Reader Discussion – Can You Come Up With A Better Name For The ‘Metroidvania’ Genre?

Naming things can be hard, and often, names develop as a utilitarian way of getting a concept across. Before they were called first-person shooters, they were called “Doom clones.” When games started making death impactful by regressing all of your progress when you died, we started calling them “Roguelikes.” But “Metroidvania” might be the worst ad-hoc genre name in the industry.

“Metroidvania,” which describes games (usually two-dimensional ones), in which you explore are relatively large map with a limited number of skills, then slowly unlock new ones that let you explore larger parts of the map, really does not do the genre justice, and limits the way we think about many games which take after Metroid or later Castlevania games. So we want to know: Can you come up with a better moniker?

It’s not entirely descriptive, but I think “open-world platformer” works pretty well most of them. While it’s not 100-percent indicative of what you do in these games, it more or less describes what you can expect: Side-scrolling, platforming (some puzzle-solving is implied here, right?), and exploring. While “open-world” might conjure up images of larger worlds, when connected to the world “platformer” I think it properly encapsulates the expectations of the genre.

Can you come up with a better name than that (I’m sure you can!)? Let us know in the comments.