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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 phenomenon when dropped items hover a little way above the ground and spin to attract the attention of the player and make them stand out from the static background.

Subtrope of Spectacular Spinning.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • 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.

    Action Game 
  • 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.

    Adventure Game 

    Fighting Game 
  • Trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl and For 3DS/Wii U spin slowly in your gallery, and can be rotated manually. Ultimate finally did away with the trophies, as the dev team admitted they took a lot of time and space to model for very little pay-off in the end.
  • Soulcalibur 2 had this for the weapons gallery, when you could see them and a short bio piece.

    First Person Shooter 
  • 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. The models of most weapons can also be viewed directly from the inventory, which can be useful for previewing War Paints.
  • 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.

    Hack And Slash 
  • 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.

    Light Gun Game 

    Mecha Game 
  • Armored Core has been doing it from the first game.
  • MechWarrior does this in 2, 3, and 4 whenever you're in the MechLab in most cases.
    • In 2, you selected your 'Mech this way until you went into the MechLab proper.
    • In 3, the 'Mech was always rotating while the torso or limbs would highlight green to roughly indicate what you were working on.
    • In 4, your 'Mech rotated by default until you went to modify the weapons and armor in which it would display slots and meters, respectively, over the corresponding limbs.

    Platform Game 
  • Many a Ratchet & Clank game has allowed this:
    • Up Your Arsenal does this with trophies. Joystick controls let the spinning be either stopped, or sped up, and they can be spun vertically. The armor vendor and skins menu also rotate Ratchet's model with the appropriate attire, though this is done automatically.
    • Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty use the automatic type by using looping gifs of the weapons spinning.
    • A Crack in Time was the first in the series to allow you to do it manually as well as allow you to view gadgets and items in addition to weapons, both of which were brought back in Into the Nexus.
    • Ratchet & Clank (2016) used the automatic + manual variant, with the twist that Ratchet is shown holding the device in question. Helps put them into perspective.
    • Rift Apart adds a manual rotation to nearly every menu in the game, from weapons and gadgets to armor and collectibles (though the weapons menu returns to showing the weapons without Ratchet holding them). Unfortunately you are only able to rotate them horizontally and not vertically, which makes looking at the glove-based weapons and gadgets significantly less interesting.
  • 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.

    Racing Game 
  • 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).
  • Every F-Zero game did this to some extent depending on the game. Mode-7 games would rotate a racing machine when you selected it and then returned to an offset angle when you confirmed the selection. The 3D games would instead rotate the machine that your cursor is highlighting and rotate in the tuning menu before a race began.

    Role Playing Game 

    Shoot Em Up 
  • 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.)

    Simulation Game 
  • 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 PiƱata: 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.

    Stealth Based Game 

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark (1992), the first three games. Very possibly the Ur-example.
  • Blame Him: You can pick up objects and rotate them while they are in your inventory.
  • 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.
  • Silent Hill does this. It is also the only game in the franchise that does this, as later entries would instead use static images for items on inventory screens.
  • Today Is My Birthday: Items you first pick up can be rotated.

    Third Person Shooter 

    Visual Novel 

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The 3-d Grand Theft Auto games would do this with pickups, ranging from cash to heavy weapons.
  • Weirdly enough, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim introduced the adventure game rotate-item-for-clue variety to the series.
  • In The Godfather: The Game you can manually spin weapons in a certain menu screen, but only horizontally.

  • 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.
  • Save files for the PlayStation 2 were displayed as game-relevant 3D models which spun after you selected one; some of them even animated, and would sometimes change animations if you selected a file for deletion (if the devs bothered to animate that).