By Ethan S., Age 15
If you think about some of the best selling indie (independent developer) hits, you’ll probably come up with a list that includes “Hyper Light Drifter,” “Undertale,” etc.; this is due to the fact that high-quality 2D games perform really well. However, there is a relative lack of memorable 2D games as compared to 3D games. Yet it isn’t so much of a lack of good 2D games but a lack of good 2D games surfacing from under the ocean of 3D games.
The reason 2D games do much better is because of how handcrafted they are. There is an abundance of high-quality 3D games because of how many prebuilt assets game engines have for them. On the Unity asset store, a place to buy models and software to help your game, there are many 3D assets (and not many 2D character or environment assets). Generally, this is because of how custom a 2D game needs to be. In a 2D game, you could have the creatures of your wildest dreams. It is easier to get these crazy creatures in 2D- but there’s not many assets. You need to draw the character yourself, which is pretty hard for some developers like myself, who aren’t the best at art. With a 3D game, most people make the characters humanoid, so developers make a lot of models for 3D human clothing and similar items. They also tend to follow a hyper-realistic art style and shooter-type gameplay, so there are plenty of assets for that. 3D gaming also includes many advances in graphics. Game players want to look at high-quality graphics, so they look at games like “Far Cry 5.” Developers thus make the obvious choice and switch to 3D games.
That abundance of 3D games contributes to the lack of 2D games. However, there is another side to the equation; some of the 2D games, because of the lack of resources, make quick, bad 2D games with garbage graphics. 2D games like Undertale perform so much better than 3D games because they’re handcrafted. 3D games tend to stick to a formula whereas 2D games are all over the board. Think of games like “Rayman’s Adventures” or “Regular Human Basketball.”
People are searching for different experiences in their games. When a good 2D game comes out, it could get popular a lot quicker in comparison to 3D games. Tons of good 3D games get suffocated by the wave of other “OK” 3D games. Because of the lack of good 2D games, well-designed 2D games stick out in the market. However, it seems to be getting better, as the Nintendo Switch store is full of them, and at least on the Nintendo Eshop the aren’t being drowned out.