Long Live 2D

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Long Live 2D

Can 2D games make a comeback in a 3D world?

Read Full Article

99% of flash games are all 2D and they are on the rise in popularity.

Interesting. I'd like to see more of the kind of style that was in the first Blitzkrieg, and the first Port Royale, and Patrician. I'm not sure what it's called, but it allowed those game to have some minuscule detail, and look gorgeous, even today.

I reckon they could if people would play them not just thinking "Its not 3D therefore it sucks"

Great article as always!

And to answer your question: I want a game close to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, but with Co-op... And a bigger map. Ah yes... 2D-open-world.

I agree, Ive been parroting this a while now, I think there's a major lack of games coming out that are 2D and the major companies have little interest in doing them, like it'd be beneath them or something. What's wrong with 2D games? They were successful then and I'm sure they'd do fine now, you might not have the people depending on graphics on your boat but frankly I can't imagine that being a big group. I've spent a few bucks on some GBA games since many have the makings of a great/good 2D game that isn't trying to shoehorn in some stupid game mechanic and there's quite a few fun 2D games on the GBA.

Xvito:
Great article as always!

And to answer your question: I want a game close to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, but with Co-op... And a bigger map. Ah yes... 2D-open-world.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that game.

I also love the 2D Zelda games, they still come out on handhelds, but a console one would be excellent. I even like the 2D Capcom Zelda games on the Gameboy color.

I also loved the gameplay of Shadow Complex, I really hope some more games start using imaginative 2D games that do things like add tons of secrets, like you mentioned. Of course, I prefer 3D FPSs.

If the game is good, it doesn't matter what the graphics look like. (Look at how many people have played Tetris over and over again.)

If the game is bad then it REALLY matters what the graphics look like. (How many games have looked incredible, only to be put down after playing it a few times.)

SirSchmoopy:
99% of flash games are all 2D and they are on the rise in popularity.

Excellent point. Perhaps the theme hasn't been abandoned, but technology has moved to the point where almost anyone can make a 2D game, so the market has become saturated with mostly low quality free games.

We are just seeing the natural evolution of gaming as the technology gets better. From single screens (asteroids, berzerk, pac-man) to side scrollers (defender, moon patrol), to plane scrolling (xevious), to forced perspective (space harrier), to 2.5d like wolfenstein to modern 3d.

That doesn't mean the old tech will be abandoned, just that it will be more choices overall, even though there are less in any particular area. And as the technology gets better and better there is less of a development effort to make games in the older technology area. You can bang out a space invaders clone in Flash in about an hour if you know what you are doing. I'm sure the original assembly development took months.

I think Planescape was a bad example, because what made Planescape glorious wasn't the graphics or gameplay, which were pretty dated by the release date, but the unrivaled story. And part of the power of that game was the graphics helped the atmosphere and immersion rather than distracted from it.

2d is far from dead. World of Goo, Braid, Shadow Complex, Mega Man 9, Trine, Castlevania:OoE, Bionic Commando ReArmed are all recent, well reviewed games. How much more do you need? The background in all but Mega Man and Braid are 3d but the gameplay is all on the 2d plane.

Commandos 2 is another example of how games with 2D graphics (Commandos 2 actually had partially 3D gameplay) can be absolutely beautiful. Sure, the resolution is low because it's old, but everything else is incredible.

As for what 2D game I'd like to see revived, I really wouldn't know. A lot of the SNES games still have something similar (or direct remakes) for the GBA or DS, and I can't really think of games you haven't mentioned that are completely brilliant in 2D but could never work in 3D. (I consider Metroid an example).

Speaking of DS remakes, I thought it was incredibly unfortunate that the Fire Emblem remake featured pretty bland 3D animations instead of the beautifully hand-crafted 2D animations that came before.

I'd give my left arm for a Lost vikings reboot.

Wait, then I couldn't play it.

I'd give someone else's left arm for a Lost Vikings reboot.

thesmurf45:
I reckon they could if people would play them not just thinking "Its not 3D therefore it sucks"

I've had my fair share of run-ins with these particular woefully misled individuals. Anyone who denounces a game purely because it's 2D should be shot on sight.

I would like to see a remake of Digger, but I'm led to believe that one is already in the works and due out late September, so I guess that renders my argument moot...

Oh yeah. WOOOOOO :)

When I was nine I was afraid to play games in 3d for some reason that now escapes me.

The overwhelming majority of shoot'em ups are 2D and have remained that way all along, so obviously the prejudice against 2D is not universal.

Looks to me like platformers have been hit the hardest for no reason whatsoever. Why aren't there games reminiscent of Super Mario World on the 360 and the PS3? Even Nintendo's own consoles do not have them. The Super Mario Bros Wii they are making now is the first they've done in three freaking console generations.

