Dark,
I wouldn't go as far to say that the move to 3d FPS is just simply fashion trends. There is a lot more to FPS than just the features you mentioned. In fact, I'd go as far to say the use of the FPS format has nothing to do with features but realism. So look at this comparatively speaking for a second. The side-scroller format is by and large a 2d format. It only allows the player to move in four basic directions up, down, left, and right. I don't care how many weapon upgrades, traps, cut scenes, or high end graphics the developer adds the fact is it is still nothing more than a 2d game. Why is that a problem? For one thing it restricts movement. In most First Person and Third Person style games the player has several complex moves to choose from. In the Tomb Raider games you have the ability to climb, jump, flip, roll, walk, swim, or run in every direction possible. Basically, anything the human body can do you can perform that same move in the game. While it can be argued you could do these things in a 2d side-scroller, that is true, but you still wouldn't get the same degree or freedom of movement offered by a truly 3d FPS type game. Then, there is the game level itself. A true 3d game world allows a developer to render 3-dimensional structures, objects, and use 3d calculations to render a more realistic world. Back when I was a sighted gamer I always found it easier to personally relate to a fully 3d game level rather than a 2d one. In fact, I still do. Unless you've had this experience, as I've had, I guess it is pretty hard to express in words how and why it is just better without using lots of personal examples.


Here is a case in point. In Star Wars Mysteries of the Syth there is a level were Mara Jade is in an Imperial City looking for clues to the identity of the rogue Jedi helping the Empire. Anyway, being as the game is fully 3d it allows for some pretty interesting combat situations simply not possible in a 2d only format. As you move Mara through the city you have to keep an eye out for Imperial snipers above her hidden in windows and on roof tops as well as watch out for Storm Troopers on the ground. So basically an ambush can come from anywhere, and often as not they will come from above when you least expect it forcing you to look up, aim Mara's blaster, and shoot the sniper in the window. Offering some pretty realistic urban combat situations. As I've mentioned many times my favorite tactic for that level was to force jump to the roof, of a nearby building, crouch down, and when some storm troopers would pass by I would play sniper and pick them off one by one. If I was in a particularly savage mood I'd activate her light saber and force jump right on top of them like an avenging angel and do some slicing and dicing. Another option was just to light the light saber and force throw it from the roof and slice right through the poor unsuspecting troopers. My point being that the 3d environment offered many realistic combat situations that can't be replicated by a 2d only environment. Unless you have had this sort of experience it is kind of hard to express why 3d is more widely liked by mainstream gamers than side-scrollers. We think in terms of accessibility, which is easier, and less about the experience. Sad to say very few VI gamers have had the opportunity to get this kind of experience because games like Sarah, Monkey Business, or Shades of Doom still are not totally 3d. are still 2d environments. They don't actually have a true 3d environment, and don't offer the same degree of realism a 3d game would have.

HTH


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