Evolution of Video Games – Games X

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Whether youre flying
across the world

in microsoft flight simulator,

swinging across man hattan roof tops

in marvels


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


expansive worlds
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.

Yeah, this

doesnt really
look like a game but

rather a boring program
you had to use in high school…

In 1950, the first true game

was released;

a tic-tac-toe game called bertie the brain.

The following year the first
gaming computer was made,

the nimrod.

The main focus wasnt entertainment,

but rather to prove computers could carry out

very complex practical problems.

It wasnt

until 1958

that the first game simply for
entertainment purposes was built.

The game was tennis for two,

and it became an

instant sensation

with hundreds of visitors waiting in line

to play the game during its debut.

The tennis game was
one of

the earliest games

to feature moving graphics.

Another worthy mention

during the early days of
video game development

is the

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

also considered
one of the most important games

in early video game history.

It inspired many other games,

such as computer


and space invaders. 



 Fun fact

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

game industry
transitioned into a new era

with the introduction of the first
commercial arcade video game,

computer space,

in 1971.

The developers, nolan bushnell
and ted dabney,

created large cabinets on which
people could play the game.

The two

developers founded atari

and launched the famous
pong video game in 1972.

Pong became the first
commercially successful

video game,

and it helped to establish
the video game industry.

At the same time, the first
home console was developed,


magnavox odyssey.

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,

including combat.

But then, the

golden age
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.

Fun fact

space invaders was a huge

commercial success.

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,

including asteroids,

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.

Fun fact

japanese video game designer
tohru iwatani

wanted to

invent a game that would
revolutionize the video game market.

While out with friends,
he ordered a pizza.

Due to

the lack of appetite,
he only cut off a slice.

Suddenly the designer thought
of the pizza as a game character.

In his

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

several factors,

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

late 1980s

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

final fantasy

and street fighter.

At the end of the 1980s,

2d graphics had

improved significantly,

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
to achieve

pseudo-3d graphics

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

move much

slower than
images in the foreground.

I often use this technique in my animations
to give them a more 3d feel.

Examples of

popular games with 2.5d graphics

include the sims


and, of course,

sonic the hedgehog.

Fun fact

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.

The 3d

revolution was fueled

by intense competition among
video game companies

to create more powerful consoles.

With the

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
ground-breaking graphics


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
surge in


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,

allowing for

graphic technologies

such as high dynamic range,

global lighting, and motion blurring.

In 2011, skyrim had significant

visuals for
its time due to the creation engine,

which allowed for a draw distance

that renders further than
any previous

elder scroll game.

Dynamic lighting allowed shadows to be
created by any object in the large

open-world fantasy game.

Crysis 3

was launched in 2013,

and one of the major goals while
developing the game was to

push graphics.

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,

were a

major step forward for
game graphics on consoles,

allowing for a new generation of games

with much better graphics.

One of

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




 Fun fact

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
gorgeous action-

adventure game.

Only a few months later,

marvels spider-man was launched,

allowing spider-man to swing
through beautiful new

york city.

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

for the

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,

lumen was


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

of gaming.

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.

It even

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

cyberpunk setting.

Fun fact

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

v ,

the legend of zelda: , breath of the wild

and red dead redemption 2.

In 2021, forza horizon 5 was launched.



 For anyone

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,

custom ssd,

3d special audio,



reduced loading times,

and improved visual effects.

These next-generation graphics look
absolutely phenomenal.

It is

truly unbelievable

how much video game graphics

have improved over the years.

The graphics we have today

are exactly what my

12-year-old self

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.

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