A Platform game (or platformer) is a video game which involves guiding an avatar to jump between suspended platforms and/or over obstacles to advance the game. The player controls the jumps to avoid letting the avatar fall from platforms or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternative like swiping in touchscreen. Jumping, in this genre, may include swinging from extendable arms, 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.
Platform games originated in the early 1980s, with 3D successors popularized in the mid-1990s. The term itself describes games where jumping on platforms is an integral part of the gameplay and came into use after the genre had been established, no later than 1983. It is not a pure genre; it is frequently coupled with elements of other genres, such as the shooter elements in Contra, the adventure elements of Flashback, or the role-playing game elements of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.