Err, Shamus, where have you been for the last four or five years? 2D games are flourishing on the DS and on Xbox arcade/PSN. New Super Mario Bros? Prince of Persia redux? Bionic Commando Rearmed? Hello? Ring any bells?

Also, this article and (to a greater extent) many of the comments imply a misconception so wrong it always makes my brain hurt. They are implying that the race for high-tech 3D graphics and lost 2D games is somehow being caused by "idiot casual gamers." Actually, the exact opposite is true. Hardcore gamers are the ones demanding more graphical quality and more complex 3D games, not the casuals. Casual gamers don't give a crap about graphics or technology; why do you think they Wii is so successful?

I would love to see old beat-em-ups rebooted. I cannot name any of them, I only played them on coin-operated arcade machines when I was a kid, but they were awesome. I remember in one of them I could throw a scooter at oncoming thugs... and remember another one having cooperative mode with weird characters, a kid on rollerblades, a robot guy and some kid on a skateboard if I remember correctly...

Oh, the good ol days...

Battle for Bungling Bay... C64 old school :)
Really loved that game when I was young.

Metroid: Dread needs some love, for one.

For those of you who don't know, it's a Metroid game that's supposedly been in the works for years, a 2-d sequel to Metroid Fusion. It's not the 3-d game shown at E3; curious parties asked and got confirmation as such.

Playbahnosh:
I would love to see old beat-em-ups rebooted. I cannot name any of them, I only played them on coin-operated arcade machines when I was a kid, but they were awesome. I remember in one of them I could throw a scooter at oncoming thugs... and remember another one having cooperative mode with weird characters, a kid on rollerblades, a robot guy and some kid on a skateboard if I remember correctly...

Oh, the good ol days...

I have never played beat'em ups more than a few minutes, but I know The Punisher and Aliens vs Predator are considered to be some of the best.

Playbahnosh:
... and remember another one having cooperative mode with weird characters, a kid on rollerblades, a robot guy and some kid on a skateboard if I remember correctly....

That is dangerously close to being
Streets of Rage 3.
There's Zan, who is a cyborg, and Skate, who goes around on rollerblades. No skateboarder though...check it out regardless and see if it rings a bell!

Speaking of which, i'd love another SoR game. You just cannot do SoR justice on 3D - the style of the game calls for 2D.

And i'm seconding the notion of flash games adopting the 2D stance with games. It's just common sense to work with 2D when developing games for the first time, and yet, despite the lack of a third dimension, games such as this keeps me hooked. And anything from these guys is pretty much crack in sprite form.

A minor nitpick to the article - Prince of Persia: Sands of Time did stay somewhat true to the original Prince of Persia game in that a lot of the game play was, basically, navigating the environment and avoiding traps. The main difference was the time control mechanic, some new animations, and not having a overall time limit for the amount of time you had to beat the game before the evil Grand Vizier forced the princess to marry her (or killed her).

I'd argue that 2D graphics improve gameplay, at least for a lot of games. When I compare Super Mario World to New Super Mario Bros, there's a major difference in the way they control. While the core physics are *mostly* the same, NSMB feels much more fluid, whereas SMW feels much tighter. 2D graphics allow for per-pixel accuracy, especially in platformers and fighters, of a caliber that simply can't be emulated by 3D games, or even 2D games with 3D graphics.

P.S. Thanks

Interesting article, Shamus. I personally love 2D games, done well, so I'd be overjoyed to see more. And in writing this post, I've reminded myself - 2D games are surely not dying a slow death on DS. They're all over the place and insurmountably the best games on the platform. I challenge people to tell me that Street Fighter 4 is better than Bleach: Blade of Fate just because it's 3D instead of 2D.

The other thing I feel I should link to before I get into the responses part of my post is the lovely sidescroller for PC, Aquaria. Everyone in this thread should try the demo, at least.

Aquaria - A game by Bit Blot Studios, which proves that 2D is far from dead. Available on Steam, too.

SirSchmoopy:
99% of flash games are all 2D and they are on the rise in popularity.

Flash Games are sweet. They're indie, and they're pretty easy to make. But I've never seen a big company make a flash game. When you get small teams, or even individuals, you end up with a smaller game. Which is very often fine! But I long to see something along the lines of Metroid, again. That said, Shadow Complex did a great job of emulating that playstyle. But remember, even for 2D games, the tech has advanced. Look at Elysian Tail. I don't count Shadow Complex as a 2D game, though it does play as one. It doesn't look it, which means it costs way more than it might have had to, as pure-2D.

