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History of 3D Games



Battlezone released in 1980 is a first person shooter by Atari Inc the game uses wireframe vector graphics which are black and white with a green and red colour overlay vector monitor and it's one of the first games with pesudo-3D graphics and it is considered the first virtual reality arcade video game.

Tempest released in 1981 by Atari Inc is a three dimensional surface arcade game and also takes place on a tube which is viewed from one end and is split into more segments and lanes. This is one of the first games Atari gave Colour QuadraScan vector display technology which allowed the game to display lots of different colours this game also for the first time to sport a progressive level design in which the levels varied rather than repeating the same level layout. 

Space Fury released in 1981 by Sega is a multi directional shooter arcade game and the first game with colour vector graphics game released at arcades and also includes speech synthesis. The game was certainly impressive for it's era and did well at the arcades.

Tac/Scan released 1982 by Sega Electronics is an arcade game which contains 3D vector graphics that changed between overhead and third person perspective and is also very colourful and gives me Star Fox vibes.

Zektor released in 1982 by Sega is a multi directional shooter arcade game and the game has speech synthesis the game has some pesudo 3D graphics.

Pole Positon released in 1982 by Namco and designed by Toru Iwatani and was the most popular coin-operated arcade game of 1983 and it also considered one of the most important video games from video arcades golden age. The game is influential and one of the most important racing games ever made and help set up the racing genre and it gives us a glimpse of scaled 2D sprites but also gives us a glimpse of what 3D graphics and games would eventually look like.

Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator released in 1983 by Sega is a vector game with a two dimenisonal display and three dimenisonal first person perspectve and is very colorful.

Star Wars which also came out in 1983 by Atari Inc is another first person space combat game made using vector graphics in colourful 3D the game inspired 1986's Starglider and in turn this game went on to inspire Star Fox.

Yu Suzuki's early game Hang On released in 1985 is one of the first arcade games to use 16 bit graphics and sprite scaling technology and this gave a look of pesudo 3D high frame rate on the screen but the sprites were still 2D looking but it's still an early glimpse of 3D.

One of Yu Suzuki's early games and before his groundbreaking game Virtua Racing Out Run was released in 1986 for the arcade and has pioneering hardware and graphics and a pseudo 3D look with 2D sprites. The game had it's 3D effects using sprite scaling this allowed sprites to be scaled at a large number and displayed on screen this would also be done with later games in the 1990s by texture mapping polygonal 3D games.

Starglider released in 1986 iby Argonaut is a fast moving first combat first person flight simulator that contains colourful rendered wireframe 3D vector graphics and the game was inspired by Atari's 1983 arcade coin-op game Star Wars and this game would go on to inspire Star Fox this game also one of the last games to contain vector graphics as by 1985 and 1986 they started to fall out of fashion.

Winning Run released in 1989 by Namco is a first person forumla one racing game and an early example of a 3D racing game and upon it's release it was considered a milestone in 3D polygon graphics pushing 60,000 polygons per second and making use of the polygons to construct flood lit tunnels, pits and steep chambers and it also ran on Namcos System 21 Polygonizer built for 3D polygon processing.

Hard Drivin also released in 1989 by Atari Games Applied Research Group is an arcade game and another example of one of the first games to showcase 3D polygon driving environments with the use of a simulator cabinet with rendered architecture this game came out while most arcade driving games were largely implemented with scaled 2D sprites and games like this filled with polygon 3D graphics were vey rare in games at the time. Hard Drivin and Winning Run were sucessful games with 3D polygon graphics that showed 3D games could be made and pushed 3D genre forward. 

Indianapolis 500 The Simulation by Papyrus Design Group also came out in 1989 and began the first step to differ arcade racing games in arcade realm and into racing simulation but it also is a great showcase of 3D graphics once again by showing 3D games and graphics is the way forward and another great pusher for the 3D gaming genre.


The first major 3D game was released in 1992 and is Yu Suzukis Virtua Racing it is a milestone in 3D graphics and the racing genre and acts as a foundation for most modern racing games. Virtua Racing was created as a proof of concept program for the system and was given the all clear to become a fully fledged arcade game and thereby becoming one of the first fast paced 3D racing games to appear at arcades and before all this most 3D racing games had been simulations and ran very slow. Namco and Atari Games released 3D arcade racers a couple years back with Winning Run (1988) and Hard Drivin (1989) these two games could not even touch Virtua Racing as it was the first to render the worlds at sixty frames per second and offer support for multiple human players and camera angles were adjustable during gameplay and no games had ever done this before. This was even first game to have human characters rendered with 3D polygons such as the mechanics and spectators and fully 3D polygonal 3D enviornments and the 3D human models laid foundation for character models that appeared in Virtua Fighter. This game is one of most influential video games of all time and layed foundations for 3D racing games and brought 3D polygonal graphics to a bigger audience.

