Friday night topic: Video game graphics, then and now


— 4:00 PM on March 8, 2013

I know in my bones that graphics technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over time and that video game visuals have improved to take advantage—but those changes have been spread out over years, and they've come gradually, in evolutionary steps. As a result, I don't think we always realize how very, very much things have changed.

This effect produces some embarrassing results, like during one podcast recording session when I asserted that Skyrim was nice but wasn't that much of an improvement visually over Oblivion. At that point, Cyril offered up an image comparison along the lines of this one, showing old versus new:

So yeah, heh. I was wrong about that.

The contrasts turned more amusing this week when I saw a couple of comparisons. Here's Lara Croft from the original 1996 Tomb Raider versus the recent reboot:

Awesome. I had forgotten that Laura was an alien from the Alpha Centauri sector.

Then there's the announcement of a new Thief game, which gives us the opportunity compare the original:

With screenshots from the new one:

Heh. We are living in the fuuuuuuutuuuuurrrre.

I'm pretty sure it's public record that, at various points along the way, I looked at those older games' visuals, which now seem incredibly dated and simplistic, and declared them to be amazing and awesome. But so did a lot of folks.

The question is: which games from the past that were considered quite good at the time now look the most hilariously dated? Can you find other really striking direct comparisons between games then and now?

Do any of those older games' graphics actually stand up pretty well?

Discuss.

Oh, and check out the gallery below for a comparison between Crytek's orginal Far Cry and Crysis 3.

   
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