Is 3D dead? The Oculus Rift would say no, but Nintendo's and Sony's efforts to bring the feature mainstream haven't born much fruit. Judge for yourself by playing some of these fine 3D enabled games.
What was once an exciting talking point in game conferences and a major selling point on electronics store floors has now, effectively, died. Stereoscopic 3D is dead. While most of you readers will answer this with a (perhaps well-deserved) "good riddance," I am less enthusiastic about the feature's steady decline.
3D had the potential to be revolutionary: to literally add a new dimension to gaming during a time when gaming really needs fresh vision. Its only failing is that the people who spearheaded 3D gaming lacked the courage to really commit to it.
Nintendo released a platform completely devoted to the idea of 3D, only they refused to require that all 3DS games support 3D. Or, more precisely, they required that all 3DS games be playable in 2D mode. This meant that no developer could make 3D an integral aspect of their design. It meant that all 3DS games had 3D implemented as a secondary, gimmicky, often pointless visual trick instead of a necessary feature that transported you into the game's world. Now Nintendo is releasing the 2DS, which is basically the original DS with better online features and without hinges. It's a sad apology for making a 3D system that they could never really get behind.
Sony, in an effort to help their lagging TV division sell more hardware, pushed 3D-enabled games on their PS3. Games like Assassin's Creed III, Uncharted 3, and more artsy games like Datura were all efforts to bring 3D to the best games on their console. And, in some cases, the gamble paid off. It was nice to play Assassin's Creed in 3D. But it didn't change the experience at all. The game wasn't better for it. It didn't add anything to the drama or the gameplay. In the end, Sony's 3D efforts were even more gimmicky than Nintendo's.
So, unless the Oculus Rift changes everything, 3D is dead because Sony and Nintendo didn't have the courage or the vision to give 3D a chance to change the interactive medium. Instead, they saw it as a visual trick. And gamers reacted as they always do to gimmicky content: with skeptical interest followed by distain.
// 31 Dec 1969 04:00pm
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