Title: Side-Scrolling Games: Why They're Dying, Why They Needn't Die, and What We Can Do to Keep Them Alive
Posted: June 23, 2007 (11:27 AM)
I have sighted a disturbing trend of late: there are little-to-no side-scrolling games. A side-scroller for a modern console is, sadly, a rare event, and it seems that the Nintendo DS is the only thing keeping the side-scrolling games alive. Soon enough, side-scrollers will vanish completely.
Yes, it's true! When gaming first truly debuted with the release of Pong, was made better with Donkey Kong, and almost perfected with Super Mario Bros., side-scrolling videogames were a dime a dozen. And even when 16-bit hit, game developers still clung to side-scrollers. They were thought to be the only type of true computer graphic possible.
Then, in 1993, a little game called Star Fox debuted on the Super Nintendo. This game, besides being the debut of the Star Fox series as a whole (as well as paving the road for Star Fox 64, my fave game of all time), included the Super FX Chip, a teensy device that... shudder... allowed the SNES to pull off 3D polygons, as opposed to the more common 2D pixels.
Rapidly, game developers caught on to the idea of 64-bit polygons, which allowed them to manipulate 3D in the most exciting way ever (at least, for the time being). As 3D graphics became vastly better and more detailed and smooth, side-scrollers became almost completely absent.
That is, in my opinion, a real shame. Side-scrolling games are the foundation on which games were built. And even as the house that Mario built starts to abandon 2D for shiny 3D, they shouldn't forget that the only things that are holding that house up are the two-dimensional question blocks that debuted in Super Mario Bros.
In addition, side-scrollers also eliminate some of the problems that 3D can offer. For instance, you don't have any camera problems like you do in 3D games, such as Sonic anything (that camera is like the moon; it keeps moving, even when you're not). In 2D games, the camera just moves to the right (or left, if you're walking backwards), so all those problems are eliminated.
And in 2D, you can truly capture a sense of speed (which is the reason why Sonic Rush, the latest side-scrolling Sonic offering from Sega, feels faster to play then the other, more recent Sonic disaster for the PS3 and Xbox 360).
Side-scrollers haven't died out yet, though. The DS Castlevanias (Dawn of Sorrow, etc.) are prime examples of the spectacular poise and exactness of side-scrolling. And the cult classic Alien Hominid (hard as blazes, but very, very fun) is just what one would expect from a side-scroller. New Super Mario Bros., too, is a brilliant 2D masterpiece with 3D graphics.
And that, I think, is exactly what we need to do! We need to make more 2D side-scrollers, but with 3D graphics! That allows developers to satisfy their make-a-game-that-looks-beautiful cravings, allows 3D-loving gamers to satisfy their play-a-game-that-looks-beautiful cravings (while insuring that gamers who don't give a Skittle about graphics, such as myself, have a good time, as well), and keep the side-scrolling genre alive and thriving in the limelight. It's as simple as that!
That is all I will say on this subject. I will leave you now (either to the right or to the left, but NOT in 3D). Bye!
I originally said that Star Fox was made in 1991. Luckily, pickhut corrected me. I am error. Thanks!
I also said that Pong, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. were side-scrollers, but actually, only SMB side-scrolled. Thank you, jiggs! You saved me. My bad.
Posted: June 23, 2007 (05:19 PM)
Erm... Pong took place on a screen that didn't move. Unless I missed something.
Posted: June 23, 2007 (09:48 PM)
side scrolling games won't ever die. developers will still make them. they just aren't mainstream like they used to be, that's all.
umm, starfox came out in 1993