Top 20 Scrollers
After weeks of deliberation and debating, Game Observer has finally selected its official Top 20 Side-Scrollers of all time!
No, it’s not an original topic. Yes, it’s been done before, by countless game sites. So why should Game Observer spend time making a list as mundane as Top Twenty Scrollers? Interesting you may ask. First, such lists are fun to read. Second, they sometimes introduce readers to hidden gems. Third, they define the site in question by showing the editing team’s knowledge and preference in games. These lists are biased, after all, so seeing which games we picked or omitted will tell you a bit about us.
Before we begin, we feel it is important to define the nature of this topic. Initially, the list was supposed to be about top side-scrollers but there was some debate over what defines a side-scroller - it’s not always obvious. For instance, action in many old games scrolled from top-to-bottom, like in Spyhunter or Kid Ikarus. Others had horizontal and vertical movement, like Metroid. Most Beat ‘em Ups had depth movement, and so on. In light of that, we will simply call our games “scrollers” - fewer headaches.
The following list also contains games from various genres: Beat ‘em Ups, Platformers, Shooters, Action RPGs, Adventure games, etc. Scrollers are by no means a genre, but they do define a gaming era. They represent a cross-section of games where much of the level was hidden away from view only to be revealed by movement. This limited the action to “surprise-reaction” gameplay, which was prominent from the 80’s to mid 90’s. Games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man or Dig-Dug are not included on this list because they gave players an entire view of the level, turning the playing field into something of a puzzle (yes, we just called those games “puzzles”).
What criteria were used to select the games? Technical achievement, overall quality, lasting appeal, popularity, timing (some games were involved in memorable feuds), and fun - basically what the games offered at the time. The list was supposed to be a Top 10, but with so many great titles out there we wanted a more exhaustive list.
So without further ado, here are our Top 20 Scrollers!
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