Video Game Design Between 1990-2008

Remembering the good all days, when me and my friends were playing Doom, Mortal Kombat, Quake or War Craft on a Pentium 133 MHz computer with Sound Blaster and a 4MB video card. A lot has changed since then.

Video games actually are a lot older than that we used to play in the 90s. The first video game was created in 1947 called Tennis for two and it was played on an oscilloscope like device.

With the release of Apple II, Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum in late 70s early 80s people could afford to buy such devices and to play video games from their own home. By the mid 80s the video game industry started to evolve at a fast pace releasing games such as Zork, Battlezone and Bard’s Tale.

First Video Game

The 1990s became the golden age of computer video games and gave birth to a large number of game developers and publishers such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Blizzard and id Software

From design and graphics point of view, video games greatly evolved and continue to do so. Writing about 90s computer games in 2008 is somewhat nostalgic and in the same time it’s funny, because what can you expect from a 16 bit graphic display and a 100 MHz machine, but remembering that in those days these configs were king just as 3,6 GHz and Nvidia GeForce 9400 nowdays.

So, let’s look at how the graphics and design evolved starting from 1990.



  • Nintendo releases Super Famicom 16 bit console
  • Creative Labs introduces Soundblaster Pro

Wing Commander

Wing Commander 1990

Super Mario World


Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy 3

Commander Keen

Commander Keen 1990



  • Graphic accelerator cards are born
  • id Software is founded
  • Tim Berners-Lee introduces the World Wide Web
  • Intel sells 486SX processors


Civilization 1991

Road Rash

Road Rash 1991

The Legend of Zelda


Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights 1991



  • Microsoft releases Windows 3.1

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat 1992

Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3d 1992

Dune II

Dune 2 1992



  • Microsoft releases Windows NT and MS-DOS 6
  • Intel Pentium 60 MHz processor is released

Sim City 2000

Sim City 2000


Doom 1993

Virtua Fighter

Source: Wikipedia

Master of Orion

Master of Orion 1993



  • Commodore computers files for bankruptcy
  • 3DFX is founded (company known for it’s Voodoo video cards)
  • First Sony Playstation is introduced


Heretic 1994




Tekken 1994



  • The first E3 is held in Las Vegas
  • Microsoft Windows 95 is released
  • DirectX 1.0 is introduced by Microsoft
  • ATX motherboards are born

Warcraft II

Warcraft 2 1995

The Need For Speed

The Need for Speed 1995

Command and Conquer

Command and Conquer 1995



  • Intel released 200 MHz Pentium
  • DirectX 2.0 is released
  • Nintendo releases the first true 64 bit game console


Quake 1996

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3d 1996


Max 1996



  • Wi-Fi is released
  • DirectX 5.0 is released
  • Intel introduces MMX chips
  • First DVDs are sold
  • Intel 233 MHz processor is introduced

Grand Theft Auto
Gta 1997

Total Annihilation


Age of Empires

Age of Empires 1999

Final Fantasy VII

Source: TeamTeaBag

Quake 2

Quake 2 1997


Diablo 1997



  • Intel releases Celeron processors
  • AMD 3DNow! is born
  • Rockstar Games is founded

Half Life

Half Life 1998

Starcraft with Broodwar expansion


Microsoft Flight Simulator 98



Starcraft 1998


Unreal 1998



  • Sega Dreamcast is released
  • Pentium III 500 MHz is introduced
  • nVidia introduces the GPU (Graphics Processor Unit)


Everquest 1999

Heroes of Might and Magic III

Homm 3 1999



  • Sony Playstation 2 is released with better graphics capability than a PC

The Sims

The Sims 2000

Counter Strike

Counter Strike 2000

Colin McRae Rally 2

Colin Mcrae Rally 2 2000

Grand Theft Auto 2

Gta 2 2000



  • Microsoft enters the game consoles market with it’s XBox console

Max Payne

Max Payne 2001

Grand Theft Auto 3

Gta 3 2001

Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2001


Halo 2001

Empire Earth

Empire Earth 2001




Mafia 2002

Diablo II Lord of destruction

Diablo 2 2000

Warcraft 3

Warcraft 3 2003

Neverwinter Nights


Splinter Cell

Source: Wikipedia

Dungeon Siege

Dungeon Siege 2002

Battlefield 1942

Battlefield 1942 2002

Baldur’s Gate – Dark Alliance

Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance 2002



  • Nokia introduces the first console / mobile phone hybrid,the N-Gage series
  • Sony Playstation Portable is developed

