Mar 272010
 

Notice: Mario's mustache and hair are different colors.

Camera angles are one of the often underappreciated good things in a video game. A good camera angle lets you fully view your character and environment. Back in the days of 2D gaming an overhead view was often used along with a sidescrolling view, with the latter of which still being used today in some 2D platforming games. When the 3D era hit, most developers had trouble programming in that third dimensional space. There were many great games once they got the hang of it, but even some of the greats had horrid camera angles.

I’m looking at you, Super Mario 64.

Don’t get me wrong, Super Mario 64 is a great game — one of my favorite platformers. However, one can’t turn a blind eye on the game’s poor camera.

Players have the option of two different styles: one directly behind Mario and a free move camera. The behind Mario view is much like Z-targetting in Ocarina of Time, except that nothing is actually being locked onto. It isn’t as perfect as Ocarina’s, mainly due to the fact that it was an early build of things to come; Ocarina of Time’s engine is a heavily modified version of Super Mario 64′s. In this particular view, the camera would either be directly behind Mario at all times, or directly in front of Mario. As a result of this, the camera would often get stuck behind walls or in weird areas where you can’t see Mario during platforming sessions.

Okay, so what direction on the control stick will make me go down the ramp?

The free move camera is actually a little bit better, but it isn’t perfect. The camera can be moved left and right at any time, even when Mario is running and jumping. This cuts back on times where the camera will get stuck or view of Mario is lost, but the downside is that the camera can’t be moved up to get more of an overhead view of Mario.

Other games with horrid camera angles:

  • Any game from the Resident Evil series.
  • Psychonauts.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
  • Tecmo Bowl series.

What are some games that you feel have terrible camera angles, dear readers?

  11 Responses to “What the Nut? Edition One: Camera Angles”

  1. You know, most people praise Mario 64 for it’s excellent camera and showing the industry how to go about camera control in 3D. Then Ocarina of Time helped refine it for other genres with lock-on. But to each his one, they say.

  2. Is this some kind of joke article? Mario 64 had an excellent camera. Mario 64 practically revolutionized the 3D camera in the industry. How old are you exactly?

  3. Are you kidding me? You sir have just collected the rage of GoNintendo! seriously! Super Mario 64 has one of the best camera’s in any game! It set the bar for every 3d game to date! …and I’ve played it 64 times so far, and the camera NEVER got stuck!

  4. I guess for it’s time it was a great camera, but after playing newer games such as Sunshine (where you can freely control the camera with the C-stick), I agree with this article. The camera on mario 64 sucks. While playing, I lost count of how many times the camera got stuck and I ended up dying/falling off a platform because of it. I actually got surprised when I found out people call the camera on that game “excellent”. You don’t really have that much control over it, as it turn 90 degrees when you press C-left or right. Don’t get me wrong, I love this game and have great memories from it, but the camera was it’s only downside.

  5. I remember having a few problems with the camera, but I don’t think I’ve ever played a 3D game that didn’t. I mean, I’ve had a few problems with Mario Galaxy’s camera, and that’s what? 2-3 3D Mario games later?


  6. MM:

    Are you kidding me? You sir have just collected the rage of GoNintendo! seriously! Super Mario 64 has one of the best camera’s in any game! It set the bar for every 3d game to date! …and I’ve played it 64 times so far, and the camera NEVER got stuck!

    Totally disagree with you – I always had trouble with the camera in M64. Could have just been a gaming deficiency on my behalf but still it was hard to work with I always thought. Mario Galaxy though? That was great.

  7. While the camera in mario 64 was a massive leap forward in 3d camera tech, it has been far surpassed by cameras in today’s video games. It was great in it’s time, but now it’s old and clunky.

    That being said, I think the camera on mario galaxy gave me more problems than the one on mario 64. The mario 64 led to more camera related deaths, but I found that the camera in galaxy did not orient itself properly a lot of the times while going around the smaller planets, and that happened a lot more frequently and took a little bit longer to fix than the 64 camera.


  8. Super_Pickle:

    While the camera in mario 64 was a massive leap forward in 3d camera tech, it has been far surpassed by cameras in today’s video games. It was great in it’s time, but now it’s old and clunky.

    That being said, I think the camera on mario galaxy gave me more problems than the one on mario 64. The mario 64 led to more camera related deaths, but I found that the camera in galaxy did not orient itself properly a lot of the times while going around the smaller planets, and that happened a lot more frequently and took a little bit longer to fix than the 64 camera.

    Yeah I had trouble on the planet stages too – you would come around a planet and suddenly the orientation would change and now you’re walking in the opposite direction. AHHH!!! LoL!

  9. Aye, Super Mario Galaxy’s camera gave me all sorts of grief – some of the game’s elements were cutting edge, but their camera was sooooooo early 2000s. Ninty take pride in not paying attention to their opposition, but Insomniac were doing better cameras in comparable environments over half a decade earlier. Ie, in this case, by not learning from the best, Ninty’s star product was only ‘best in class’ if all you played was the Wii (it was still a good game, but the structure and core gameplay wasn’t as good as the best available on PS2, let alone PS3, and in large part due to the camera)

  10. I never had a death at Super Mario 64 because of the camera’s angle.Never.If you are interested in seeing some of the worst cameras of the 3d games then you should play Castlevania 64 and all 3d Sonic Hedgehog games.
    But actually I think that it’s weird to say that the game that invented the 3d camera feature had a bad camera.
    The reason we say that games have a camera when we change the angle of the action is because at Super Mario 64 you supposedely see the action from a camera a Lakitu is holding.
    Before SM64 there wasn’t even camera at videogames.

  11. Here's an example of a game with an awful camera, it's Super Mario Galaxy 2's green star missions. Okay, it's a deliberately evil move here, because the camera works perfectly… for the normal missions. But the green stars have just been designed to screw people over and make the camera completely useless for helping you line Mario up with them. Stone Cyclone Galaxy, Throwback Galaxy, Flipsville Galaxy and Starshine Beach Galaxy all have at least one of these placed where a blind leap of faith is required to reach. And God does this bit suck because of it.

    As for any accidentally bad cameras, I haven't seen any in games in this generation.

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