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The Evolution Of Game Graphics: Major Milestones And Breakthroughs

The Evolution Of Game Graphics: Major Milestones And Breakthroughs
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

The development of game graphics and gaming enhancements make up only a small window of human existence. However, within that window have been some of the most monumental changes ever witnessed. Helped along by jaw-dropping innovations in smartphone and internet development, game graphics have gone from minimal and basic projections to high-definition displays that could be mistaken for film. This sort of miraculous change doesn’t just happen overnight; there have been many milestones along the way that have helped to turn this into a juggernaut of an industry.

Coinciding markets

Rarely does an industry burst onto the scene and take the world by storm. There’s usually a whole host of factors that contribute to the spiraling evolution and continued success of any sector. But without the market for other growth industries, nobody could genuinely say whether game design companies would have had the resources and profit at their disposal to pioneer in such a significant manner. 

Over the last 30 years, there have been multiple subdivisions of the gaming industry that have realized their full potential, and they’ve correlated with the increase in game graphic sophistication. Casino games have benefited from several variables, the most notable being solid legislation, more people with access to the internet and cheaper mobile devices that have allowed more people to access casino games online. 

Part of the success has been because the industry has altered its marketing and design strategy to accommodate the burgeoning digital casino gaming market. Classic jackpots, fruit-themes and classic 9-grid slots were the basis of a gaming revolution for the slot machine industry. More than 100 years later, the industry is still moving forward and spearheading an assemblage of new plans to continue setting new milestones and engineering breakthroughs.

Early gaming graphics

Early games that found success over half a century ago didn’t have anywhere near the same computing power at their disposal as those of today. Classic arcade and retro games like Space Invaders and Tetris operated with an extremely primitive and limited set of graphics. Although revolutionary at the time, the companies behind these groundbreaking classics didn’t have much to work with at all, especially compared to the multibillion-dollar companies that exist in the industry today.

The 16-bit era

Nintendo and Sega started to build on the idea of developing home consoles instead of games designed for arcade gamers. The processing power of 16-bit in the mid to late 1980s was by far the most significant breakthrough for game developers, and it resulted in the origin of world-renowned games like Tekken, Super Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Zelda. Although game designers moved with the latest milestones and breakthroughs, and the end came for 16-bit over two decades ago, it defined a staggering leap in game graphics and fueled the fire for game designers who knew that there was a lot more on the horizon. 

32 and 64-bit eras

Many gaming enthusiasts consider either era to have the most significant breakthroughs and milestones. Not only did both provide ample evidence that three-dimensional game designs were the future but they acted as a foundation for home console success, with the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation shifting hundreds of millions of units. 

Within just over a decade, gaming had gone from two-dimensional, somewhat limited designs to 3D worlds with more extended gameplay, staggering graphical display growth and pop culture legitimacy. It was the gaming breakthrough the industry knew was coming, and it signaled the start of a dynasty. 

Gaming in 4K – modern day

Many of us take for granted sitting down and connecting to a global, digital gaming platform where we can play against people from all over the world or speak to our friends. Part of the appeal of gaming comes from the social elements. Gamers can now stream their campaigns on social media, with many turning social media into a career.

However, with so much focus on the development of online gaming platforms over the last decades, some gamers believe that the speed and quality of much they’ve continued to excel at during this period has been overlooked. Rockstar’s groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption games span vast maps, with thousands of hours of potential playing time. 

In a relatively short four decades, the industry has gone from Tetris to Red Dead Redemption 2. Although we have covered the significant milestones and breakthroughs that have led to this moment, there have been so many challenges overcome along the way that have helped the gaming industry triumph. It’s just as much about the overall positive culture within the industry as it is about individual innovations.