, Pac-Land took the scrolling platform game a step further. It was not only a successful title,  but it more closely resembled later scrolling platformers like Wonder Boy and Super Mario Bros. It also has multi-layered parallax scrolling.  The same year, Sega released Flicky ,  a simple platformer with horizontally scrolling levels and first mascot character. Namco followed up Pac-Land with the fantasy-themed Dragon Buster the following year. 
Nintendo's platform game Super Mario Bros. , designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, became the archetype for many scrolling platformers to follow. It established many of the conventions of the side-scrolling platform genre, and struck a balance between arcade-like action and longer play sessions suited for home systems, helping to reinvigorate the North American home video game market.  Compared to earlier platformers, Super Mario Bros. was more expansive, with the player having to "strategize while scrolling sideways" over long distances across colorful levels aboveground as well as underground. Its side-scrolling elements were influenced by two earlier side-scrollers that Miyamoto's team worked on, the racer Excitebike and the NES port of beat 'em up Kung-Fu Master.   It used the same game engine as Excitebike, which allowed Mario to accelerate from a walk to a run, rather than move at a constant speed like earlier platformers. 
Super Mario Bros. 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. 
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. 
Run and gun video games became popular during the mid-to-late 1980's, with titles such as Konami's Green Beret (1985)  and Namco's Rolling Thunder (1986).  1987's Contra was acclaimed for its multi-directional aiming and two-player cooperative gameplay.  However, by the early 1990's and with the popularity of 16-bit consoles, the scrolling shooter genre was overcrowded, with developers struggling to make their games stand out.
Side-scrolling was a well-known phenomenon in arcades, and various home computer and console games of the 1980's, as they often possessed hardware optimized for the task like the Atari 8-bit family  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 1980's, including Moon Patrol  and Defender .  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 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.  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. 
A platform game is a sub-genre of action video games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in an environment. Platform games are characterized by levels that consist of uneven terrain and suspended platforms of varying height that require jumping and climbing to traverse. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay, such as swinging from vines or grappling hooks, jumping off walls, air dashing, gliding through the air, being shot from cannons, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.
A fighting game, also known as a versus fighting game, is a genre of video game that involves combat between two or more characters. Fighting game combat often features mechanics such as blocking, grappling, counter-attacking, and chaining attacks together into "combos". Characters generally engage in battle using hand-to-hand combat—often some form of martial arts. The fighting game genre is related to, but distinct from, the beat 'em up genre, which pits large numbers of computer-controlled enemies against one or more player characters.
Shoot 'em ups are a sub-genre of action games. 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, while others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives.
A sports video game is a video game that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a video 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. The sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history.
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.
Excitebike is a motocross racing video game developed and published by Nintendo. In Japan, it was released for the Famicom in 1984 and then ported to arcades as Vs. Excitebike for the Nintendo Vs. System later that year. In North America, it was initially released for arcades in 1985 and then as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System later that year, becoming one of the best selling games on the console. It is the first game in the Excite series.
Shooter video games or shooters are a subgenre of action video games where the focus is almost entirely on the defeat of the character's enemies using the weapons given to the player. Usually these weapons are firearms or some other long-range weapons, and can be used in combination with other tools such as grenades for indirect offense, armor for additional defense, or accessories such as telescopic sights to modify the behavior of the weapons. A common resource found in many shooter games is ammunition, armor or health, or upgrades which augment the player character's weapons.
Kung-Fu Master, known as Spartan X in Japan, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up game developed by Irem as an arcade game in 1984, and distributed by Data East in North America. Designed by Takashi Nishiyama, the game was based on Hong Kong martial arts films. It is a sequel to the Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung film Wheels on Meals (1984), called Spartan X in Japan, with the protagonist Thomas named after Jackie Chan's character in the film. The game is also heavily inspired by the Bruce Lee film Game of Death (1972), which was the basis for the game's concept. Nishiyama, who had previously designed the side-scrolling shooter Moon Patrol (1982), combined fighting elements with a shoot 'em up gameplay rhythm. Irem and Data East exported the game to the West without the Spartan X license.
Wild Gunman is a light gun shooter game developed and published by Nintendo. Originally created as an electro-mechanical arcade game in 1974 by Gunpei Yokoi, it was adapted to a video game format for the Famicom console in 1984. It was released in 1985 as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with the Zapper light gun.
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.
Fueled by the previous year's release of the colorful and appealing Pac-Man, the audience for arcade video games in 1981 became much wider. Pac-Man influenced maze games began appearing in arcades and on home systems. Pac-Man was the highest-grossing video game for the second year in a row. Nintendo's Donkey Kong defined the unnamed platform game genre, while Konami's Scramble established forced-scrolling shooters. The lesser known Jump Bug combined the two concepts into both the first scrolling platform game and the first platform shooter. Other arcade hits released in 1981 include Defender, Frogger, and the Galaxian sequel Galaga.
Cooperative video game, often abbreviated as co-op, is a video game that allows players to work together as teammates, usually against one or more non-player character opponents (PvE).
Bonanza Bros. is a 3D-style, 2D side-scrolling stealth action game developed and released by Sega in 1990. It is one of the earliest arcade games powered by the Sega System 24 arcade system board. It was ported to various home systems, including the Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-CD, and several home computers.
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.
Double Dragon is a 1987 beat 'em up video game developed by Technōs Japan and distributed by Taito for arcades across Asia, North America and Europe. It is the first title in the Double Dragon franchise. The game's development was led by Yoshihisa Kishimoto, and it is a spiritual and technological successor to Technos' earlier beat 'em up, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (1986), released outside of Japan by Taito as Renegade; Kishimoto originally envisioned it as a direct sequel and part of the Kunio-kun series, before making it a new game with a different cast and setting.
The beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat against a large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, while a number of modern games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. The gameplay tends to follow arcade genre conventions, such as being simple to learn but difficult to master, and the combat system tends to be more highly developed than other side-scrolling action games. 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.
The 1990s was the third decade in the industry's history. It was a decade of marked innovation in video gaming. It was a decade of transition from sprite-based graphics to full-fledged 3D graphics and it gave rise to several genres of video games including, but not limited to, the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, survival horror, and MMO. Arcade games, although still relatively popular in the early 1990s, began to decline as home consoles became more common. The fourth and fifth generation of video game consoles went on sale, including the Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. Notable games released in the 1990s included Sonic the Hedgehog, Doom, Half-Life, Grand Theft Auto, Deus Ex, Super Mario 64, Pokémon Red and Blue, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Final Fantasy VII.
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 are a major industry in Japan. 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, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Capcom, Square Enix, Konami, NEC, and SNK, among others.
Super Mario Bros. is a platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The successor to the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros. and the first game in the Super Mario series, it was first released in 1985 for the Famicom in Japan. Following a limited US release for the NES, it was ported to international arcades for the Nintendo VS. System in early 1986. The NES version received a wide release in North America that year and in PAL regions in 1987.
what do you get if you put Sonic the Hedgehog (or any other character action game for that matter) in 3D