The Resurgence in 2D Gaming: The Return of Retro Games

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2D Games, both new and old, are coming back into style. Many developers and a lot of the community have realized that the gaming world rushed into the world of 3D gaming without considering that 2D gaming had a lot left to offer. Now more than fifteen years since 3D games like Wolfenstein 3D first hit stands, 2D games are making a comeback.

New Innovations in 2D Games

One of the key reasons that 2D video games are doing so well is the new innovations in 2D gameplay. For example, one of the more popular 2D games in recent times is World of Goo, developed by 2D Boy. World of Goo changed the face of 2D gaming by adding important physics elements to its puzzles, something fun and interesting that had never really been attempted in old 2d games.

Another popular 2D game is Braid, developed by Jonathon Blow in 2006. Braid focuses on various time travel techniques and tricks that make for interesting puzzles. The mechanic is fairly simple to use, but adds a depth not previously found in old classics like Mario or Street Fighter.

Another big title is Castle Crashers, developed by the Behemoth, which is a simple 2D fighting game. What makes Castle Crashers so appealing is its clever humor, cute graphics and addictive gameplay. It doesn’t really add anything new to the 2D genre, but in a world ruled by online gaming, Castle Crashers is a fun game to play with four friends in the same room.

2D Community Games

Another important element leading to the resurgence of video games is the much improved ability for the gaming community to create games of their own. With new tools and resources such as the XNA Creators Club for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, community created games have never been easier.


With the use of C# Express Edition and XNA, the community is able to become developers. Quickly and easily placing their games online to be downloaded, rated and played by millions of other Xbox Live users. While it is also possible to create 3D games using XNA, 2D games are faster to create and easier to program, making them the more viable choice for many beginning game developers.

Retro Games Coming Back into Style

One of the big reasons that 2D gaming is becoming so big is because big name developers have seen the interest from the gaming community and supported their latest desires for all things 2D. Nintendo, for example, noticed the resurgence in 2D gaming and decided to make their upcoming Super Mario Bros. in the retro style of the old Mario games, taking players back to the retro gaming style, while still utilizing 3D characters.

Another big title that was rehashed to capitalize off the new resurgence in 2D games was the Secret of Monkey Island, a 2D puzzle adventure game with updated 2D graphics and voice acting. The Secret of Monkey Island is exactly the same as the old game, puzzle wise and story wise, but with updated elements to make it feel fresh. Not to mention many new gamers never had the chance to experience it, so it is essentially a completely new game.

Continuing Trend or Just a Phase?

2D gaming may or may not be around to stay, but it will definitely be a strong influence for the next few years. There are many benefits from a resurgence in 2D gaming, such as a reduced cost since games are easier to develop, but more importantly 2D games focus on gameplay elements, rather than simply being visually appealing.

Hopefully this trend will continue into the 3D games, which have generally focused more on aesthetics than mechanics, pushing the game industry forward with vigor.

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