Elysian Tail link: http://kotaku.com/5330843/dust-an-elysian-tail-is-xnas-best-looking-game

thesmurf45:
I reckon they could if people would play them not just thinking "Its not 3D therefore it sucks"

You'd get people like that. Lots of them. But, really, a lot of people won't care. The people that go "Eww, 2D" are most likely to be your hardcore "I've clocked Modern Warfare a dozen times in the past hour" shooter guys. They wouldn't have cared in the first place about a new Mario-style game, whether or not it's in 2D.

Now, if you want a game that'd do well in 2D, let's have someone make Super Smash Bros DS. 40 Characters, 20 Maps, pure bliss gameplay. And SINGLE-CART MULTIPLAY :D

Grampy_bone:
Err, Shamus, where have you been for the last four or five years? 2D games are flourishing on the DS and on Xbox arcade/PSN. New Super Mario Bros? Prince of Persia redux? Bionic Commando Rearmed? Hello? Ring any bells?

Indeed! This is quite true, there has been a bit of a resurgance. But, I want brand new content, not Wii's Virtual Console. I want fully funded games, not arcade games designed to make some cash while the publisher waits on their next blockbuster. This is not to say that I'm -unhappy- with the current state of affairs regarding those releases, but I find myself craving more. And, you know what else would be great? SOMETHING NOT A REMAKE. They're lovely, really, but I want something more than just fanservice. How about some all-new depth?

--Fen

I think having more games made in 2D would be a great idea. Not only could game companies give more content, as stated in the article, but also be very profitable for the companies. Take Mega Man 9, for example. That game was made in complete 2D, and very similarly to the orginals, and it was a great game, and did phenomenal. A game company that could have great success in this, is Sega. They could make the next Sonic game, like the orginals, or even like Sonic Rush, which was a great game. Also, game companies with new IPs in 2D would also be an excellent idea. I know that if the game was good and fun, that it being in 2D wouldn't hamper me buying it.

I've said something about it in some other topic, but...

Shamus, when you say 2D/3D, wouldn't you mean pixels/polygons? That's more of an actual question than a rethorical one.

And yeah, the reversal of the values in "easy to learn, hard to master" is to me the major design problem facing videogames today. The philosophy behind it has been pretty much replaced by something Jonathan Blow talked about in one of his lectures, the illusion of challenge.

CoverYourHead:

Xvito:
Great article as always!

And to answer your question: I want a game close to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, but with Co-op... And a bigger map. Ah yes... 2D-open-world.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that game.

I also love the 2D Zelda games, they still come out on handhelds, but a console one would be excellent. I even like the 2D Capcom Zelda games on the Gameboy color.

I also loved the gameplay of Shadow Complex, I really hope some more games start using imaginative 2D games that do things like add tons of secrets, like you mentioned. Of course, I prefer 3D FPSs.

Actually, the cube has Zelda: 4Swords for a 2D game. It was actually rather fun (better than most Zelda games in my opinion).

That being said, I'd like to see a return of Sonic Titles in 2D but with the 3D graphics. Hell, Sonic Unleashed had that going until we had that damned Werehog f*ck the whole thing up. And, after downloading MUGEN, 2D fighters wouldn't be bad, but they'd have to be done right so they're more entertaining than the 3D ones because the 3D ones pack a lotta punch. ^_^

Shamus Young:
Can 2D games make a comeback in a 3D world?

I certainly hope 2D games can, recently one of the games that I've enjoyed playing the most,
has been the 2D platforming game Spelunky by Derek Yu.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_209/6235-Infinite-Caves-Infinite-Stories

I see no reason why there can't be both 3D games and 2D games.
If developers wanted to keep costs of production down, going 2D would help significantly.
Most of these new 2D games could also be priced at a much lower point than the average 3D game.

Whether 2D, 3D, or whatever, it would be nice to see more game designers design the mechanics of their games to serve the concept. If a game is done in 3D, there should be a reason for it to be in 3D. If it is done in 2D, there should be a reason for it to be in 2D. If there are graphics at all, there should be a reason to have graphics! The control scheme, inventory, and everything should actually receive some consideration before being included.

Take the new Prince of Persia games. Sands of Time was an absolutely wonderful game because it made excellent, clever use of everything they chose to include. The time control was marvelously integrated into the mechanics and story to create something that felt very elegant. The design of that game was tight and aerodynamic, and while the combat was a bit simplistic it only really became frustrating at a few points. The best way to remedy that would have been to actually REDUCE the number of combats in the game (instead, the sequels just kept adding a whole bunch of extra bits that became more and more absurd until the combat became more of a focus than the running and jumping, as I feel Two Thrones ended up). But instead of allowing this game to shine on its own and move on to the next inventive and interesting concept, they decided that the format was now standard, and built the next two games around that format. Warrior Within and Two Thrones were competently made, but they were stale and unnecessary. The end of Sands of Time made me smile and feel all fuzzy inside, but the end of Two Thrones made me groan with embarrassment at the self-referential shout out. It was a story that didn't need an entire trilogy to tell, but because they took the time control mechanic for granted they had to work it into the story of the other games, and while I'm sure they made money off of it, from an artistic standpoint they basically just wasted time.

