By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief
It’s hard to think of a technological advancement that seemed to come and go more quickly than at home 3D. A few years ago, it was all the rage amongst new televisions, and the gaming world followed suit. While neither have gone away, 3D just never really seemed to reach that critical mass. It certainly hasn’t become a standard feature in all televisions even today, and while PS4 and XBone both support it, most game makers don’t seem to be bothering anymore. To me, that’s unfortunate, because the little bit of time that I’ve had with 3D gaming has been a largely positive experience for me, and I’d hate to see it go away before it ever really had a chance.
While the moviegoing public seems to be a bit more positive on 3D, gamers have largely been critical of it. I won’t say the negativity has been entirely unfounded, as there are a number of sacrifices that are made to a game’s picture in order to achieve the 3D. With passive 3D, you lose the high definition, and even with active, the screen is a bit darker and you still get some ghosting. Plus there’s the matter of many people just getting headaches from it. However, I believe a lot of that is just the growing pains associated with any new technology. Remember all the issues with early HD? I feel as though the gaming community was way too harsh and cynical about 3D and never gave it the chance it deserved and before there was time to work out the kinks. Personally, I love it. The game I probably played the most in 3D is Batman: Arkham City. How can you deny that gliding through Gotham, weaving in and out of skyscrapers, wouldn’t be more immersive in 3D? It is a sight to behold, for sure. There are some things that 3D just does better than 2D ever could.
To me, it’s a natural evolution. It’s as much of a no-brainer as the jump from SD to HD. I’m not saying it needs to be required, as not everyone’s eyes are built for it, but I definitely don’t think it should be a niche. And it certainly shouldn’t be on the way out. What I find most interesting about this whole thing is the way that the same community who never seemed to get on board with 3D gaming is the same community that is treating the Oculus Rift like the next great thing. Clearly the concept of 3D gaming in and of itself doesn’t offend you, so what’s the deal? Is it suddenly deemed “cool” because John Carmack is behind it rather than Sony? You felt ridiculous wearing the glasses but you’ll strap goggles to your head? And the people who couldn’t stomach “traditional” 3D are going to be able to handle THAT? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I can’t figure out why gamers couldn’t bitch 3D out of existence quickly enough but also couldn’t jump on the Oculus Rift bandwagon quickly enough (and give their money to it in advance). Yes, I know Oculus Rift is more than just 3D, you can look around too, blah blah blah. The point is, the general consensus among the 3D haters – both gamers and in movies – is that 3D doesn’t “add” anything. There’s no reason for it to exist, so why bother? If that’s where you’re coming from, then simply adding the ability to look around doesn’t seem like it should suddenly make 3D “click” for you. So the 10 people who can play an Oculus Rift for more than 20 minutes a day without puking will have the time of their lives playing Minecraft. That is WAY better than navigating a 3D, high-definition Gotham City as Batman. Good call, gamers.