Call of Duty

Source: Wikipedia

Tony Hawk’s Underground

Tony Hawk Underground 2003

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia 2003

Max Payne 2

Max Payne 2 2003

Rise of Nations

Rise of Nations 2003



  • Acclaim declared bankruptcy

Doom 3

Doom 3 2004

World of Warcraft


Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Gta san Andreas 2004

Far Cry

Far cry 2004

Half Life 2

Half Life 2 2004

Halo 2

Halo 2 2004



  • XBox 360 is released
  • Sony Playstation Portable is released

Medal of Honor – European Assault

Medal of Honor 2005


Fear 2005

Age of Empires 3

Age of Empires 3 2005

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero 2005

Need for Speed Most Wanted

Nfs Most Wanted 2005



The Godfather

The Godfather 2006

Gears of War – 2006 (on XBOX), 2007 (On Windows)


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Source: Wikipedia

Elder Scrolls IV – Oblivion

Source: IGN

Hitman Blood Money

Hitman Blood Money 2006


Prey 2006

Heroes of Might and Magic V

Homm 5 2006

Titan Quest

Titan Quest 2006



  • Blizzard announces Starcraft II
  • 3D Realms released teaser trailer for Duke Nukem Forever

Halo 3

Halo 3 2007

Super Mario Galaxy

Source: Wikipedia



Call of Duty IV – Modern Warfare

Source: Wikipedia

Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3 2007


Fifa 08 2007

The Witcher


Guitar Hero 3

Guitar Hero 3 2007



  • Blizzard announces Diablo III

Grand Theft Auto IV

Gta 4 2008

Prince of Persia

Source: Diversion Projects

Metal Gear Solid 4

Metal Gear Solid 4 2008

Shaun White Snowboarding

Source: IGN

Command and Conquer 3 Kane’s Wrath

Command and Conquer 3 2008

Madden NFL 09

Madden nfl 09 2008

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 2008

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Source: Wikipedia



  • Upcoming releases for the next year

F.E.A.R. 2
Source: IGN

Alan Wake

Source: IGN

Starcraft 2 Terrans: Wings of Liberty

Source: IGN

Diablo 3

Source: IGN

Written exclusively for WDD by Gyorgy Fekete

Which one is your favorite game? Share your favorites with us and let us what you think of this list!

  • Geoserv


    What a fantastic post and a great journey in time.

    How things have changed over the years.

    • DJ

      Also stumbled.

      But I must point out Diablo 2 was release in 2000, not 2002.

  • Kenny

    you kinda forgot tes 4 oblivion only the greatest visual orgasm of our time, kinda revolutionary buddy

    • Captain Obvious

      Fallout 3 > Elder Scrolls 4.

      • SeamusOgrady

        Well thank you captain obvious!

  • DarrenM

    Man this brings back memories. IMHO, you should include good ol’ Goldeneye 64.

  • Eric

    Not only no tes 4 Oblivion, but not once did it show a zelda game. WTF

    • FragmentFour

      No tes 4, but Zelda is on the list.

    • Vincent

      Actually, yeah they did show a zelda game lol go back and look


    In 2001 it says: “Nintendo Game Boy Advance. First handheld device that integrates Wi-Fi”.

    The GBA didn’t have integrated Wi-Fi. The first Nintendo handheld console to have integrated Wi-Fi was the DS.

  • Walter

    Thanks for everyone’s great comments so far – we’ll be making the necessary updates to the post very soon! I appreciate the input everyone’s put so far!

  • Zerostar

    PS3 release was not included and I also think Zelda was left out! :-)

  • Dead.Pixel

    Good list, little inaccuracies here or there (usually release dates) but mainly you skipped some influential land marks. You touched on some hardware landmarks but forgot about huge leaps in game engine tech. (introduction of physics for example), DX9 and 10, and probably one of the largest things to ever happen in games…WoW (from release, to record sales, to history making player base).

