The Evolution of Video Game Graphics


The Verge

Game critics claim The Witcher 3 along with other games like it allow gamers to truly experience the digital world like never before. Players can access and roam almost all areas of the game. Anything you can possibly imagine can happen in a video game, thanks to advances in technology.

Jemiah Clemons, Opinions Editor

Today, gamers all over the world take for granted the thousands of different games online, from platform games and RPGs to shooters and free roam games. While the 3D games of yesterday cannot compare to today’s, in the early 1980s, games like Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back used cutting-edge technology. From Pac-Man to Grand Theft Auto (GTA), video game designs have improved tremendously over time. 

“The quality from when I was a kid compared to now is drastically different. I went from playing GTA San Andreas to The Last of Us. Even the grass in newer games looks so vivid on screen,” junior Erica Holder said.

For the first time in 1999, 3D graphics started to resemble modern game graphics. Advances in computer hardware meant games truly looked 3D, unlike previous games. For example, the original Doom and Wolfenstein games appeared as 3D, but the game designers actually ran it on a 2D engine instead. In addition to graphics, gaming consoles upgraded from previous designs  as well. The Dreamcast console incorporated modern day graphics. Over time, the big three companies of today’s games, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, all followed suit, with consoles like GameCube, PlayStation and Xbox.

“Even the glitching has either decreased or stopped in most new games. Before, glitching would happen and would almost always mess up the game’s graphics for a few seconds. Sometimes a glitch can be hilarious, but other times it delays the flow of the game,” junior Solange Griffith said.

With dull and “blocky” designs, older video games did not give gamers the full experience. In several free roam games, players cannot access certain areas or buildings. This appears most when the on screen avatar tries walking somewhere, but will continue to walk in place if the game does not allow player access. Over time, the game restrictions started to frustrate several gamers and they demanded for better designs and more roaming ability. Per their request, companies redesigned games to further accommodate the gamers. Open-world video games bear the impossible promise of offering compelling and freedom within the constraints of any possibility. 

These games provide, predominantly violent, the options nobody would face in  real-life situations. Yet, gamers cannot stop playing these addictive games. While video game graphics came a long way, plenty of improvement can still happen. Only time will tell when video games and reality will appear indistinguishable. How will game creators continue to innovate graphics in the future?