Monday, January 07, 2008

Water in video games: A retrospective

A user at Gametrailers has put together a seven-minute video that details the evolution of water in video games, from the earliest Atari games up through Uncharted. It's an awful lot more interesting than you might think.

Water has always been one of the things people point to when talking about the power of new hardware. I remember having my mind well and truly blown by Wave Race 64; in fact, their water still doesn't look that bad in the video. Even so, you can see the individual polygons dancing on the surface, and the progress from there to games later in the video, like Far Cry and BioShock, is remarkable. Try to envision how much better it'll look in another ten years. The game console will probably spray a fine mist at you.

I was astonished when Sonic the Hedgehog showed up less than halfway through the video, since when it was released it seemed like the logical endpoint to game development. And, of course, it was -- in 1991. But the original Sonic was released only 12 years after Asteroids. We're now 16 years past Sonic. Feeling old yet?

One last note on this video: I haven't listened to Sigur Ros in years. That's an unexpected song choice.

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