Whether youre flying
across the world
in microsoft flight simulator,
swinging across man hattan roof tops
or exploring the open-world
of red dead redemption 2,
one thing these games have in common
is their stunning
Its hard to believe
how much video game
graphics have evolved
throughout the years,
especially when we consider
the extremely limited visuals
were from just 50 years ago.
So how did we get to
the ultra realistic graphics
we see in games today?
This is the evolution of
video game graphics!
Lets go back to the early 1950s,
the first video games appeared.
The earliest known interactive game
was the cathode-ray amusement device in 1947.
look like a game but
rather a boring program
you had to use in high school…
In 1950, the first true game
a tic-tac-toe game called bertie the brain.
The following year the first
gaming computer was made,
The main focus wasnt entertainment,
but rather to prove computers could carry out
very complex practical problems.
that the first game simply for
entertainment purposes was built.
The game was tennis for two,
and it became an
with hundreds of visitors waiting in line
to play the game during its debut.
The tennis game was
the earliest games
to feature moving graphics.
Another worthy mention
during the early days of
video game development
1962 video game space war!
This game was developed by steve russel
and some other people at mit
on a pdp-1 mini computer.
the game, two players fight each other
to try to destroy each others spaceship.
Not only was it very popular,
but it is
one of the most important games
in early video game history.
It inspired many other games,
such as computer
and space invaders.
did you know that the original space war!
Is still playable at the computer history
Not only is it the original game
it is also still playable on the pdp-1 computer.
Up until the 1970s,
were still very expensive,
and only a few people could afford them.
For instance, the pdp-1 cost about $120,000,
or over $1
million today when adjusted for inflation!
Because of this,
only a lucky few were able to play games.
However, the video
transitioned into a new era
with the introduction of the first
commercial arcade video game,
The developers, nolan bushnell
and ted dabney,
created large cabinets on which
people could play the game.
developers founded atari
and launched the famous
pong video game in 1972.
Pong became the first
and it helped to establish
the video game industry.
At the same time, the first
home console was developed,
During this era, many
other consoles were created,
including the atari 2600,
which we extensively feature
in the evolution of atari.
Many new and very simple games
were developed for this console,
But then, the
of arcade games began
with the release of space invaders in 1978.
Video game graphics significantly improved
from the basic lines, dots, and blocks
commonly found in most games before that period.
space invaders was a huge
The game had a net profit of $450 million,
which is equivalent to over
1.3 billion dollars today!
Making it one of the most successful games of all time.
Almost at the same time, rgb color graphics
were becoming more
allowing for animated multi-color sprites.
In 1979, galaxian was released
and became one of the first games
feature rgb color graphics.
Unlike most video games before that time
with static backgrounds,
galaxian also had a scrolling
Another significant development
in video game graphics during this period
was the introduction of vector
Popular games used these vector graphics,
a space-themed shooter released in 1979
and star wars
released a few years later
and was praised for being one of the
greatest video games at the time.
At the end of the golden
age of arcade games,
colored graphics had become the norm
in almost every video game.
Games like the popular 1980 pac-man
would not have been the same
without these important colorful graphics.
japanese video game designer
invent a game that would
revolutionize the video game market.
While out with friends,
he ordered a pizza.
the lack of appetite,
he only cut off a slice.
Suddenly the designer thought
of the pizza as a game character.
imagination, it looked like a
creature that needed to eat,
and that is how pac-man was born.
The golden age of arcade games
came quickly to an end
with the video game crash of 1983.
Revenues of the video game industry
peaked at around $3.2
then fell massively to around
$100 million by 1985,
which is a drop of almost 97%!
The crash was attributed to
one of the most important ones
was the poor quality of game titles
that were released.
However, one of the
that was still very successful despite the crash
was nintendos donkey kong.
The game was praised for its graphics,
animations, and characters,
which gave the game some what of a story.
The nintendo entertainment system, or nes,
incredibly important in
reviving the video game industry.
Game graphics quickly became more appealing
during the mid and
as sprite technology continued to improve.
This can be seen in games that
were released during this period,
including super mario bros
the legend of zelda
and street fighter.
At the end of the 1980s,
2d graphics had
and game developers started
experimenting with 3d graphics.
Cd-rom was also introduced as storage,
allowing developers to store more data.
Although the early attempts of creating
3d graphics resulted in an imitation
as pseudo-3d or 2.5d graphics,
most of the games released during
this period were more colorful
and had satisfying
One of these games was street fighter ii, released in 1991.
One of the methods used by developers
known as parallax scrolling.
This technique is used to
create a sense of depth
by making the different
layers of the background
move independently of
each other at different speeds.
Images far away in the background
images in the foreground.
I often use this technique in my animations
to give them a more 3d feel.
popular games with 2.5d graphics
include the sims
and, of course,
sonic the hedgehog.
sonic could have had a
very different name.
Originally, the suggested name was
mr. Need lemouse.
Starting from the mid-1990s,
most video games
fully into using 3d graphics.
In 1992, virtua racing was released,
and it is considered one of the first
games to use 3d graphics.
Another worthy mention
during these early days of 3d graphics
is the 1993 doom.
