3D Camera – Mario 64
Manipulating a 3D camera with an analog stick is a mechanic so deeply woven into the DNA of modern action games that it’s become second nature, we take it completely for granted. But things weren’t always this way. The 3D camera was a mechanic that had to be conceptualized and executed like any other, and Mario 64 started it all.
Prior to Mario 64’s explosion onto the scene back in 1996, 3D action games were in their infancy, and no hard and fast rules existed for controlling camera movement in a 3D space. Even games of the same year, such as Crash Bandicoot, used an on-rails camera that tracked the protagonist from a static position. Mario 64 changed everything, adding a fully rotatable camera which became the blueprint, not only for subsequent 3D action platformers but all third person games as a whole.