Yu Suzuki didn't stop there in 1993 Virtua Fighter came out and it was first 3D based fighting game though 4D Boxing was released in 1991 but it didn't have the impact that Virtua Fighter would create and this game was influential in the development of 3D polygon graphics and as did with Virtua Racing it created a wider audience demonstrating 3D human character models with realistic movement and physics creating basic template for more 3D fighting games Tekken, Soul and Dead or Alive and played a key role in development of early fifth generation consoles such as PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Sony Computer Entertainment when developing original PlayStation saw Virtua Fighter as an inspiration for PlayStations 3D graphics hardware the PlayStation was originally being focused as a 2D graphics hardware but it was the success of Virtua Fighter at the arcades that Sony designed PlayStation as a 3D focused hardware. Virtua Fighter was also an influence on the use of polygon characters and helped lead to creation of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider game with this all to say Virtua Fighter pushed evolution of the genre and video games as a whole.

Star Fox is a 1993 rail shooter game developed by both Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software this was Nintendo's second 3D game and also first ever game they made using 3D polygonal graphics this was helped by the use of Super FX graphics acceleration coprocessor powered using GSU-1 and is also the first game with it's complex use of three dimenisonal models using 3D polygons which was new at the time and was not common in console video games at the time. This game was inspired by 1986's Starglider.

The next major 3D video game to come out was Koji Tada's Jumping Flash in 1995 and by this time Sony had entered video game industry and released PlayStation due to Virtua Fighters success and Jumping Flash was designed as a technology demonstrator for PlayStation console and is an ancestor and early showcase of 3D graphics in console gaming. Unfortunatly Jumping Flash was overshadowed by later 3D platformers of the fifth console generation and is the first platform video game in true 3D and is a genre pushing game despite it's setbacks.

Bubsy 3D Furbitten Planet released in 1996 by Eidetic is one of the worst video games of all time due to the games poor controls and camera but while 3D video games have existed for a quite a few years by now this game helped contribute to the ascendancy of the 3D platforming genre and unlike most console games of the time flat shaded polygons were used instead of textured polygons and at the same time this game was one of the few PlayStation games that ran at high resolution. Nuff said about this game.

Crash Bandicoot released in 1996 by Naughty Dog is another groundbreaking 3D platform game with it's 3D graphics and unique visual style nothing else at the time apart from Super Mario 64 could compete against it Crash Bandicoot pushed 3D genre forward and brought the gaming industry as a whole into 3D realm now was the time to make 3D games and everything about Crash Bandicoot was made for PlayStation everything was squashed down to fit into the game with it's beautiful flora and fauna to a whole host of colourful characters and the game was given more resemblance of an animated cartoon vertex animation was implemented over skeletal animation and this allowed Naughty Dog to store every vertex at 30 frames per second and Naughty Dog found out polygons on the characters were just a few pixels in size and shaded characters would look better than textured ones and polygons were used emphasized over textures which means Naughty Dog could work around PlayStations lack of texture correction and polygon clipping. Much of games landscape is hidden from view using cliffs, trees, walls, twists and turns in the environment and the game has a mode of going up, down, left and right and you are constantly facing camera in a 2D and 3D environment this just goes to show 3D games were now thing and genre was going forward Naughty Dog was inspired by Donkey Kong Country they took that 2D game and crafted a 3D game but this game did have a setback it lacked it's own innovation of being a platformer.

Super Mario 64 also released in 1996 was one of early 3D platform games based on open world playability, degrees of freedom through all three axes of space and huge areas composed of true 3D polygons as opposed to only 2D sprites. Mario 64 established a new era for 3D genre in evolution from 2D to 3D this game places player to explore the vast worlds that require to complete diverse missions and this also made a lasting impression in the field of 3D game design and features a dynamic camera system and 360 degree analog control and this game is acclaimed as one of the greatest games ever made and the camera system in Mario 64 would become standard for future 3D platform games in future but Mario 64 did have some problems it was full of conflicting colours and textures unlike Crash Bandicoot which had colourful textures.

