I have always had a preference to 2D hand animated artwork for video games over 3D polygon models. Unfortunately, 2D spriting and animation are sadly becoming a lost art form. A lot of this is due to the fact that it simply costs more money to hire 2D animators and artists for these games then it does to hire people to work on 3D polygon models for games.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love 3D games. Like I mentioned above, it's purely a preference. Remember that we have seen some absolutely stunning 3D in a relatively short amount of time. From the sumi-e inspired Okami, to the Kandinsky influenced Rez, to the frenetic, cel-shaded Jet Set Radio, to the abstract color and design of Killer 7, there has been no shortage of spectacular 3D art work.
And yes, despite what Roger Ebert says, it IS art. End of discussion.
This may be the nostalgia talking (or flat-plane romanticism, take your pick), but there is something to be said for 2D artwork. It reeks of skill and patience and an organic touch that I do not think could ever be faithfully recreated on a 3D polygon model. There is something about the animation, the look, the style, and the tangible and intangible aspects of 2D artwork that drives my appeal and love of the 2D art form.
Now go play a 2D game and savor its beauty and craftsmanship. Appreciate and celebrate it, and never take it for granted.
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