Why Bubsy 3D is a masterclass in game design
There are few other video games that have been as globally acclaimed or impacted the industry as much as 3D bunny. The 1996 platformer broke new ground by elevating the game to the third dimension while still being a completely engaging experience in its own right. Released exclusively for the original PlayStation console, making it one of the platform’s best exclusives, the game was an instant classic and shot to the top of the sales and awards charts.
The superior quality of 3D bunny is pretty well known already, but it’s really amazing considering that it managed to stand out in a crowded pack in 1996, along with other titles like Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot also freeing. For this reason, it is worth reviewing which elements have made 3D bunny work and helped make it one of the greatest achievements in video game history.
The dubbing of Bubsy 3D
Prior to 3D bunny, hearing a real human voiceover in a video game was a rare occurrence. If this happened, these voiceover bits were usually quite short or extremely pixelated in terms of audio clarity. The early 90s mortal combat arcade games as well as the opening line of Super Metroid are good examples. However, 3D bunny took what was new and made it a central part of the game.
The developers were so proud of this achievement that the creative decision was made to have Bubsy constantly repeat his lines of dialogue throughout the game. Every time the player falls, grabs a key object, takes damage, or does something else , Bubsy shouted one of his comedic one-liners. The studio even took it a step further, realizing comedy is subjective, and allowed players to turn off Bubsy’s commentary in the settings menu. While this is an interesting option, it’s mysterious why a player would want to mute Bubsy’s uninterrupted conversation.
Innovative Bubsy 3D controls
Another aspect of 3D bunnyThe design that made it stand out was its intriguing control setup. Super Mario 64 had already been released and was designed to show off the N64’s analog stick, resulting in seamless three-dimensional movement. This caught the attention of many and Buby 3D also made waves for its own way of controlling a character in a 3D environment.
Not wanting to copy Nintendo or emulate what the mainstream was doing, the developers went for a more left-wing approach. Borrowing unexpectedly from survival horror games like resident Evil, 3D bunny uses a tank control setup, something that hasn’t been used in a platformer since.
It’s a shame, because this control layout brought a whole new level of immersion to the experience. This actually made the game even more difficult, encouraging players to really master the bizarre physics and logic of Bubsy’s movement. This predates the punitive and intentional difficulty of dark souls franchise years in advance, which makes 3D bunny a revolution from this point of view as well.
Bubsy’s unique graphic style
Last but not least was 3D bunnyavant-garde graphic style. Moving from 2D to 3D was an exciting time for gaming as the hardware grew ever more powerful, allowing for even more detailed textures and environments. On the PlayStation only, games like PaRappa the rapper and grave robber had already pushed polygons and infused their games with tons of color and style.
Again, in a genius effort to stand out, 3D bunny went in a completely different direction. Rather than opting for visual realism or focusing on a single art style, 3D bunny is a game world made up of only polygons, squares and basic color schemes. That’s the beauty of it, though, whereby creating a world of abstract surrealism, the player is encouraged to interpret that environment and fill in the blanks with their imagination. For all these reasons and more, it is important to remember 3D bunny is an undisputed masterpiece for the ages.
It’s also important to remember to have a happy April Fool’s Day!
3D bunny is available on PlayStation.
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