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Considering the fact that this type of gameplay was entirely invented by Metroid alone, and Castlevania merely copied the idea, the term "Metroidvania" does a disservice to Metroid by sharing the credit with Castlevania. This style of gameplay is merely Metroid-style, not part Metroid, part Castlevania. In fact, Castlevania didn't even use Metroid-style gameplay until it was many years and many games in. For these reasons, it's my view that the term is nonsensical and needs to be changed to simply "Metroid" gameplay.
I... don't think the quote works here. It does nothing to say what the genre is other how one game was inspired by another.
It's funny though.
Is The Legend Of Zelda really an example? I suppose if Cave Story is considered a Metroidvania, it counts, but I really don't see why it isn't just Action-Adventure. It has secrets and sidequests, yes, but so do most Action-Adventure games. Perhaps it can be described as a "borderline Metroidvania" like Cave Story and Iji?
Blargh, I think the solution is to just clean up the article to get a more solid definition. We have way too much confusion/conflict over it right now.
Get Sword. Sword your way open to the Temple of Bomb. Bomb your way open to the Temple of Hookshot. Hookshot your way open to etc.
You can say the same for any Action-Adventure game. What a lot of people seem to be forgetting about this page is that you need to think about what separates this subgenre from the supergenre. And what does, really? Action-Adventure games often have tool-based progression of some sort, so you can't really use that alone. Zelda has more of an emphasis on exploration perhaps, but it is still very linear despite that, which seems to be the only trait people will agree on that Action-Adventure games tend to have and Metroidvanias do not.
Again, I think we should just add a "borderline example" tag, like Iji or Cave Story.
I agree that Zelda has no place on here. The main reason is because it is very dungeon based. With a couple of exceptions, you have to tackle the dungeons in a specific order, and each dungeon is in itself self-contained with a single item and no reason to return after having beaten the boss. Progression in the overworld is also done as much by story events and character interaction as it is by getting new items.
More crucially, however, is this: if you accept Zelda into the definition, then pretty much any Action-Adventure can be accepted, including the legion of Zelda imitators. Beyond Good and Evil. Okami. Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. Even RP Gs like the Paper Mario series have the Zelda style of progression. This would be harmful, as the term Metroidvania is used to describe a specific type of game which is separate from the Zelda mould. There's a reason why the term "Zelda-clone" is used to describe Okami and the like whereas Metroidvanias are seen as rare-enough that most would be pushed to name any outside of the two titular series.
So, what defines Metroidvania for you?
For me, it's the presence of all four factors:
Each of those four must be present in some manner, though they do not need to be exclusive. The odd "kill four bosses so I open a portal for you" is fine. One or two areas (with, hopefully, no pickups) that cannot be returned to are fine. Having a few detached places only accessible by Portal Network is fine. As long as all four are present in a significant amount, the game is a Metroidvania to me.
I... Disagree with most of those.
I don't require Tool Based Progression - A lack of actual broken bridges, as opposed to terrain features you can't yet navigate across. By implication of not requiring tool based progression due to having no requirement for broken bridges, I don't agree that Area Extension Based Gameplay is a requirement - Those are simply common features to prevent the player going off and playing with the Final Boss before they've played the game.
Area persistence, exploration based gameplay, stageless construction - All of which come down to creating a solid sense of place throughout the game - Are the primary factors that define the genre to me, non-linearity and sequence-breaking are an emergent property of those, Area extension based gameplay is basically a tool to allow for the developer to design linear games within this inherrently non-linear framework (And not implementing that via Tool Based Progression is an anti-thesis to the metroidvania framework, but a lack of tool based progression itself doesn't indicate a game isn't a metroidvania...
...And, weirdly, I struggle to not consider Cave Story to be Metroidvania despite it having almost none of what I consider the core features of a Metroidvania. But then, I doubt any genre has hard and fast rules of what is and what isn't an example, the rules are just generalizations.
I think that Cave Story could probably be defined as a "borderline Metroidvania" like Iji or Monster Tale. It has secrets, pickups, and area persistence, but is quite linear, something that is rather important since it's the main distinguishing feature from a normal Action-Adventure game.
Not to knock the image that's currently on this page, but perhaps the picture from here: http://projectakimba.blogspot.com/2010/09/metroidvania.html would work too?
But that doesn't really help describe the trope.
I suggest renaming this trope on the following grounds:
Too opaque - "Metroidvania" is meaningless to people who have never heard the term before before.
Too limiting - ones of the reasons for the genre's noted vagueness is that the terms of inclusion are based on similarity to Metroid/Castlevania.
Besides these, there is the term itself, "tacky and generally pretty much useless" neologism that it is. It's even vaguely derogatory, though I think we've all just gotten used to that.