Because so much is possible these days, I think it is more important than ever to choose wisely what is included, because what we choose NOT to include is often much more distinctive than all the complicated irrelevance that we focus on.

2D will probably just be for casual games, and maybe hand-held consoles. I can't see the majority of people buying a 2D game over a latest-graphics 3D one if they were next to each other on the shelf.

I also like to think that we are still attempting to approach the ultimate realistic game with complete immersion that feels exactly like the camera in the game is your eyes.

I guess what I'm saying is that 3D can learn from 2D, but these 2D and 3D games already exist in a ratio consistent with market forces (i.e. theoretically existing as much as their popularity allows).

SilverUchiha:

CoverYourHead:

Xvito:
Great article as always!

And to answer your question: I want a game close to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, but with Co-op... And a bigger map. Ah yes... 2D-open-world.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that game.

I also love the 2D Zelda games, they still come out on handhelds, but a console one would be excellent. I even like the 2D Capcom Zelda games on the Gameboy color.

I also loved the gameplay of Shadow Complex, I really hope some more games start using imaginative 2D games that do things like add tons of secrets, like you mentioned. Of course, I prefer 3D FPSs.

Actually, the cube has Zelda: 4Swords for a 2D game. It was actually rather fun (better than most Zelda games in my opinion).

That being said, I'd like to see a return of Sonic Titles in 2D but with the 3D graphics. Hell, Sonic Unleashed had that going until we had that damned Werehog f*ck the whole thing up. And, after downloading MUGEN, 2D fighters wouldn't be bad, but they'd have to be done right so they're more entertaining than the 3D ones because the 3D ones pack a lotta punch. ^_^

Oh right, right. I completely forgot about that game, it was fun. And I agree about Sonic, the 2D mechanics would make the games so much better and help bring back the glory days.

Metroid Fusion is a fairly recent game, and I frequently hold it as the pinnacle of 2D gaming.
Thats not an insult either, Fusion was AWESOME!!!

Galenor:

Playbahnosh:
... and remember another one having cooperative mode with weird characters, a kid on rollerblades, a robot guy and some kid on a skateboard if I remember correctly....

That is dangerously close to being
Streets of Rage 3.
There's Zan, who is a cyborg, and Skate, who goes around on rollerblades. No skateboarder though...check it out regardless and see if it rings a bell!

That's it! Wow, I never thought I find that game again! I remember playing it with friends in 2 player mode, you could hold your partner while he kicked double feet, and you could fling your partner at the enemy. Ha, good times :D

the1ultimate:
I also like to think that we are still attempting to approach the ultimate realistic game with complete immersion that feels exactly like the camera in the game is your eyes.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't think I WANT a game that is completely realistic, completely immersive, and that feels exactly like the camera in the game is my eyes. I feel this way for two reasons:

Firstly, I think that such a development will result in the end of civilization as we know it, because who will want to live in the crappy real world when they can live in a wondrous fantasy world? Inventing something like that will basically signal that, contrary to what happened in the movie, humans would RATHER live in the Matrix than in reality! And even though it sucks to be too hot or too cold or to get hit in the balls, I am much more optimistic about finding a meaning to life when I am living in reality then when I am living in a hollow simulation of reality that is ultra-realistic but has all consequences removed. That's the dramatic reason.

Secondly, there is a beauty to things that are not realistic and aren't trying to be. Graphics aren't necessarily 'better' because they are closer to how a photograph would look. They are just more realistic. Sometimes, more realistic is worse. For instance, would Mega Man 2 be better if it were remade to be super-ultra-realistic? Of course not! It wouldn't make any sense, because nothing in that game is the least bit realistic, and the more realistic it was made to look the weirder and more absurd it would become. But in its original form, there was a certain logic to it, a certain rhythm to it, and a certain aesthetic it possessed. There was a period in history when people thought that the pinnacle of painting was to create a picture that was indistinguishable from reality. But then the photograph was invented, and suddenly the technical demands of creating such an image were no longer valuable. The value in art instead became choosing what to show and how to show it. I believe that games will follow a similar trend, and indeed ARE following a similar trend.

Playing Prince of Persia: Sands again right now, and I must say that while its an excellent game the camera-based challenge is something I could do with a bit less of. Its just silly that running in a straight line across a room can be one of the challenges in the game, because the camera angle changes three times and the control you have to use to move changes relative to the camera each time...

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here