    Not to be a pain, was still a trip to look back at all those games…fond memories :)

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  • VTV

    wonderful post.. but where is gears of war and resistance? And am a gamer, like to read your blog a lot :)


    How the times have changed. This brings some memories, some dont feel like its been that long ago. Good memories.

  • James

    The psp wasn’t released until March 24, 2005 It was being developed in 2003.

  • Alex | CrazyLeaf Design Blog

    What a fantastic post. Brings back a lot of memories. To bad I don’t have that much time to play anymore…

  • Gyorgy

    Hello, I wrote the article :)
    I read a couple of complaints about the games included, the thing is that Zelda wasn’t included, because I simply couldn’t find the right screen shots of the game.

    Many other games were not included. If I were to include all your favorite games then I would have aggregated into a book and released it :)

    The whole point of this post is to illustrate how things have changed since 1990. The most notable improvements in graphics, hardware and performance.

    I saw complaint about inaccuracies, if you search a little bit around you’ll find that the particular information on many sites are all different, in this case I tried to pick the most trustworthy site which has authority in that particular field. (Wikipedia wasn’t all the time my best pick!)

  • steve_says_WTF

    WHAT??? no PACMAN??

    lol…loved this list~

  • Mastermind

    Nice article, you missed a few important games, and the screenshots are not that representative (most look worse than the actual game), but it’s nice to reminisce.

  • Ivo

    Great list. I found here some great games which I played when I was young. I’m missing here MS Flight Simulator X.

  • Jess Jones

    Wow, what an awesome trip down memory lane! I love it.


  • AtariGeek

    At least use Wikipedia for some facts, Activision has been around since ’79, Electronic Arts in ’82.

  • Kayla

    Where is Mirror’s Edge? Aside from the cut scenes, the graphics are amazing.

  • templatestaff

    too bad there aren’t any screen shots of Microsoft’s Flight Sim throughout the years.

  • John

    Omg.I played all of them..Great Journey.The pictures spoke for themselves.good list but you can add a couple more to make it better.

  • me

    what about mario 64, he’s what started 3-D gaming/platforming

  • G


    very great list!

    Maybe you missed (not my favorite games, but those brining advances in game desing):
    – Many F1’s games (Titus F1 GP to now)
    – Fligh simulator (from 2D pixelised version to current 3D world)
    – Tony Hawk
    – Tomb raider I (that was a revolution in gaming)
    – Midtown Madness
    – Motocross madness
    – Motoracer (what a 3dfx showroom!)
    – Rainbow Six (first game in its kind)
    – Return fire (how the game evolved shows that following trends for game design is not often good)


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  • tocoda

    Couple of comments and corrections…

    You forgot the original Metal Gear Solid, back in 1998, and Knights of the Old Republic in 2003, and the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in 2006. All great games.
    And, GTA2 was released in 1999, unless you are referring to the DC version which was released in 2000.
    The PSP was not released until 2004, both in Japan an NA.
    ATX standard was introduced in late 1995, so may call the first motherboards for 1995, and not 1996.

    But, all in all, great article. Brings back lots of memories.

  • Paul D.

    Great post. Some facts are quite fascinating (Sim City 2000 – released in 1993). Brings up memories. Thanks a lot! Really good effort!

  • Gyorgy

    There’s not enough screen shot to please you all :)

  • Henrich

    Great list. Thanks for remembering the good old days :)

  • Wyatt Lehmenkuler

    I’m amazed by the complexity of the graphics in the newer games, although I can’t wait until we move from animation to real life photos/video for game production. This will produce a true real life experience.


  • Chris

    What about all those Sierra games like Kings Quest, Space Quest. Also the Ultima series was pretty popular.

  • Pool of Radiance

    Neverwinter Nights mislabeled. That is Pool of Radiance. Kudos to 2 HOMM

  • noyfb

    You put several totally obscure and crappy games up here and didn’t show Mechwarrior. What kind of a fag forgets Mechwarrior 1,2,3,and4. Those were benchmark games and would have shown technology progression bigtime. oh well, FAIL

  • Mark

    While obviously a subjective list, seems World of Warcraft is a pretty huge ommission, considering it’s one of the best selling PC games of all time, and certainly has more cultural relevance than a few on this list. :)

  • jonathan

    you left off rock band.

  • DanD

    The only one you missed that I played like crazy was Star Control II. Great list!

