Having seen the successful transition the Mario series had made from two to three dimensions, publishers adhered themselves swiftly to the bandwagon with something approaching gay abandon, using naught but the flimsiest of justifications as a tether.
Fact is, the technology was still finding its feet. Whereas 2D gaming had been perfected in the decades preceding this graceless transition, many great game franchises were almost ruined by rushing headlong into the gaping jaws of 3D (not to be confused with the gaping jaws of Jaws 3D: a bad film).
Too little thought was given as to how they should best translate 2D gaming mechanics into three-dimensional environments. Few developers employed the sort of careful consideration Nintendo had clearly lavished on Mario. Regrettably, it was a time of great darkness, and few of these games have weathered the "annals" (ha ha) of time.
Here are but ten of them. Ha ha: "but-ten" (bottom).
Their silly behaviour continued for the inevitable sequel, except the action had switched to being a more traditional side-on platform game. It was decent enough, but it cast a much shorter shadow. Consequence: it was almost ten years before the characters resurfaced on the Xbox - by which time Sega had almost drowned in a bath of its own hubris, after dragging with them a three-bar fire marked "inexorable event".
Although it played similarly to the original game, the characters had of course gone all 3D, losing much of their charm in the process. Indeed, they were even given voices - revealing them as lecherous alien pigs, who said of the cheerleaders they encountered: "Show me what you're working with" and "look at the size of those pom-poms".
Why, I'm appalled! My inner salad is rolling in its grave, and by "grave" I mean "lower intestine" (yes: I've got the runs).
What a crushing shame then that the developers of the second sequel in the series - released on the N64 and PC - failed to appreciate any of that.
Without the involvement of the original team at Shiny, development was given over to the unproven VIS Entertainment, who clearly lacked the wit and skill to make a game worthy of the franchise. Series creators Dave "Not That One" Perry and Doug "Yes, This Really Is His Name" TenNapel were hired as consultants early during the game's protracted development. However, having sold their rights to the character, they were eventually booted out the door after expressing their horror at how it was progressing.
The end result was a horrible 3D mess with a horrible camera, and none of the unbridled embracing of video game potential.
Let us pause to reflect on this: Earthworm Jim had been co-created by a man called "Mr Ten-Nipples".
And yet, somehow, the franchise was considered enough of a success that this is precisely what happened. Making the by-now-predictable transition into 3D, Bubsy's already wafer-thin reputation was rent completely asunder by the resulting travesty.
Slow, unresponsive, and once again sacrificing charm for cat-related puns, Bubsy 3D should've been the end of it... were it not for last year's The Woolies Strike Back. If nothing else, that soggy hairball of a game at least succeeded in maintaining Bubsy's atrocious reputation.
Lacking the bold visuals of it 2D predecessor, it was an ugly wretch in three-dimensions, and the classic gameplay became more trial-and-error button-mashing than any exercise of skill.
The storyline - such as it was - also chose to portray previous antagonist Cody as an addict, hooked on a new street drug that gave him superhuman powers. You know: like the magic mushrooms which Super Mario is beholden to.
Much of this baffling narrative played out via cutscenes that were as uniformly terrible as the game they were spliced with.
The genius of Lemmings was its simplicity; a game in which you steered a tribe of suicidal lemmings towards safe passage. This was done through adapting their environment by assigning tasks to the lemmings to build ramps, holes and "struts" - thus starting a proverbial "lemming party".
That's also what you were required to do in 3D Lemmings, except with the added complication that you couldn't always work out what the hell was going on due to now having to track the progress of the Lemmings by rotating the 3D levels.
Would this be a good time to ask why the lemmings in Lemmings don't look anything like actual lemmings? Why do they look like a cross between a Smurf, The Joker and Demis Roussos?
Ha ha: "Demis"...
MK4 was actually relatively well-received at the time, given that most games journos of the era still hadn't gotten over the novelty of seeing their favourite games make the move to 3D. Alas, while it clips along at a decent lick - even in the console ports - there's no disguising its age, or that it looks worse than the games which came before it.
Chunky polygon blood spurts might be a good name for a wacky alternative band, but they're not something any game has ever benefitted from.
Still, it has fared a lot better than the justly forgotten Prince of Persia 3D, with its horrible character models, Tomb Raider-lite gameplay, and troublesome camera angles. By the time this came out Lara Croft was already three years old, and PoP 3D already looked more dated than... oh, I dunno... a Deglet Nour farm (look it up).
Making essentially the same game 3D unfortunately lost this element entirely, and though the 3D worms were characterful enough, it lacked the addictive qualities which has seen the series endure - in 2D, lest we forget - to this very day.
Interestingly, "worms 3D" is also the name of a chronic parasitic infestation of the lower intestine, closely associated with "diarrhoea 360", or "brownaround".
While the N64 may have played host to many great games, far too many others suffered from 3D-itis. The graphics on so many N64 titles were muddy, fuzzy and brown - like my thighs - and too few developers really got to grips with the theoretically clever N64 controller.
The original Castlevania games are so well regarded that they even lent their name to an entire genre - albeit sharing the spotlight with Metroid. Regardless, it's fair to suggest that few gamers are thinking of Castlevania 64 when they talk about "Metroidvania" games.
Again, like certain others on this list, Castlevania 64 wasn't completely slated upon release, but even looking at the more positive reviews it received, it's hard not to detect a hint of disappointment. Has there ever been a more damning epithet for a game than this from IGN: "Outstanding sound effects with lots of bass"?
LOTS of bass you say? Well, sign me up, daddy!
It simultaneously highlighted everything that was wrong about the Virtual Boy while also failing to appreciate what made Tetris one of the all-time greatest video games ever conceived. If there's one thing you don't want in a game where the goal is to stack blocks on top of one another it's this: a perspective which almost continually obscures your view.
The result was an unsightly, confounding, scarlet monstrosity, which really should have been twisted around its own torso and thumbed through the middle of a quoit.