Tomb Raider also released in 1996 is one of the greatest video games ever made and another influential game that would serve as a template for many 3D action adventure games to follow Core Design were influenced by Virtua Fighter to create this game and a 3D game of this scale was not even seen at this time and Core Design struggled to make the game work on contempoary hardware for starters getting the player character to interact with freeform environment some people believe Tomb Raider was influenced by Super Mario 64 but Core Design deny this as Tomb Raider was already being worked on before Super Mario 64 was even shown to public and the decision build the games world on a grid was the breakthrough into making this game. Core was struggline with 32 bit at the time and first signs of game appeared on Sega Saturn development kits and Tomb Raider would of been released on Sega Saturn as a timed exclusive for the Saturn but Core ended up instead making game for both Sega Saturn and PlayStation but following release of Saturn version some bugs were found and it affected both verisons of the game because of this and time constraints Core fixed the bugs for PlayStation version and dropped Saturn version in favour of PlayStation version. Tomb Raider did well and it changed the way of how women appeared in video games as they could become the main characters of video games. 

Star Fox 64 which came out in 1997 is a 3D scrolling shooter game made using 3D polygonal graphics the game gives of amazing 3D graphics for it's time.

Croc Legend of the Gobbos released in 1997 by Argonaut Games is known for being an early example of a 3D platform game it started development from successful relationship between Argonaut and Nintendo and Argonaut created a processing chip for Super Nintendo Entertainment System called Super FX Chip and it was used for games such as Star Fox and Super Mario World 2: Yoshis Island and this helped to display 3D polygonal environments. Croc Legend of the Gobbos started off as a game called Yoshi Racing and contained several elements from Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart Argonaut created this prototype game which was worlds first 3D platform game and pitched it to Nintendo and Nintendo loved the game but Nintendo did not want to let third parties use it's characters and rejected it and the relationship between Argonaut and Nintendo was over and Argonaut would have to find another publisher and start from scratch but despite this Yoshi Racing would serve as a large influence towards the creation of Super Mario 64 as it had the look and feel of Yoshi Racing but with Mario instead. Argonaut had to create a new character in the place of Yoshi which ended up becoming Croc and the games levels were divided into several sub sections due to the hardware limitations at the time and Argonaut did not want to deal with creating depth perception this allowed Argonaut to create the levels with intention of making each room feel like a puzzle that would give the player accomplishment when a level was completed. Argonaut finally did there take on Mushroom Kingdom thats for sure.

Diddy Kong Racing released in 1997 by Rare is another great game that showcases 3D polygonal graphics and one of the first cartoony racing games and it was inspired by Super Mario Kart which was in pesudo 3D. This game would later inspire Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart 64 and spawn other kart racers.

Mario Kart 64 released in 1997 maybe was also inspired by Diddy Kong Racing who knows but it made the move to polygon based 3D computer graphics but the items remained 2D rendered sprites and the game laid foundation for future Mario Kart series and games and this game was also the sucessor to Super Mario Kart.

Spyro the Dragon released in 1998 is another groundbreaking 3D game and also gave birth to collectathon genre you have ability to explore the world in free roaming style collecting gems and this game had the use of a 3D panoramic engine this rendering system allowed objects to be displayed from far distances by rendering them with varying levels of detail and this was one of the first games on PlayStation to use the engine and it allowed for more open world gameplay taking advantage of Spyro himself because he can glide but still a genre had been created.

Banjo Kazooie released in 1998 by Rare is another great 3D game and collectathon inspired by Super Mario 64 which gave Banjo Kazooie it's world and combined the look of Donkey Kong Country and was designed to appeal to players of all ages just like Walt Disney Animation Studios films. Banjo Kazooie had an advanced technique to render it's graphics Rare created characters with minimal amounts of texture to give them a sharp and clean look while it's backgrounds used large textures spilt into 64 and 64 pieces Rare designed the game for Nintendo 64 the console could only handle the largest textures of that size but this caused memory fragmentation issues. Rare solved this problem by creating a propriety system that reshuffled the memory as players would have to play through the game to solve the fragmentation and even turning into small creatures allowed Rare to give the world a sense of scale thats why some people say this game is a Super Mario 64 clone.