  • Cruz

    I hope there’s a good reason for leaving off Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander ^_^

  • Mr Novack

    Nice list, but not that nice. Missing some games that should be up on the list, also, your need to go back and reread and fix the typos. Also forgot about Apple Computers.

  • Mortos

    and the christians think that evolution is a myth? just show them this page. why didn’t god just create fallout 3 to begin with? because god sucks, he gave us crappy qubert first and then we have to evolve to fallout 3 25 years later, which in turn will suck in comparison to fallout 20 25 years from now.

    • Anti-Mortos

      It’s because of comments like yours I have less hope for humanity and more hope in God.

  • Jigglyman

    The screenshot you have from Half-Life 2 is actually from HL2: Episode 1, which came out in 2006. Just saying.

  • Earl

    This list is great. Just one major problem: false information regarding “Nintendo Game Boy Advance. First handheld device that integrates Wi-Fi”. Oh so wrong. Please edit this immediately.

    And joining everyone else, where are the Wii and PS3?

  • bigplrbear

    Just to let you know- the GBA doesn’t have wi-fi. The first handheld game system to implement wi-fi would be the Nintendo DS

  • Ed

    Putting at least one Fallout game and maybe the remake of Neverwinter Nights or even the real Baldur’s Gate games would have made this snazzier. Cool, though.

  • Walter

    Thanks to all of you for the comments!

    The post is switching direction thanks to your feedback. It started as showing a progression in the design from year to year, however, most readers are interested in actually seeing all relevant games in that period, so we’ll be adapting the post accordingly. In the meantime, we’ve added these ones:

    * Legend of Zelda – 1991
    * Gears of War – 2006 (on XBOX), 2007 (On Windows)
    * Pacman – 1994
    * Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 – 1997

    Loving the feedback… Please keep submitting games we may have missed! :)

  • Infinity’s End

    Super Metroid, Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time belong on that list, no questions asked.

  • Wenzel Dashington

    No Big N games? tisk tisk

  • SoulScreme

    If Metal Gear Solid 4 is on the list, the launch of the PS3 oughtta be too.

  • Z

    Nice post. To me I can’t believe you didn’t include Mario 64. That use to give me dreams how well the 3d was done.


  • Sam

    No World of Wacraft? Seriously? It has only made a billion times more money than almost all of these games combined.

  • ntopics

    Very cool list of video games over the years.
    Its amazing how life like the games appear today.

    thanks from tony

  • Yok

    PacMan in 94????? WTF?

    Pac-Man (パックマン, Pakku man?) is an arcade game developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the U.S. by Midway, first released in Japan on May 22, 1980.

  • nnagflar

    “Sony Playstation 2 is released with better graphics capability than a PC” — who’s PC, my grandmother’s? By the time the PS2 came out, PC gamers were already enjoying their games at 1024×768 in 32 bit color. The PS2 didn’t deliver anything close.

  • Kuraine

    A good list of Western-developed games (with a few exceptions) primarily for the PC and Xbox/360. I couldn’t help but notice though that while the post seems to be about game ‘design’, a lot of the screenshots are totally lacking the actual game interface. That to me seems like it would indicate the design far better than simply posting a lot of screenshots of PC strategy and FPS games that honestly haven’t evolved too much in design aside from ease of use and graphic fidelity.

  • Walter

    Yok: Pacman was released in 1980, so it’s been removed.

  • lOveprOne

    Although I’m not a gamer but this technology tour is amazing.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    enjoy :)

  • Ezequiel

    Best game ever is Return to Castle Wolfenstein!!! gameplayer >>>>> graphics
    (even tho i mainly play RTCW: Enemy territory)


  • teajae

    you’re forgetting my favorite game of all time! it was completely revolutionary and came out only last year! it was very significant! and if you’re going to make a website regarding video game design, how could you possibly leave out the launch of my favorite console! it was completely revolutionary and significant!

    i hope that my keen powers of observation have helped you to realize just how wrong you are, and how this article is so lacking in things that i like that you should perhaps give up the internet all together and maybe take up pottery…

    but all ‘n all, great post! thanks!

  • SocR4t1c

    Street Fighter NEEDS to be added to this compilation. Seriously.

