Like any other entertainment medium, games are iterative by their very nature. Years go by, and we get developers coming along and building on what’s come before, gradually improving things and taking them to their zenith. But that’s not how it always goes, of course. Every so often, we get new games that try something completely new, completely different. And that’s a gamble, of course. It always is. You never know if an experiment is going to work out. But every so often, experiments work out spectacularly, and end up setting trends that endure for years and years, and go on to define entire genres or even the medium as a whole. In this feature, we’re going to talk about a few games that did just that.
3D MOVEMENT AND CONTROLS (SUPER MARIO 64)
To say that Super Mario 64 is responsible for 3D games as a whole would be an exaggeration (to say the least). No, there was a whole slate of games in a 3-4 year period that helped lay down the foundations for playing games in a 3D space- but if we were to make a pie chart for that group, Super Mario 64 would get a whole massive slice of that pie all to itself. Launching in 1996, Nintendo’s seminal platformer defined the simplest things and actions, showing how to do 3D movement and camera control in games and establishing extremely fundamental things that are now taken completely for granted.