Graphics are like drugs. To keep getting the same high you have to constantly up the dosage. Here are games that have made my head explode over the years:
– Pitfall (1982, Atari 2600): Wow, your guy actually looks like a person instead of a little splotch of pixels!
– Swordquest Earthworld (1983, Atari 2600): When I first saw that opening screen with the glowing sword, I couldn’t believe that had been done on an Atari 2600.
– B.C. Quest For Tires (1983, C64): Its bold cartoony graphics cured me of my jealousy toward Colecovision owners over “Smurf Adventure.”
– Faery Tale Adventures (1987, Amiga): This game sold at least one Amiga. By far the best graphics I’d ever seen in an RPG.
– Outrun (1987, arcade): I don’t think any arcade game has made my jaw drop the way Outrun did. I just couldn’t believe graphics could be that good.
– Times of Lore (1988, C64): I was astounded that the C64 could still compete graphically, but this was one sweet looking game. Especially some of those still shots in the opening sequence (i.e. the picture of the knight in chain-mail). I’d say this is the slickest-looking game ever made for the '64.
– Shadow of the Beast (1989, Amiga): Wow, 13 layers of parallax!
– Virus (1990?, Amiga): Who needs parallax? It’s all in 3D! The parallax happens automatically!!!
– Unreal (1998, PC): For two years after its release, this was still one of the best looking games around. The textures were so crisp, the colors so vibrant. Sadly, the poly counts now look painfully low.
– Unreal Tournament (1999, PC): The “Phobos” level in the demo sold this game for me.
– Imperium Galactica 3 demo (2002, PC): Best space graphics I’ve seen yet. It’s kinda fun to watch early CGI movies like “The Last Starfighter” and know that I now officially have videogames that look better…