2D is NOT dead! Folks are still making really innovative, and sexy cool, 2D games that just wouldn’t have been possible back in the 8-bit and 16-bit days. In those days, tiled graphics backgrounds and 32×32 pixel 8-frame sprite animations (or smaller) were the normal, and limits of the hardware. These days, 2D games can have segmented body parts, bone animation (with IK) and parallax graphics using non-tiled backgrounds. I’ve been reading a lot lately about how games like Aquaria, Braid, Boingo and many other modern 2D games are building their levels.
Some very cleaver guys have been working on how to make level editors for game engines like IndieLib and HGE. These are brilliant.
Mercior’s Polygon Level Editor
Game Tutorial on a Non-Tiled Level Editor
Do you guys know of others I should be looking for?