My suggestion: Exploration Platformer.
Yeah, if nothing else, I'm kind of bothered by the fact that half the title is from a game series with this as its most recognizable trait, and the other half is from a series that became this after eleven years of linear platforming, at a point when 2D games had already become a niche market, and didn't really stick with it afterward.
Well the problem is that this is basically the most common term for this at this point.
Also, the games need not be platformers. The Zelda games are basically metroidvanias but with the RPG-typical top-down perspective.
Once upon a time, I tried to start this article on Wikipedia. I chose the name "non-linear exploration game". It was of course shot down there because it was "original research", which is a big no-no on The Other Wiki. But you decide whether that name is a better idea.
Against. The term is ingrained in gaming vernacular, apt, and neat.
"Metroidvania" is easier to remember.
Against - Metroidvania is the a commonly used, generic, term for the genre. Just because the genre is defined by similarity to Metroid and Castlevania isn't a reason to try and rename the trope, anymore than the (at least as vaguely defined) Roguelike genre should be renamed Tactical Dungeon Exploration Simulation.
Agreed with the change. "Explorable platformer" sounds better. "Metroidvania" is a stupid term and Jeremy Pariah should be ashamed for coining such a stupid genre label (if he really did so).
"Exploration platformer" would've been great — if people hadn't got "Metroidvania" into their heads first, stupid-sounding term as it is. Maybe we should call third-person cover-based shooters "Unchargears" while we're at it. Hey, did you hear about the awesome new Unchargears coming out next month?
It's not getting changed.
It seems to me that a lot of people aren't paying attention to the core tenants of Metroidvania. Do titles like Kid Icarus and Sonic Adventure really have the ability progression that's central to this style of game? A lot of people seem to be thinking Metroidvania just means "side-scrolling open world," when it's a lot more than that.
Basically, I'm just wondering if this page could use some cleanup. People who have played the games in question need to figure out just how Metroidvania-like a game is, and whether or not it should stay. Off the top of my head, Mega Man Zero and Pitfall II don't really fit, but I'm not as familiar with a lot of the other dubious examples, and I don't want to start cutting off sections of the page wholesale without discussing this first.
As the article notes, the definition of this style is rather notoriously vague, with some requirements ranging from very few (open-ended or revisitable play world opened in chunks) to very many (2D open-ended well-connected platformer with powerups that let you explore more of the map and with opportunities for sequence breaking).
That subjectivity is exactly what I'm trying to address. I don't want to force my views on anyone, though. How about this: we divide the page into multiple categories, depending on how many of the bullet points they follow. Off the top of my head, we could do direct clones of Castlevania or Metroid (Shadow Complex, Arkham Asylum), games that are mostly Metroidvanias but are split into multiple stages (Tails Adventure, Demon's Crest), linear games that give you abilities you can use to get items earlier in the game (The Legendary Starfy, Brave and the Bold), and games with a non-linear, open world, but no ability gain (I Wanna Be the Guy, Mega Man Zero). That's all I can think of right now, but we could certainly do more.
I only bring this up because a lot of people, myself included, use this list as, well, a list of games to look into. It's a great way to find gems like Shantae, but when people start lumping Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and Spider-Man GBC together (one lets you gain abilities to help you explore, the other just has a big, open city), it can get confusing. It just seems that a list called "Metroidvania" should distinguish between stuff that resembles Metroid and Castlevania, and stuff that doesn't.
Feel free to go ahead and start categorizing them. Would be nice if you could make a gigantic table out of all these, but I'm not sure the Wiki software makes that easy.
What kind of table?
I meant a table where each column is one possible Metroidvania characteristic (e.g. "interconnected level design", "2D", "platforming", "use powerups to access new areas", "continuous map", etc.), and each line is a game, with checks in the right columns.
...Has this idea been dropped? Sorry for necroposting, but it sounds like a very good idea and I would highly appreciate it. "Metroidvania" seems like such a broad term that people use it for games that I don't really consider Metroidvanias (for me, it doesn't make sense to call it a Metroidvania if it's linear — in that case, it's just an Action-Adventure).
I still like the idea, but to be perfectly honest, it's beyond my scope, and I imagine a lot of people feel the same way. There's a lot of games on this page now, and trying to determine which criteria each and every one of them does and doesn't fit would be a monumental undertaking. Just doing the ones we do know would result in a lot of games being left out, not to mention the subjectivity in the ones we do know (Cave Story being a big one; from what I've heard, it only has one exploration-based power-up). It could still happen, but it'd be a big effort, probably one with multiple people working together.
Cave Story is unambiguously Metroidvania. I don't think there's any question about that one.
Should we make this page into an actual index? I'd say it's a viable genre.
I say yes.
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