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Platformers make up many of my fondest gaming memories, ranging from oldies like Super Mario Sunshine to newbies like A Hat in Time and Rayman Legends. There are many things I love about them, such as speedrunning through obstacle courses and reacting against fast-paced hazards and enemies. Heck, recently I rambled about how strongly I want this genre to stick around (the answer is "a lot"). But somehow, most of those platformer memories always trace back to one particular activity: messing around in a hub world by jumping aimlessly.
It’s strange, because I never purchased these games expecting to waste time like that. Yet every now and then I feel compelled to revisit my favorite platformers for no purpose other than to bounce around and press buttons for their own sakes, because I remember enjoying that so much. And it’s no secret that I’m frequently driven by accomplishing arbitrary objectives. Why would I of all people love neglecting such objectives so much?
The straightforward answer is it means the controls are just that much fun, and by proxy, the rest of these games are fun too.