What is a 2.5D Game?

Quick video explaining what a 2.5D video game is.
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  1. No, 2.5 d is a pseudo 3D effect in a 2D engine, where you only take into account x and y. The best example is old 16bit beatem ups, where you can move up dawon left and right and also jump in a simulated z coordinate, which can´t exist in a 2d engine

  2. So new Battletoads for XBox is going to be sidescrolling game, like New Super Mario Bros. I was afraid that they were going to fuck it up by going full 3d…

  3. That's not what 2.5d is but don't feel bad about it. Even Wikipedia got it wrong. 2.5d was a term originally coined specifically for video games and particularly in reference to one type of game; beat'em'ups. And no, I don't mean 1 vs. 1 tournament fighters. I mean games where you go through swarms of enemies and beat em all up, hence the terminology of beat'em'up (em = them not him). Some good examples of 2.5d beat'em'ups are River City Ransom, Double Dragon, The Simpsons Arcade Game, Ninja Gaiden (the arcade game, not the nes game which is a platformer or the xbox game that is 3d), and Battletoads; but there are many more besides just those.
    Notice how in all of those games that I mentioned you can move towards and away from the background (there is depth) and you can jump and/or climb upon platforms. You can traverse upon more than just one plane (think of it as layers of the ground or height change).

    If the character moves through 3 planes of movement while the view is affixed to a single perspective, then it is 2.5d.
     2.5d = 2.5 dimensions of movement for the main character. The camera does not rotate upon the axis; that is 3d.

    It does not matter whether 3d visual trickery is there or not. If there is no movement of the main character through all 3 planes, it is not 2.5d.
    Most games that people label as 2.5d today are not actually 2.5d at all, but simply 2d with a few 3d visual tricks added or a 3d game that has been constrained to one perspective. A 2.5d game can be made with a 3d engine if it sticks to the one true definition; 3 planes of movement for the character in a single perspective view = 2.5d. Games that are 2.5d are usually side-scrolling, but some other games may fit the definition.

    Everyone gets the definition of 2.5d wrong so I just thought maybe I should clear it up a little for people with this comment.
    Please don't take offense at my futile attempts to educate people as none is intended. Thank you for reading my informative little rant.

    I honestly believe that there should be some more terms coined to prevent confusion … for instance, why not have 2.1 dimensional be the term for 2d games with 3d visual trickery and 2.9 dimensional games be the term for games that are closer to 3d than what a normal 2.5d ever would be?
     If it were up to me, I would place anything created with a 3d engine under the 2.9 dimensional terminology rather than 2.5d, even if it fits strictly to the 2.5d definition otherwise; simply because 2.5d games were originally created in 2d and given more freedom of movement for the protagonist/character, not scaled back 3d.

  4. This is a good coverage. Thanks for this, especially since so many people seem so unclear on what 2.5D is. I also would have personally opted for a different game example (although this one is valid), but a game like new n' Tasty is much more clear and striking in the way it utilizes 2.5D.

  5. I don't think New Super Mario Bros was a good game to talk about as some, myself included, don't consider it 2.5D. You should have talked about Kirby 64, Donkey Kong Country; Tropical Freeze, or another game that at some point, looks like it's in 3D.

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