Rocket Robot on Wheels is another 3D game and another collectathon and one of the last 3D games of this era to be like it is the trend/genre was beginning to evolve and change and there were lots of compeititons from the various developers with these big 3D games now on the market at this time and plus new hardware was on it's way PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. Sucker Punch developed this game for Nintendo 64 in 1999 and is the first game on home platform to use a realistic physics engine to drive gameplay. Sucker Punch went to Nintendo to pitch this game but Nintendo rejected them without development kits and tool libraries Sucker Punch made a prototype of the game with a PC and Sucker Punch returned to Nintendo and Nintendo gave them development kits but would not publish game maybe because it was another Super Mario 64 clone who knows. Sucker Punch spent about a year making the game and pitched it to several developers even Sony Computer Entertainment who liked it but Sony knew the game would be released on Nintendo 64 and wanted it ported to PlayStation but Sony were nervous about the concept and also concept was not mascot frenzy and also saw this as a potential game on there rivials biggest gaming console system and Sony declined they had Crash and Spyro at this point anyway maybe that was another reason. The game was getting setbacks Sucker Punch pitched it to Electronic Arts and were nearly on a deal but the game would have to be cancelled in favour of making a game for PlayStation 2 but Sucker Punch didn't give up they nearly were going to scrap the game but Ubisoft saw the game at E3 1999 and agreed to publish it.

Donkey Kong 64 released by Rare in 1999 falls under the hammer as being one of the last games like this in it's appearance and graphics and as newer hardware is soon looming but Rare had made some Donkey Kong Country games in the past but they were in pesudo 3D with 2D sprites and with other game developers making 3D games it took Rare several years to finally transiton DKC into 3D they ended up doing Banjo Kazooie before finally making Donkey Kong 64 and it reached potential of DKC bringing the series to 3D at long last and a great collectathon.

Crash Team Racing released by Naughty Dog in 1999 was inspired by Diddy Kong Racing and features great tracks and also great 3D graphics for it's time and it's also Naughty Dogs final PlayStation game before moving on to PlayStation 2.

Muppet Monster Adventure released in 2000 comes to the end of PlayStations life span as PlayStation 2 released in 2000 and Nintendo GameCube released in 2001 it was now time for sixth generation 3D console games on new hardware one example being Donald Duck Goin' Quackers was made for PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and GameCube and Monsters Inc Scream Team was made for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 both these games on three different consoles have vast differences due to hardware they are made on developers were now moving forward with 3D games because of new hardware coming out.

Muppet Monster Adventure was developed just for PlayStation and made for that hardware and Magenta Software and Jim Henson Interactive decided not to move forward and make the game for PlayStation 2 maybe because they simply ran out of time or chose not follow what other developers were doing they could of made this game for PS1 and PS2 but they didn't. Muppet Monster Adventure is like Crash Bash, Toy Story Racer, Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue which was made for PlayStation and Nintendo 64, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Hogs of War and Pac Man World this graphical trend of 3D gaming was becoming a cash grab and the transiton over to new hardware which was more powerful was now slowly happening but Muppet Monsters Adventure and the other games listed did not jump onto sixth generation consoles.

Muppet Monster Adventure was inspired by other PlayStation platform games at the time such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, Croc and Super Mario 64 using this Magenta Software and Jim Henson Interactive took the easy way out to create this game using Mario 64s swimming system and Crashs spin attack and the colourful world from Spyro the Dragon to creating the world that appears in Muppet Monster Adventure using characters from Muppets.

Muppet Monster Adventure is one of the last games of this era to be like how it is and it was time to move forward to sixth generation console era as that was now on horzion and also cartoonish platformers would fall out of favour in the years to come but Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank and Sly Cooper would dominate sixth generation console era and provide 3D platformers but Grand Theft Auto would soon arrive and other realistc games would soon arrive in this area and kill off 3D cartoon platformers and the trend would slowly die off but 3D gaming is never over.

With the success of kart racing games such as Diddy Kong Racing, Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart 64 you would think Jim Henson Interactive would cash in on the sucess of this wouldn't you well they did they had Traveller's Tales make Muppet Race Mania in 2000 using Muppet Characters but it has great 3D graphics and visuals.

The racing kart clones keep coming and come on they were influenced by the major ones Looney Tunes Racing was released in 2000 and 2001 by Infogames and falls under the chart of coming to the end of fifth generation console era and graphics were ok but it's just another one of those cash grabs and pick up and you know whats it all about it just has Looney Tunes characters in it instead.

Toy Story Racer released in 2001 is another cash in but another great kart racing game influenced by the success of other kart racing games Walt Disney Interactive had Traveller's Tales make this game and Toy Story characters from the first film appear in this game with no characters from Toy Story 2 appearing this could be due to the game being delayed or they simply ran out of time to put characters from Toy Story 2 into this game also maybe PlayStation could only handle so many characters at a time due to limitations nevertheless this is certainly a great kart racing game towards the end of fifth generation console era with unique 3D graphics but they were a bit bland.

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About Crash4563one of us since 5:03 PM on 08.17.2018