In your videogame the inventory screen uses the actual in-game 3D model of the item in the inventory display. Makes double-use of the effort and shows off the work. The problem is that by itself and close up the model doesn't look very good. Especially in older games, where it might not even be recognizable.
The solution? Set it spinning! Shows off your spiffy 3D model and your game engine. Have it pulse toward the player for extra spiff.
The spinning inventory item can be split into two types, automatic and manual. Manual spinning is sometimes necessary to examine items for information necessary to progress in the game.
Some games combine both automatic and manual spinning. Allowing the player to stop the rotation by applying reverse spin, or doubling the speed.
Some games may actually use this for a puzzle—you have to spin an item to find something written on it, for example.
Sometimes items may be arranged in a 3D ring
which can be rotated to bring different items to the front. Tomb Raider: Anniversary
brought this technique back from the original series of games. The individual items may still spin.
There is also a videogame phenomena when dropped items hover a little way above the ground and spin for no adequately explained reason.
Subtrope of Everything's Better with Spinning
- Beyond Good & Evil: Inventory items can be rotated manually. This is important for finishing the game, as the randomly-generated passwords for some safes and doors are written on certain objects.
- Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy does this with your monster book—including the pulsing.
- Lupin III: Treasure of the Sorcerer King has spinning items, and at least one puzzle required you to spin an item to find a code.
- King's Quest VII. The prerendered 3D models look quite primitive, but at least by rotating them you can find hidden details.
- The Journeyman Project. Whenever an inventory item is inspected, there's a higher resolution view of it automatically rotating, sometimes in a general circle, but other times in completely random directions.
- Quest for Glory V included this as part of the franchise's transition to 3D.
- Trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl spin slowly in your gallery, and can be rotated manually.
- SoulCalibur 2 had this for the weapons gallery, when you could see them and a short bio piece.
Hack and Slash
- GoldenEye (1997) for N64
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: The logbook.
- Rather than just showing the model of the item, Team Fortress 2's loadout screen lets you spin a model of the character equipping each item.
- Serious Sam has bouncing, spinning items on the ground.
- The Borderlands series lets you get a close up of your gun this way. In fact, the regular menu view isn't even of icons; because Procedural Generation gives so many different guns it actually renders a view of them inside each window.
Light Gun Game
- In some of the Dynasty Warriors games, you can examine your character models up close and rotate it, as well as switch out the alternate outfits.
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal does this with trophies. Joystick controls let the spinning be either stopped, or sped up. The trophies can also be spun vertically.
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary does this with relics. Again, joystick controls can affect the spin.
- Lara's inventory is on a ring, which is spun manually to bring different items to the forefront. The items pulse, but do not spin themselves.
- Neo Drift Out shows the Digitized Sprites of the car models spinning around in the Attract Mode (though not when actually selecting the player car).
Shoot 'em Up
- Inventory items in Star Ocean: The Second Story.
- Dropped in the PSP remake, as people would no longer be impressed with spinning 300+ identical swords, bottles of wine, plates of food, etc., and the models wasted a lot of space.
- The Dark Cloud games could present weapons like this for Item Crafting purposes.
- Final Fantasy VIII has a "Scan" ability. Cast "Scan" on an enemy, and you'll get a rotating 3D image of the enemy, along with stats, HP, strengths and weaknesses. Though, knowing their audience, Squaresoft doesn't let you tilt the camera up or down when the target of the spell is a skirted female like Selphie...
- The inventory popups in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines does this. You can even click-hold and drag to control the item's orientation. This also applies to the character screen, where it can even demonstrate the Jiggle Physics.
- In Skyrim, you can get a good look at the 3D model for any item in your inventory. It particularly comes into play if you need to find the combination that's on the underside of the Dragon Claws.
- The Continue screen of the original Star Fox game would show off a variety of enemy ships and items, as well as a high-polygon version of the Arwing, on a grid. You could leave them spinning automatically, or control the pitch, yaw, direction, and speed of the rotation. You could even make the models leave after-images (an effect used in-game by the Phantron.)
- The items in the catalog menu in Animal Crossing spin automatically. However, wallpaper, carpet, and paper would appear as still 2D images, at least until later games where they would be spinning 3D models.
- Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise does this in the encyclopedia screen for all the items and seeds. It doesn't do it for the plants and decorations, though, since they're sprites and not polygons.
- Ace Combat:
- The PlayStation 2 games have the camera rotating above/around the planes in the hanger as you mull over just how you want to blow your enemies to kingdom come. Most games also allow you to control the camera.
- Ace Combat 2 was the one that started it for the series. You also got to even view the enemy's paint schemes, as well as enemy exclusive aircraft like bombers and helicopters through it as well.
- Super Power had an especially egregious use: the design screen had spinning models, when there wasn't any other use of 3D in the entire game(units were just symbols on the battle screen).
- Many of the X-Wing series of games had a section where holographic (and fully-spinnable) replicas of Rebel, Imperial, and neutral craft were available to view.
- Alone in the Dark (1992), the first three games. Very possibly the Ur-example.
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem had the items set in the pages of a tome but you can examine items and rotate them. It's needed for some of the puzzles.
- Same thing for the original Resident Evil where certain clues were hidden from view until you turned the item around. Particularly annoying that the character wouldn't notice the type of key he just picked up without you physically looking at the other side in the inventory.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
- Also Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, being that the 5th case of Phoenix Wright was basically a preview of AJ's features.
- The 3-d Grand Theft Auto games would do this with pickups, ranging from cash to heavy weapons.
- In The Godfather: The Game you can manually spin weapons in a certain menu screen, but only horizontally.
- Weirdly enough, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim introduced the adventure game rotate-item-for-clue variety to the series.
- The Nintendo 3DS main menu. Most menu items either spin like a turntable or rotate slowy. Some of them can be spun real fast by flicking the analog stick or blowing into the microphone. Wonder why the Miis don't fly off in Streetpass Mii Plaza when this happens.
- The collected items in Katamari Damacy.
- Shows and expos displaying new items being introduced to the market are usually placed on a rotating platform to fully display the item at all angles. Similarly, exclusive or popular items sold in stores may be placed on a rotating platform to entice customers to buy it.
- The Price Is Right sometimes displays a small prize like cameras or phones on a spinning platform to show it off at all sides.