The heralding of the new digital 3D age is a lot like the coming of Christmas. It's rife with anticipation, largely due to one's expectations. In other words, pure blind optimism. Sure there are bound to be some great gifts, but you can always count on the Argyle socks and Old Spice aftershave to sour the festivities.
At no time has 3D ever been categorized as more than a novelty. The technology has been around for over a century. Essentially it involves fooling the eyes to receive visual information (light) at different times to each eye by utilizing two different polarized filters (lenses). This technology remains virtually changed today. 3D is still an effect. Will it ever become accepted as a mainstream medium? After a snake and an arrow pop out of the screen at me, that's usually enough excitement. It's then time to take off the silly, uncomfortable, and expensive glasses and watch something on the 2D plane. And if you think I'm going to be forking over $400 every time I accidentally sit on those glasses, you've got another thing coming. Pass the duct tape.
The truth about 3D is that it doesn't necessarily enhance content. A bad game is a bad game regardless of what jumps off the screen. The same goes for 3D movies and 3D TV. I don't really care if it looks like main characters are actually separated from the background. That's entertaining for ten seconds. If you don't like this article, do you think you would love it if the next paragraph circled your head?
So what can you expect with 3D games besides disappointment? Expect to see all the "classic" games repackaged for 3D. Imagine playing Space Invaders 3D, Mario World 3D, Tetris 3D, Legend of Zelda 3D, Pong 3D, and of course 3D Bowling. Yes, just imagine. Most of this repackaging will be comprised of the same old content with the added attraction of things seemingly popping out of the screen, while still maintaining the same 2D control format. Very few games will allow you to accurately navigate a character in an actual 3D environment. It would take a lot of processing power to explore and interact within an actual 3D environment. The various axis would be so difficult to represent the control issues will be a nightmare.
Let's examine the 3DS. It doesn't require glasses, but you have to hold that screen in a specific spot to see the effect. Move it, and you'll lose it. For all intents and purposes, the screen acts as a pair of 3D glasses with the polarizing filters built in. The 3DS, like all new technology, is experimental. It will see refinements over time, but I'm not going to be one of those people who fund those improvements. I don't have to impress anyone to be the first to own the first handheld 3D gaming device. I'll wait for the slightly improved, 3DS-Eleventeen model.
And then there are all those people who have suffered mental breakdowns and other psychological trauma from the experimental 3D systems from the early nineties. But that's something the industry doesn't want you to know about. That's why you haven't heard anything, and I mean anything, about 3D development during the first decade of the new millennium. I personally tested and played many of those early 3D games. For two years. And some days, when I would pass through the black hole vortex on my way home to the planet of magical screaming grasshoppers, I experienced an upset tummy and occasional headache.
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*