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Some games that deserve a 3DS revival

9:00 PM on 01.18.2011 // Jonathan Holmes

There's going to be a huge 3DS event in New York City tomorrow, and our own Nick Chester is planning to be there to report on everything that goes down. In the meantime, I'm freaking out. What are they going to announce? What new games might be coming down the pipe? This air of mystery wont last forever, and I'm milking ever moment of sweet suspense that I can.

I find myself thinking about the 3DS at least once every morning, once while I'm trying to fall asleep, and multiple times throughout the day. There is just so much that the console might help bring about; things that I thought I'd never see happen. I mean, it's already brought Kid Icarus and Mega Man Legends back from the dead, Resident Evil back to its horror roots, and a host of previously non-Nintendo focused franchises  to a Nintendo console. Anything could happen with the 3DS, or at least, that's the way it feels right now.

Here's my expression of that feeling of hope for the 3DS, in list form.

3D World Runner

I've seen this game on  a few "worst games ever" lists over the years, and I heartily disagree with that sentiment. 3D World Runner combines the precision gameplay of auto-run platformers like Bit.Trip RUNNER and Canabalt with the depth of field shenanigans and rapid fire fun of Space Harrier. It also had relentlessly catchy music; an essential ingredient of any game that's willing to mercilessly kill you for hours on end.

The game plays the way that it does in order to capitalize off of the red and blue "3D glasses" craze from the mid-to-late eighties, hence the name. Now that 3D technology has more or less caught up to the game's original vision, I think it's time for 3D World Runner to prove just how awesome it is with a reboot.

Viewtiful Joe

At their core, the Viewtiful Joe games are about taking camera tricks and effects from the language of cinema (slow-motion, fast-motion, zoom angle, split screen, instant replay) and applying them to the language of videogames. After the underwhelming Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble on the DS, it seemed like the series had gone through all the potentially applicable cinema tricks in the book. With the advent of glasses-free 3D, the Viewtiful Joe series could have a whole new bag of tricks to work with.

I'm picturing something where you manually activate 3D in-game, in order to jump in and out of the background and foreground, to avoid enemies, explore new areas, and use new attacks. This switch from 2D to 3D has already been done in games like Super Paper Mario and Crush, but not with the aid of an actual 3D display.

I've been desperate for a new Viewtiful Joe game anyway, but seeing how seamlessly the series could integrate 3D gameplay into it's design, now seems like the perfect time to Henshin A-Go-Go.

3D Dot Game Heroes

3D Dot Game Heroes is a fantastic concept, but it might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. In both art direction and gameplay, the game is a straight clone/tribute of the 2D Zelda games, which made it a weird fit for the PS3, a console best known for its movie-style games; God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid 4, and the Uncharted series to name a few.

So for starters, I think 3D Dot Game Heroes would sell better on a console that has a built in fanbase of Zelda fans. It could also use a dose of "real" 3D effects. Spicing up the otherwise flat gameplay could do a lot to broaden the game's appeal. I also think the name 3D Dot Game Heroes: Special 3D Edition sounds funny, and a little extra comedy never hurts.


Ever since the the DS was first announced, I've been convinced it was the perfect console for the Seaman series. In case you don't know, Seaman is a game about talking to and rubbing a man-headed fish-thing. What better place to do that than on a console with a built in microphone and touch screen?

All that is true of the 3DS, but with the added processing power and glasses-free 3D display. Seaman could probably benefit from an additional gimmick or two, as a game about caring for (and being insulted by) a creepy man-fish may not be an easy sell in today's market. Throw in "IN 3D AND REAL D" in the title though, and it's sure to be a million seller.


I wouldn't have thought of this one. Adding Q*bert was Niero's idea, but I agree with him. Q*bert would be awesome in glasses-free 3D.

Q*bert was one of the last of the great "maze games", one of the earliest styles of game to gain widespread popularity. Any game primarily focused on moving a character through a limiting space, with enemies hunting you down and specific safe zones and/or power-ups to seek out, could be defined as a maze game. Pac-Man, Crystal Castles, and some say the original Metal Gear Solid, are all examples of maze games.

Pac-Man Championship Edition and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX have proven that the simple principle of the maze game genre still have a lot of life in them. With a brilliant design team behind it,, a fully 3D Q*bert reboot could be incredible.

[Editor's note: I forgot to mention that the "cat on a pogo stick" 3DS demo plays almost exactly like a toned down, enemy-free version Q*bert, and it was still awesome. Imagine how much better it could be with full-on mazes, enemies, and other accouterments!]

Jumping Flash

OK, so this one isn't going to happen. I'm 99% sure that Jumping Flash is still owned by Sony, and they aren't likely keen on selling it (though they haven't done anything with it for over ten years). Still, I had to make mention of it here. The world needs to know how great a new Jumping Flash game could be, particularly in 3D.

As an older teen, I was totally against polygon based graphics. You know how a lot of kids today have an absolute rule against motion controlled games or retro games or games about puppies? That's how I was towards games with polygon based graphics. That's not the direction I wanted games to go in, so any game that took gaming in that direction was my nemesis.

That all changed when I played Jumping Flash. This game showed me glory of polygon based graphics. No other game since has moved me through a virtual space with as much vertigo inducing, visceral excitement. That's what polygons first did for gaming in the late 90's, and that's exactly what a 3D display does for games today. That makes Jumping Flash (or a game like it) perfect for the 3DS (or any other console that displays in 3D).

Time Traveler

Time Traveler sucked. It looked like something shot at a community access cable station. It plays like Dragon's Lair, but with unresponsive controls. It wasn't clever, or fun, or compelling in any way.

It was, however, the first game I'd ever seen in glasses-free 3D, and for that reason alone, I lost more than a few quarters to it back in the day. For nostalgia alone, I'd buy the game again, if just to finally see what happens when you win it.

I heard that there's an actual boob at the end, nipple and everything. That's how sure they were that no one would ever see the end of this broken, godforsaken game.

Katamari Damacy

The Katamari Damacy series is in a slump. Without its creator to lead the way, the last few Katamari games have lacked the life and originality that the first two titles had.

I'm not saying that a 3D display could definitely turn that around, but if done properly, a change in display could definitely give the series a new lease on life. Like a few of the games I already mentioned, the game is all about moving through predefined spaces, examining the objects on the horizon and managing the immediate and distant space around you. That's a perfect fit for a 3D presentation. The blocky graphics would be a good fit too. There is something about simple geometric shapes that accentuates the 3D effect.

The real key would be perfecting the gameplay. How could 3D work to make the Katamari formula more interesting. I have a lot of ideas about that, more than I could fit here, but I'll say for now that I can't think of a way that 3D would make a Katamari game worse.

The good Virtual Boy games

A lot of you may be thinking that that "Virtual Boy" and "good" is an oxymoron, but you'd be wrong. Though every Virtual Boy game was hampered by the console's eye-frying visual display, not every Virtual Boy game was bad in theory, or in practice. Anthony Burch made a very good case for why Virtual Boy Wario Land was the best game in the series, and I personally had a great time with Teleroboxer and Mario Clash. On top of that, Red Alarm and 3D Tetris are close enough to Star Fox and ThruSpace respectively, that it's clear to see that they could all work in glasses-free, strap-a-pair-of-goggles-on-your-face-and-stare-at-red-and-black-screens-free 3D

So that's my list. It's not complete, but it's a start. Any games you think I missed?



Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
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