Opinion: Every Video Game, No Matter The Genre, Should Have A Jump Button

Might as well jump!

The jump button is a quintessential part of the video game experience. As proven by the success of Super Mario Bros., it is arguably the single most important factor that helped revive the video game industry in the wake of the 1983 crash.

Since then, making our digital avatars leap upwards is just as intuitive as moving and and attacking enemies. This central gameplay mechanic is prevalent in a number of genres beyond platformers, with fighting games and shooters making great use of the ability to hop around.

While a lot of gaming genres, including like simulators and tactical strategy games, do not have jumping as part of their gameplay mechanics, we believe there should be a way to incorporate jumping in one form or another.

So let’s take a look at the many jumps in video games, from advancing leaps and bounds in genre-defying games to the smallest hops in the most unexpected of places.

Hop To It

Lately, genres that don’t typically feature jumping have begun to feature it as a mechanic, and RPGs are a prime example of this growing trend. Whether they are turn-based JRPGs or more tactical Western RPGs, we have seen more jumping in these genres.

Dragon Age Inquisition, for example, introduced jumping into its gameplay, with players being able to hop to reach higher areas while exploring. Ni No Kuni infamously had an unlockable jump feature, which was basically useless as it purely served as a way to explore the world faster instead of acting as a means to reach higher areas.

Verticality is certainly important when it comes to three-dimensional video games, but genres with locked viewpoints have also innovated by adding jumping to their mechanics. Street Fighter II famously introduced air combos by adding jumping, and the Super Smash Bros. franchise is hinged entirely on being able to platform while battling.

In fact, that wasn’t the only time Nintendo flipped a genre on its head by introducing jumping. Mario Kart certainly benefitted from jumping as it provided a more interesting gameplay for players. From its original SNES incarnation to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, jumping is useful to access shortcuts and perform tricks.

Modern Jumpers

When it comes to modern titles, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first game to allow Link to jump at any time, instead of using an item like in Link’s Awakening. Combined with climbing and gliding, this truly emphasised the sense of adventure and freedom the player had when exploring Hyrule.

Similarly, in Pokemon Legends Arceus, while the player isn’t able to jump on their own, ridable Pokemon like Wyrdeer allowed the player to leap across the land. The exploration in previous Pokemon games was rigid, but Wydeer’s speed and agility allowed the player to cover so much more ground in their quest to catch them all.

While Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice introduced scaling and verticality to the FromSoftware formula, Elden Ring upped the ante with a dedicated jump button that was a boon in exploration and battle. Beyond that, the player’s trusty steed could also double jump, which paved the way for even more vertical shenanigans.

These three recent examples proved is that adding jumping as a mechanic to an already established formula is a recipe for success. Combined with a massive open world that is just as fun to explore, jumping allows a tepid game franchise to get out of its rut and become a more worthwhile experience.

Next Leap

The fact of the matter is that jumping just feels fun in video games. It opens up a new dimension for already established characters, each differentiated by the way they jump and how far a single leap can take them in the world.

So when you jump back into a game without this mechanic, it can certainly feel restrictive. For example, jumping between Elden Ring and Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin truly makes the latter a more lacklustre experience, especially when it comes to its level design.

While realistic simulators don’t necessarily need jumping in regards to the realism it is trying to achieve, even something as simple as Ni No Kuni’s unnecessary inclusion of the mechanic can make a game just a tad more fun than its contemporaries.

The God of War reboot and Hades are excellent games, but what if we could jump in them? It would certainly open up the world a lot more and make dealing with flying enemies more engaging.

We’re holding out hope for more jumping in video games, and thankfully, with the state of gaming in 2022, we can bet that there is more to come.

In This Article

Elden Ring

Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Pc, PlayStation 4
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