A Brief History of Graphics, Part 1

This is the 8-bit mario.

This is the 8-bit mario.

This story was inspired by Xbox Ahoy or Stuart Browns YouTube 5-part video history on video game graphics, his first part is up here. ^

There is a beautiful thing in the world called video games. Some people love them for the story, and some love it for the party fun it gives with family, and some like them for the graphics, very relevant to the evolution of video game graphics.

Game visuals are the most obvious indicator to their  technology. From naive origins or the explosion from arcades to home consoles and the emergence and refinement to three-dimensional games, graphics have gone a long way in the course of video game history.

When video games were first introduced, they were really only amounted to electronic novelties. These new pixel platforms went up steps with every game. In an era, where simply moving a flicker of light down a TV, was outstanding. Games like Pong, were considered to belong in the future at the time, and some games would tap in the sci-fi interest of the industry revolution, and for the first time ever, video games were cool.

This is an old timer, back then, this was considered a space age wonder!
This is an old timer is Pong, back then, this was considered a space age wonder!

Although this explosion of achievements from the industry, it wouldn’t last forever and the need for more advance technology set back the gaming industry. The need for more advance hardware, and better visuals were becoming clear. For example, Space Invaders, they were to realize that color was needed, thus, they added color from their first version of the game.

Full color graphics were the next thing in the evolution timeline. Color was an early threshold for arcade games and even though color TV’s existed before the second World War, most games were limited to a monochrome display. One trick game developers used were color overlays, a color sheet over a black display, to add background and spruce up the way it looks. Although a limited solution, it was surely a cheap one. Although monochrome games were still raking coins, technology would have a chance to catch up.

The very first games to actually use a color display are hard to say, some only existed as prototypes, for example, a color variant of Gotcha was made a few months after its release in arcades.

Join us back in a month to get part 2 of the history of graphics. The video up there belongs to Stuart brown, or XboxAhoy on YouTube. His fantastic videos on graphics inspired this story.

This is Tomb Raiders main character. She has changed over the years.
This is Tomb Raiders main character. She has changed over the years.