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It's one of the great reliefs of my life that 2D games are still alive and well in 2020.  There was a long period around the time of the PlayStation, Dreamcast and PS2 that I felt the genre was on borrowed time but it appears to have largely pulled through, although it's generally in the domain of the digital download these days rather than the AAA titles.  There's a place for both, of course.

 

2D gaming for me has always been gaming in its purest form.  3D has always had its place (I'm pretty sure I spent more hours playing Elite on the Acorn Electron than I have any other game since then) but even when I was playing the amazing Super Mario 64 for the first time, I couldn't help but think that platforming lost something by the move to the third dimension.  I still prefer a 2.5D like Klonoa or similar to a full 3D experience - I have no objections to the visuals being done like a 3D game is done, but I prefer the game to be played on the 2D plane (as an aside, though, because the quest for photorealism isn't an option in 2D gaming, the variety of art styles that result keeps the genre fresh).

 

For purity and repsonsiveness of controls, 2D is still unmatched, and this for me is at the heart of it.  My feelings on exposition and narrative are already well-documented and I don't need to go over them again - for me, gaming is about quality of control and that little addictive loop which makes you want to keep going.  I've posted before that I think the genre had already reached its apogee 30 years ago with Super Mario World and its staggering breadth of imagination and unbelievable hidden depths for those who were prepared to go looking for them. 

 

I generally don't have the time or the patience to 100% something these days (I never really did if I'm honest - it's just that games were so expensive back in the day that I had to extract maximum satisfaction from them), but it's great that now we have something like Hollow Knight which very obviously draws most of its inspiration from Castlevania games of decades past but adds things it's learned from more recent 3D games and gives back to the genre that spawned it in a really well-rounded and satisfying way.

 

There have been a few quite well-regarded ones over the past few years which just didn't chime with me: notably Shank was very stylish but I never really enjoyed it; Guacamelee was similar and although I was enjoying that I seem to recall it fucking with my defective colour vision to the extent I couldn't play it any more after about five hours.  I enjoyed what I played of the Strider remake but there was something about it which wasn't as immediate as Capcom's original.  I couldn't believe it when I recently saw on the PSN storefront a remake of Toki, of all things - a weird little sub-Ghouls-n-Ghosts platformer that I remember Ocean France doing a wonderful conversion of on the Amiga but not something I ever expected to see again.  Streets of Rage has been resurrected after all these years.  The genre isn't exactly in rude health, but it's great to see it thriving and (presumably) still popular.

 

So.  A thread for it?  It's worth a go :) That was just a bit of a ramble, so maybe a couple of questions.  Why do you still play 2D games in this day and age?  Why don't you?  Can people who grew up with the 3D-as-standard of the Playstation era still enjoy 2D games?  What are the best ones you've played recently?  What from the past needs to be brought up to date and given to a modern audience?  Which genres will never ever work properly in 2D?  Which genres will never ever work properly in 3D?

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Cuphead, Ori games, Hollow Knight, Celeste.

 

All games I've thoroughly enjoyed in recent memory. I enjoy the simplistic game play that's still made varying degrees of challenging if that even makes sense?

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There are some here I couldn't get into but others love, but for the most part I can recommend all of these (I've included some that I still think hold up now as well) -

 

Sticky everyone's recommendations to OP?

 

Aladdin (Mega Drive)

Axiom Verge

The Binding of Isaac

Brawlhalla

Castle of Illusion (remastered)

Comix Zone (Mega Drive)

Contra 3 (SNES)

Cuphead

Dead Cells

Deadlight

Donkey Kong Country 1-3 (SNES)

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

Fez

GRIS

Hollow Knight

Hotline Miami 1 and 2

Inside

Limbo

Little Big Adventure

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Mario All Stars with Mario World (SNES)

Mega Man X (SNES)

New Super Mario Bros (DS)

One Finger Death Punch

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Rayman Legends

Rogue Legacy

Salt and Sanctuary

Sonic Mania

Spelunky

Super Castlevania 4 (SNES)

Super Metroid (SNES)

Super Star Wars (SNES)

SteamWorld Dig

Street Fighter 2 Turbo (SNES)

Streets of Rage 1-3 (Mega Drive)

Streets of Rage 4

Sundered

Super Bomberman 2 (SNES)

This War of Mine

Tonight We Riot

Trine

Trine 2

Undertale

Unravel

Valiant Hearts

Yoshi's Island (SNES)

Yoshi's Story (N64)

World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Mega Drive)

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There are some here I couldn't get into but others love, but for the most part I can recommend all of these (I've included some that I still think hold up now as well) -

 

Sticky everyone's recommendations to OP?