This game instantly
the first-person shooter genre,
and it was also one of the first
to feature multiplayer capabilities.
revolution was fueled
by intense competition among
video game companies
to create more powerful consoles.
introduction of the play station in 1994,
countless 3d games were introduced,
including gran turismo,
which was incredibly
difficult to develop.
Game designer kazunori yamauchi said quote,
all the hard work resulted in
one of the greatest
racing games ever released.
In 2001, grand theft auto iii was released.
With its impressive 3d graphics,
it set a new benchmark for open-world games.
Another significant game was half-life 2.
It had very advanced physics,
sound, ai, and graphics for its time.
During the early 21st-century,
we continued to see an unprecedented
which led to games with expansive worlds
and graphics more realistic than ever before.
Gears of war was released
during this period.
Ign called it
in 2007, halo 3 was released,
utilizing a proprietary in-house graphics engine,
such as high dynamic range,
global lighting, and motion blurring.
In 2011, skyrim had significant
its time due to the creation engine,
which allowed for a draw distance
that renders further than
elder scroll game.
Dynamic lighting allowed shadows to be
created by any object in the large
open-world fantasy game.
was launched in 2013,
and one of the major goals while
developing the game was to
The ceo of crytek said
while pcs are generally known for
having the highest graphics,
the play station 4 and xbox one, released in 2013,
major step forward for
game graphics on consoles,
allowing for a new generation of games
with much better graphics.
the games for these consoles was
the witcher 3, released in 2015.
It is considered one of the
greatest games of all time
to its huge open world,
plot, and graphics.
Another game with impressive graphics
that was released in the same year
both consoles was star wars battlefront.
Another worthy mention is horizon zero dawn,
which was released in 2017.
It has a
gorgeous and colorful open world
filled with robotic creatures.
The machines and world were
inspired by bbc documentaries,
which allowed for these amazing visuals.
The game won multiple awards, including
best graphics by igns best of 2017
before creating horizon zero dawn,
guerilla games had only created
the killzone franchise.
The studio wanted
to create an entirely different game.
So, instead of a linear first-person shooter
in a dark dystopian world,
they created an
action role-playing game
with a colorful and beautiful open world.
In 2018, multiple games were released
that set a new
benchmark for video game graphics.
First, there was god of war;
the franchise stepped it up by developing a
Only a few months later,
marvels spider-man was launched,
allowing spider-man to swing
through beautiful new
And there was, of course,
red dead redemption 2,
which not only has phenomenal visuals
but also has many mind-
blowing little details,
such as arthurs facial hair,
which grows in real-time.
Game engines are incredibly important
evolution of video game graphics.
In 2020, epic games revealed unreal engine 5,
which supports the next-generation
play station 5
and xbox series x and s.
One of the major features of
unreal engine 5 is nanite,
an engine that allows for
photographic source materials
to be imported into games.
To significantly improve the lighting,
It has dynamic lighting,
and it allows light to bounce off other objects
to create more realistic and beautiful
Unreal engine 5 allows for an
unprecedented level of detail
with an impressive draw distance.
In 2020, microsoft
flight simulator was released.
Lets just take a moment to appreciate
how magnificent the game looks.
This game is massive!
In fact, it simulates the entire earth
using textures and data from bing maps.
Microsoft partnered with black shark. Ai,
used the ground-breaking
technology of microsoft azure
and artificial intelligence to analyze map data
and generate photo
realistic 3d models of objects.
The game also has realistic physics
and real-world weather data.
This really is the future
In 2020, cyberpunk 2077 was released,
and it was one of the most
anticipated games of all time.
While the open
world of night city looks gorgeous,
the game had a disastrous launch as a
result of the bugs and performance issues.
led to sony removing the game
from the play station store.
None the less, the game was praised for its visual quality,
atmosphere of the world, and
players and fans create mods to modify games.
These mods can make
games incredibly realistic.
Lets look at some amazing examples of modded games,
such as cyberpunk
sky rim ,
grand theft auto
the legend of zelda: , breath of the wild
and red dead redemption 2.
In 2021, forza horizon 5 was launched.
who loves racing games,
this truly is a dream come true.
The scale of the game is significantly
larger than its
Developers utilized photo grammetry data
to make the environment look
as close as possible to real-life
In late 2021 unreal engine 5 released a demo
for the play station 5 and xbox series x and s.
The matrix awakens:
unreal engine 5 experience is a
boundary-pushing technical demo.
It has a dense, open-world city environment,
made out of
billions of polygons
resulting in some of the
most impressive graphics ive ever seen!
Although the demo is not a game,
offers a vision for
what the future of interactive content could be
with incredibly rich and complex environments
photo real cinematic spectacles.
And finally, a game that
has yet to be released
while making this article
is the sequel to
horizon zero dawn,
called horizon forbidden west.
The game will be larger than its predecessor
and will feature underwater
It takes advantage of the play station 5s
increased processing power,
3d special audio,
reduced loading times,
and improved visual effects.
These next-generation graphics look
how much video game graphics
have improved over the years.
The graphics we have today
are exactly what my
dreamed gaming would be in the future.
Ive no doubt game graphics will continue to evolve,
and i cant
wait to see what the future of gaming will bring us.