That’s debatable: Is 3D the only way to success?

People got a bit hot under the collar yesterday in London when I got up to debate the future of social games at Social Gaming and Virtual Goods World.  The topic: Will 3D be necessary for social game success, or will good, simple game-play be enough?  I championed gameplay and emphasized the fact that engagement is key in social games, and engagement is best done through story, rather than just art.  Of course, I’m a little biased.  We concluded that 3D games will become more common, but in the end, good games will win out, if properly marketed.

One attendee suggested that 3D killed the adventure game.  What’s your take on how 3D impacted more hardcore games with the advent of Playstation?


Filed under Announcements, Games

2 responses to “That’s debatable: Is 3D the only way to success?

  1. My favorite game of all time is Master of Magic; I still play it occasionally. (It’s like Civilization…but with magic.)

    I think certain game types just work better in 2D. Turn-based strategy games like Master of Magic, Master of Orion 2…or “building” type games like SimCity. Galactic Civilizations 2 is another game like this; it has 3D graphics but 2D gameplay. It’s kind of cool to see your ships flying around, rendered in 3D, but really the GAME is 2D. And of course, there’s Dwarf Fortress…

  2. thomasgiu

    3d itself didn’t kill the adventure game. However, as gaming hardware became more capable, it became possible to develop visually stunning action games, whereas in the past, gorgeous visuals were only practical in adventure games. This allowed non-adventure games to compete with adventure games on a visual level. However, the influence of adventure games can still be seen in the RPGs and survival horror games of the 3d era. Recent 3d games like “Heavy Rain” and “LA Noir” bear a strong resemblance to classic adventure games, which makes it strange to read the praise and criticism for their “innovative” gameplay.

    The majority of 3d games feature only 2d gameplay. 3d games that make significant use of all 3 dimensions tend to be shooters, platformers, or vehicle simulators. Many popular 3d games like “Dragon Age,” “Starcraft II,” and “World of Warcraft” would not be radically different in how they play if they were made in 2d instead.

    While I share the opinion that story is the most engaging part of gameplay, I assert that good story may not have anything to do with good writing, depending on the game. Many players post YouTube videos of outrageous stunts they come up with in the games they play. They are obviously highly engaged by this process of telling their own story of discovery and creation, yet these stories are not scripted by any writer. In some cases, they are not even anticipated by any designer.

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