More than 25 years ago, Nintendo essentially saved the entire video games industry with the introduction of Super Mario Bros. on their flagship console. It was a platformer: a game in which a character must run or jump onto platforms and over obstacles, dealing with enemies all the while. It's a simple premise, and one virtually run into the groin in those halcyon 8-bit days. As time went on, though, increased graphics and processor capacities allowed game developers to make things more real. Characters don't just run and jump; they shoot, they have feelings, they have sex, and so on. The gaming era dominated by platformers has come and gone, but the genre lives on (in large part thanks to the many Mario titles Nintendo pumps out every year). Our favorite plumber's not the only one keeping the dream alive, though; we've seen enough innovative titles popping up over the past few years to make the so-called "next generation" of gaming a platforming paradise. With LittleBigPlanet 2 hitting shelves last week, there's no better time to think back on some of the latest and greatest in the genre for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, and iPhone. We reluctantly narrowed down our list to 50 games that do the platforming spirit proud. (Hit A to) Jump in!

By Troy Mounis

Note: In the interest of spotlighting a few lesser known games, we've restricted this to games which predominantly employ platforming. No Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, or God of War here, but check out our "Top 10 Platforming Sequences" list later this week!

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