From Pixels to Polygons: The Profound Impact of 2D to 3D Graphics on the Gaming Industry

mario, nintendo, retro-game,

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission. Learn more on my Privacy Policy page.

The Impact of 2D to 3D Graphics on Gaming

Two-dimensional Games are more accessible to players and easier for new game developers to produce than their three-dimensional counterparts, which has helped these titles gain widespread appeal and be quite successful.

3D games tend to be more costly and complex to create and maintain than their 2D counterparts, with development costs being considerably more prohibitive and more technology required for their development.


There’s no question that the shift from 2D to 3D graphics has had an immense effect on gaming. It was a major revolution and led to numerous effects within games ranging from more natural feels and enhanced player exploration of environments in games like Super NES’ parallax scrolling – a type of planar projection which produces pseudo-3D images by shortening pixels at different speeds to simulate depth on flat surfaces – among many other changes.

3D models in computer graphics are mathematical representations of objects with length, breadth and height that use similar algorithms as 2D vector graphics for wire frame models and 2D computer raster graphics when they are rendered on screens for display – this process is known as rendering.

3D animation has quickly become one of the hottest trends, and it’s easy to understand why. 3D models look incredible when used for film projects such as Frozen or Moana; architectural firms often utilize 3D modeling software in creating accurate designs of buildings or structures with 3D models as part of their professional practice. Although using these models does have its benefits, they may prove challenging when animating scenes using them.


As soon as 3D graphics were introduced, many assumed 2D gaming would become obsolete. After all, how could 2D plane games compete against games allowing you to fly around in three dimensions? Unfortunately this assumption proved untrue; although 3D graphics offered an exciting visual style option for games, most still utilized 2-dimensional gameplay systems.

3D technology allowed for experimentation across genres such as first-person shooter and action adventure. Crash Bandicoot 3Ds and Bubsy 3Ds became iconic examples of how 3D could enhance aesthetic, while some like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee used its three-dimensionality to tell atmospheric stories with vivid 3D graphics.

Similar to 2D technology, the 3D boost allowed for the creation of beautiful worlds that players could explore on 2D planes. This gave rise to genres such as platformer that took full advantage of this advancement while maintaining realistic mechanics that still took advantage of 3D tech.

3D technology’s graphic capabilities have not only been harnessed for Video Games; they have been put to commercial and educational uses as well. Animation studios commonly employ this approach when producing infographics and data visualizations aimed at making complex information more digestible for audiences while at the same time engaging them; studies show that people retain 55% more information when presented interactively.

The Industry

3D computer graphics (also referred to as three-dimensional computer graphics or 3D for short) is a branch of computer graphics that creates digital models of three-dimensional objects using shapes and colors, creating images as realistic or abstract as desired. This process of creating digital models is known as 3D rendering and usually performed by dedicated software programs.

Early advances in gaming graphics allowed developers to release more realistic looking games, giving rise to an entire genre known as eye-candy video games which featured characters and environments designed specifically to look appealing visually.

As hardware advancements occurred, developers began producing titles that were truly 3D. This allowed for greater immersion and gameplay within massive, realistic open worlds that brought players a whole new level of gaming excitement.

Continuing this trend is evident today as newer games are developed with higher and higher levels of realism, becoming indistinguishable from films. But despite the increasing realism of video games, 2D gaming still continues its development efforts at an active pace, often requiring far greater skill and effort to produce than their 3D counterparts.

The Future

3D graphics is used to generate computer models of objects for various uses. They may be rendered for real-time 3D visualizations (known as 3D rendering), or altered for non-graphical uses like simulations or calculations. 3D models are mathematical representations of geometric data stored on a computer system and may be rendered to give the illusion of depth on surfaces.

Graphics are to online games what water is to fish: essential elements in their success that can make or break an experience for players. Visuals also serve an invaluable purpose in business settings where they help retain and comprehend information more readily – one study found that participants remembered information presented with animation 21 days longer than text-only presentations.

As the gaming industry evolves, 2D and 3D graphics will continue to play an essential role for various genres of video games. Platformers and fighting games often benefit from 2D graphics while genres such as MMORPGs and action games can benefit greatly from 3D ones which allow the player to feel immersed within their world and more connected to characters within it.