  • Enrrik

    And Driver? Messiah? Giants: Citizen Kabutto? Tomb Raider Series? Monkey Island Series? Quake III?

  • ZuljinRaynor

    I think X-Com: UFO Defense/Terror from the Deep (considering no one has copied this formula properly yet) and the original Fallouts should be on this list. Also Company of Heroes since it is a pretty revolutionary RTS (could add Dawn of War also, but I’d rather see Company of Heroes up there).

  • Tarwhat Tarmoom

    Forsaken (1998) should have been on the list as well. Fantastic graphics for its day, as well the unconventional ability to move up or down instead of the typical first person game. Great list otherwise!

  • Chris

    Excellent list — just two seemed to be missing to me. Myst and Tetris. Both launched genres and still have some relevance.

  • Beatzzzzz

    Great list, but what about Commandos?

  • nik

    No Elite? WTF?

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  • Alex Nautilus

    Nice list, but What about Myst, Syberia, Longest Journey?!

  • rnR l3o9u5

    How can you talk about hardware enhancements without mentioning the FF series??

  • Keats

    You’re missing Tombraider.. at least put up the first one, it changed PC Gaming forever.
    Also, I’d say Civilization 2 should be on the list, and Final Fantasy VII, which kickstarted Console Gaming.

    You also forgot Rome:Total War, which was the best game of 2003. Just find a screenshot with two huge armies fighting eachother.

    Prey can be removed, as it’s just another shooter.

    For the rest, great list!

  • Jimothy

    I love how the list culminates with Fallout 3. What an amazing game. The graphics are, for the most part, amazing. It’s funny to think how, judging by this retrospective, in a few years Fallout 3 will look dated. I can’t wait for that, haha.


    Wait, you go up to 500mhz processors but leave out the Athlon? As I remember, the first 1ghz processor was a big deal, AMD even threw a huge party in Austin, TX where Fab 25 is located

  • Zach

    Um, what does this article have to do with web design?

    • Raph

      Everything! Games is Fun! Fun is Creativity! Creativity is Inspiration! and this is Design!


  • Daren

    Nice post. I think Conkers Bad Fur Day should be on this list. One of the last few games published for N64 which pushed that system to the limits. RareWare should be on this list, as they were known for pushing the limits when in came to graphic design. A lot of techniques they used were eventually adopted by other companies.

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  • WaterBottle

    Always a little disappointing to see a list of influential video games with Starsiege: Tribes not included but I suppose that’s a title that’s faded into obscurity. Released by Dynamix in 1998, Tribes was arguably one of the first games to include a host of game mechanics that inspired many modern day team-oriented gameplay in titles such as Battlefield.

  • Vinny

    Great list man, ignore all the tards who are sayin’ “Oh NOEZ u missed ma fave game/processor out, this list is gay!” (write ur own f*ckin list jeez). The fact that some figures and dates MAY be incorrect, and yeh u stated why, isn’t the point of this i’m guessin’ nor should it be – it brought back some nice memories and made me even wanna re-install some of these badboys. Cheers.

  • Andrew

    Warcraft 3 was released in 2002. Not 2003.

  • One4$how

    Great post. But where is Black Bass? j/k. Loved seeing all these games. MANY MANY memories of late nights. If anything though maybe the release of Quake 3 Arena and CounterStrike Source and Day of Defeat Sourse. Those three games along with Halo that you have included led to many sleepless nights and LAN parties. Thank you.

  • Rabid

    Good list but there are hardly any Japanese games on there… What about Ico or Shadow of the Collossus? FinalFantasyX? Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker?

    These were all pretty groundbreaking games imo. I’d presume the list is about western games only but you’ve got some Japanese games up the top…

  • Jon

    “Sony Playstation 2 is released with better graphics capability than a PC”

    HAHAHA yea right. Most launch games looked poor(jagged edges) and the playstation II would only drive 640x480i while PCs had games running at 1024x768p.

    Also, almost half of the written facts are incorrect. PS wikipedia is actually a great source for trustworthy information.

  • David

    Great to see Dune 2 on there, that is the game that really made me a hardcore gamer. Though what I found truely amazing was going through all the games which, at the time, had unbelievable graphics. Like Everquest, or Half Life, Diablo 2, and Far Cry, and how… well… poor they look compared to 2008 games.

