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An Excellent History of Graphics in Videogames

pixelpioneers

Pixel Pioneers: A Brief History of Graphics is a 5-part documentary by Stuart Brown about the evolution of graphics in videogames. The playlist below will let you watch the entire thing:

Something that stood out to me is how the development of game graphics roughly parallels the development of animation earlier in the 20th century, from black-and-white to color, and then rotoscoping, multiplane (in games, it’s called a parallax effect), and then, increasing complexity of characters and realistic effects.

Games, however, also boast their own unique graphic language that extends beyond traditional cinema. Whereas in its early development, gaming borrowed a lot from cinema, the roles have reversed now.

Today the visual approaches that were pioneered in games have been adopted by films, from the consciously lo-fi CG aesthetic of many recent animated shorts to the visual chaos of effects-driven live-action blockbusters. Pixel Pioneers provides an excellent overview of visual style development in games, and serves as an inspiring sourcebook for any designer, especially those who may not work in games.

[via Kottke]