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2D is back!

In the late 20th century (meaning 15 years ago…) three-dimensional games made their appearance in the console gaming scene (wow!). What were the three-dimensional games? A bit like turning time back to the Atari 2600 where to play a game required a large (if not huge) amount of imagination. If you saw a brown vertical line and a green square on top you "understood" that that was, of course, a tree (like kindergarten paints!). Like then, in the mid 90’s the 32bit machines, where the 3D games flourished (there were 3D at 16bit but I don’t even want to comment on that ...), you imagined that this irregular polygon that has something that resembles a head, something that look like feet and something that look like hands is a very sexy woman known as Lara Croft (the first woman that had a protractor bra – but then again if she didn’t have breasts you could easily mistaken her for George the ugly neighbour).

Since then all games were converted into 3D. Old franchises reconstructed (some with great success and others with even greater failure), genres have disappeared or changed direction. Everything had to be 3D. And some few side-scrollers that were released at that time (Abe's Odyssey, Klonoa, Heart of Darkness, Mischief Makers, etc.) had even, a sense of 3D.

Of course, since then much have changed. Nowadays when we say that three-dimensional games are realistic, they usually are. Well in 1994 we were saying the same... From the previous generation (which began with Dreamcast – Rez(t) in Peace) games became less a cheese grater (several angles) and more like a ruler (straight lines) of course some problems remain, most of a much lesser extent. The wayward camera, the "I’m get my ass kicked and don’t know from whom" effect, the limited draw distance, the pop-ups (can someone tell me how this wall appeared in front of my Lamborghini???) Etc.

Now the 3D is just the industry standard, if any game is in 2D journalists-reviewers-publishers are displaying a huge, neon, sign at the presentation-press release to clarify the difference. What was once one-way has become cult!

But realism is rather boring. Lately more and more new ventures take us back to the roots of gaming. Games that if became 3D would take the ride down like many other before (Hey Sonic, found anything at the classifieds?). The games use effectively the graphics of the current consoles, but the gameplay is the good old side-scrolling that everyone loved, with modern additions in order to put them at the spotlight (as an alternative but with prospects of mainstream – like James Blunt ... but less boring)

Last year's success of Braid, the excellent Shadow Complex, the highly praised Muramasa: The Demon Blade, the version of A Boy and his Blob, which is at least remarkable, and the “hybrid” Little Big Planet show us that 2D reappears in the dynamic arena of video games. Not to mention a few diamonds for the DS (which can’t handle 3D very effectively) which stand out, like New Super Mario Bros, Castlevania-All of them-, Contra 4, Megaman, etc.

And what awaits us in 2010? New, back to basics 2D Sonic (Sega if you screw this up I’ll &%$#@&%), Metroid from Team Ninja with 2D-3D gameplay (hurray!) And who knows what new XBLA / WiiWare / PSN masterpiece (Lost in Shadow anyone?) will arise from nowhere to remind us where it all started (prehistoric period - ugh!) and where is everything today (are you playing with that Playstation again? -No sweetheart it’s a movie I’m watching!).