 

Aladdin (Mega Drive)

Axiom Verge

The Binding of Isaac

Brawlhalla

Castle of Illusion (remastered)

Comix Zone (Mega Drive)

Contra 3 (SNES)

Cuphead

Dead Cells

Deadlight

Donkey Kong Country 1-3 (SNES)

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

Fez

GRIS

Hollow Knight

Hotline Miami 1 and 2

Inside

Limbo

Little Big Adventure

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Mario All Stars with Mario World (SNES)

Mega Man X (SNES)

New Super Mario Bros (DS)

One Finger Death Punch

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Rayman Legends

Rogue Legacy

Salt and Sanctuary

Sonic Mania

Spelunky

Super Castlevania 4 (SNES)

Super Metroid (SNES)

Super Star Wars (SNES)

SteamWorld Dig

Street Fighter 2 Turbo (SNES)

Streets of Rage 1-3 (Mega Drive)

Streets of Rage 4

Sundered

Super Bomberman 2 (SNES)

This War of Mine

Tonight We Riot

Trine

Trine 2

Undertale

Unravel

Valiant Hearts

Yoshi's Island (SNES)

Yoshi's Story (N64)

World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Mega Drive)

Can remember Aladdin and Mickey Mouse both being brilliant.
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The Switch has been a revelation for me in terms of making time for 2D games. Just finished The Messenger which starts off as a simple 8-bit linear platformer like Ninja Gaiden but later gives you access to these portals which flip you back and forward in time, represented as 8-bit and 16-bit, where the different periods have slightly different landscapes giving you access to different areas.

 

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It gets a bit messy later on when it starts giving you cryptic clues on where to go, it's set up like a Metroidvania but doesn't work as well because you're not unlocking new abilities by that point, merely being directed by the daft clues and sometimes backtracking aimlessly when it's not clear where to go. It's a lot of fun though and worth playing. I'm going to play the free DLC now which is supposed to be very good.

 

Worth saying that there's a big sale on Switch started today and some games mentioned are on offer.

 

Ori and the Blind Forest - £10.49

Rayman Legends - £7.49

Dead Cells - £16.86

The Messenger - £8.99

Guacamelee - £4.79

Guacamelee 2 - £7.19

3 Steamworld games all very cheap too.

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That's the first time I've come across The Messenger and that looks like the closest thing to this that I've seen. £15.49 on Steam at the minute but it's been down to £7.49 so I'll definitely give it a go when it goes on sale.

 

I was just thinking there about the idea of a game that adds details or improved graphically as you level up, like you start as a white pixel on a black background and then progress to 8bit, 16, 32 etc until you get to modern day graphics and it's evolved as a game.

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I still play through Rez occasionally like. Trancetastic. Watch someone playing through Area 4 and tell me that when that massive bass drops in that it's not an amazing moment in the history of game music :)

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One of the first 2.5D's, and it definitely does :) I remember being amazed at something about the sequel but can't remember what.  Copper bars in the water, maybe.

 

Was playing a Vanillaware game called Dragon's Crown not too long ago, ridiculous OTT Japanese remake of the old Capcom D&D arcade games, and there's a section where you go out and up a tower which looks exactly like that. Made me feel 13 or 14 again [emoji38]

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Well, since you mention Jetpak and the old memories, it's a while since I've posted this.  May cause a tinge of wistful sadness for men (yeah, only men I think) born in the 70s and 80s :lol:

 

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One of the first 2.5D's, and it definitely does :) I remember being amazed at something about the sequel but can't remember what.  Copper bars in the water, maybe.

 

Not aware of a sequel. There’s a mini-game between towers where you are in a submarine and that has copper bars and some parallax scrolling. Maybe that’s what you are thinking of?

 

JMP was a very impressive programmer as well as doing the graphics and soundtracks.

 

Edit: I do remember it now. Same effect as what I was alluding to though.

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Well, since you mention Jetpak and the old memories, it's a while since I've posted this.  May cause a tinge of wistful sadness for men (yeah, only men I think) born in the 70s and 80s [emoji38]

 

I've not seen that before but it's brilliant.

 

It's weird going back and seeing old shit like that. Back in the day it was immersive as fuck, but looking at it now.......

 

I miss the lurid covers too

 

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Thought this be of interest to some as Ultimate were 2D masters with some groundbreaking isometric classics. For those who don’t know of them they were company that turned into Rare which Nintendo tied into a lot of their consoles before Microsoft (I think) bought them for the X-Box then wasted them.

 

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