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For my finals this quarter, I wrote a paper on the evolution of video game art.
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Case Study - The Evolution of Video Game Art

Bryan Laird
United States
Kankakee
Illinois
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Case Study - The evolution of Game Art

Since the early 1970's when the first generation of video game consoles came out artists have attempted to create visually stimulating artwork. Until recently game artists have been limited by what they can do based off of the restrictions of the consoles that they were working with. In the beginning the major companies such as Intellivision were one of the innovates of the video game world. With the very basic sound and images in 1982 B-17 Bomber was released. At the time the graphics specs of, 160x92 pixels, 16 colors, 8 sprites (they were called "moving objects" rather than sprites) 8x8 in size. Sprites could be linearly doubled. Were actually the best of their time. (Harley)

Video Game: B-17 Bomber



As time progressed, the games and their graphics evolved. After the video game market crashed in the 1980's their was a lull in the design process. When video games came back into the forefront of gaming technology. When the Nintendo Entertainment System came out in 1983 they re-innovated the gaming industry. (Video Game Geek) The 8 gig video card of the NES system brought about an explosion in new game art styles, such as when Konami released their hit game, Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars in 1991 with their baseball graphics that out shown many of their day.

Video Game: Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars


At the same time as the NES Sega released their first platform the Sega Genesis which used 64 colors, or 183 for shadow/highlight mode. The Display palette used by the Sega Genesis was 512 colors (3:3:3 RGB) (Video Game Geek) At the time many great artists competed for the creation of games on their game systems. Many good art designs were released at the time, in games such as ToeJam & Earl released in 1991.


Video Game: ToeJam & Earl


Then in the early 1990's the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) came out with the 16-bit era. The SNES was the best selling gaming console well into the 32-bit era. With many titles, using their new graphics artists had better opportunities to create better final products. Titles such as The Lost Vikings released by Blizzard Entertainment brought about graphics simulating vikings fighting off aliens.

Video Game: The Lost Vikings



In the 1990's Sony released a new game console in what is known as the fifth generation of gaming consoles. The PlayStation used the new 32-bit graphics. Many game artists created new designs and game titles. With the new graphics that were available, the gaming industry kept on booming with the bigger and better art. Games such as Midway/Atari r were able to release games onto not only arcade systems, but also computers and video game systems. Area 51 was released as a first person shooter where the player was running around the base shooting at aliens that would pop up out of the backdrop.


Video Game: Area 51


In 1994 Sega released their own 32-bit video game console, the Sega Saturn. The system was popular in Japan but not as much in the US. (Video Game Geek) This brought about more of a anime feel to the graphics created for the games of the Sega Saturn. Examples of this would be of the Mage Knight video games that were in fact based off of the Mage Knight Anime movies.

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In 1996 Nintendo released their third home video game console, the Nintendo 64, which used an even newer graphic system, known as the 64-bit graphics. (Video Game Geek) At this time the video game industry was able to expand their graphics and their art improved even more. Games such as Pokemon Snap were released and the video game market exploded once again with the new and improved artwork that was being released in the new generation of video games.

External image


In 2001 the sixth generation of video games was launched, during which Nintendo released the GameCube and their competors released the PlayStation 2 and Microsoft released the X-Box. At this time period video games changed along with their art, now players were able to pause and playback their games. (Video Game Geek) Also, video games had gone over to miniDVD or Compact Discs allowing for more storage space and better graphics that were not as compressed. Games such as The Amazing Island were released on the GameCube. With the new DVD style of graphics artists were able to release titles such as Crimson Skies, and the Monster Rancher series.

Video Game: Amazing Island

Video Game: Crimson Skies

Video Game: Monster Rancher 4


In 2005 the newest generation of video game consoles were released, with the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3. The new graphics allowed for even greater art as the graphics improved even more. Games such as Dragon's Age: Orgins showed that even video games can have fine art, and realistic graphics.

Video Game: Dragon Age: Origins


References:

http://www.intellivision.us/faq.htm#_Toc140592019 (Dave Farley) (2-21-2013)

http://videogamegeek.com/videogameplatform/4430/nes (Video Game Geek unknown author) 2-21-2013

http://videogamegeek.com/videogamehardware/68442/sega-genesi... (Video Game Geek Unknown Author) 2-21-2013

http://videogamegeek.com/videogameplatform/4433/playstation (Video Game Geek Unknown Author) 2-21-2013

http://videogamegeek.com/videogameplatform/4439/sega-saturn (Video Game Geek Unknown Author) 2-21-2013

http://videogamegeek.com/videogameplatform/4407/xbox-360 (Video Game Geek Unknown Author) 2-21-2013
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