Will 3D ever become retro?
This is a thread I started at Games TM forum at Totalgames.net a couple of days ago. It is another 'Why 3D games s**k'-kind-of-thread but it didn't really took off over there. Here is another try:
Will 3D ever become retro? With Doom celebrating its tenth birthday this year, I have seen very few sites or magazines looking back in nostalgia at the 3D-games that have emerged since. In my opinion 3D is not retro. I have a couple of reasons for this:
- First, the 3D-genre is still evolving after all those years with games like Unreal 2 and Doom 3. The goal of developers to create am ultra-realistic looking environment means the 3D evolution can last forever -the 3D-chapter, unlike 2D, is not closed.
- Sharing a common experience: This needs a bit of explanation and is not necessarily 3D-related. Back in the eighties and early nineties the gamersbase was small and almost formed a community. Everyone knew which game was good and which one was crap. If a game was impressive, you could bet your money that everyone would get to play the game (mainly thanks to illegal copies or cracks). Mention 'Rick Dangerous' and fond memories come up by most 20+ gamers.
Nowadays the gamersbase is huge and anonymous. It will be more difficult to come up with a recent game that will be remembered fondly by many people in ten years time.
Having read the Retro-section of Games TM Issue 2, it was more than a deja-vu I experienced. Some articles have appeared in other magazines many, many years before. First, the interview with the Darling brothers/Codemasters: Zzap! had a similar article in 1991 where they looked at the history of Codemasters and their flagship series, Dizzy. The Stuntcar Racer review reminded me of an old article that appeared in Edge, August 1994. It was part of a series of retro-articles which covered games that would be ideal to be converted to Playstation, Saturn or SNES. It is no coincedence similar articles are published with so many years between: we all share a common experience.
- Lacking depth of gameplay. Lets admit it: most 3D-shooters are created to impress visually. But as years go by, the graphical 'wow'-factor wears off with only the gameplay remaining intact. At this point you will find out there is not much of involving gameplay left. Take a look at Interplay's Decent for example: back in 1995 it was heralded as a great 3D-game with an 'antigrav'-twist. Play it eight years later and you will find that shooting zillions of robots, collecting coloured keys and destroying a big end-of-level powerstation every level gets very boring indeed.
- Lack of revolutionary innovation: The number of new features added with every new 3D game appearing on the shelves are few and far between. What will be the difference between Doom (1993) and Doom 3 (2003) apart from more realistic graphics and sounds?
What are your visions about this topic?