    Games I’d like to see in here would be at least one mario kart (if not the first mario kart, and the latest wii mario kart) Mario Galaxy or Mario 64 just to compare to the original mario. Perhaps also some early MuD’s to compare to EQ and WoW, also would be nice to see X-com (which always comes high on the nostalgia lists), Freespace 2 (had tremendous graphics for its time), and where is Tetris??? My first ever game ;-)

    Good post btw, these comments are just the fanboy inside.

  • Will

    Age of Empires was released in 1997, not 1999…. Man… so many of these dates are wrong…

  • Walter

    A lot of people are visiting today from Digg, so, it’s worth pointing out that the original purpose of this post was to show a video game design evolution through the years, not a compilation of all games in that period.

    This post was posted in the Games section of Digg, so many of you may come here expecting a game oriented post, yet, we’re actually a web design blog dealing with the evolution of the graphic design in video games in this particular case, please keep that in mind. :)

    This post could have easily been only 10 games showing the changes in graphics and that’s it, however, the writer decided to take it further and include a really long selection.

    The list was not meant to be a complete list of all games, please bear this in mind. That being said, the new direction the post is taking is certainly interesting and engaging for a lot of people so we’re going to be expanding further.

    Some of you are reporting some inaccuracies with some dates and we’re double checking all this and will be updating the post over the coming few days where necessary. The writer also mentioned to me that some of the Wikipedia dates are incorrect and that he opted to use dates stated in game specialty sources as opposed to Wikipedia. This is where some inaccuracies may be noted.

    To those that didn’t see their favorite games here, please be patient as we will be updating this page with some more games, however, please understand that we cannot include every possible game (yes we know we miss some biggies due to problems getting screenshots from those, but we’ll get these soon!).

    Thanks again for all the feedback, we certainly didn’t expect this huge amount of visitors and comments and we’re thrilled to have you all here.

  • nw

    I would have included Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies.

  • moser


    needs to on here, for definitely. This game has been the inspiration of everything any first person shooter has ever had. Remember how people were freaking out about gears of war 2’s using a living shield thing. Goldeneye has it. Goldeneye also has shields like in hale, and other special things. Just play it and you’ll see.

  • in


  • Andrew

    Hey thank you for taking the time to post this stuff… Just wanted to let you know this and that it was much appreciated…

    Oh not a criticism but the Ultima series was pretty big back in they day.

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  • Rico

    Where the fuck is Bioshock!??!

    Its ridiculous that it got left off this list.

  • Therapist

    you forgot Dark Reign

  • withnail

    Great list. Missing is Ultima VI (1990) surely one of the best RPG series of its day.

  • Jack


    I think you played all the same games I did growing up.

    Kind of trippy. I thought I was special. ^.~

    In any case, you have good taste, those are all the best games. I’ve played every single one of them growing up and still do play the most recent ones.


  • chris ferro

    No virtua fighter?
    Sir, you forget yourself! You can thank AM2 for those nice 3d graphics you like, they pioneered them!

    Viva la SEGA!

  • Marty

    A couple of “minor” corrections …

    The 1980’s, in particular the early 1980’s, are generally considered the golden age of videogames as that was when the first truly original (i.e. not derivative form other forms) ones emerged, forming the first installments of its canon.

    And Activision and Electronic Arts were both “born” during that very golden age, not in the 1990’s.

  • Joe Cheray aka wildheart4vr

    MMM just want to point out that WoW was mentioned and so were the three Warcrafts.

    Aside from that great list of games showing the progression of designing in games showing how we have evolved from 16 bit games to 3D graphics in just a little over a decade. Today we have more interactive games and who knows maybe Tron will become more and more of a reality in gaming fighting each other in virtual environments.

    Well the Wii is certainly moving in that direction anyway.

    Too bad the 80’s weren’t included in this series though the Atari was the bomb. I would play Pac Man, Asteroids, and Space Invaders forever until my hands hurt.

  • Cornell

    First of all, great post! And I’ve read all the other entries, and your replies, but I still have to say that Final Fantasy VII should definitely be included! I mean, it completely revolutionized gaming! And it was huge step in the progression of video game graphics!

    But, all-in-all great post. Well done, sir.

  • Weeee

    Unreal Tournament should have been included – groundbreaking multiplayer and one of the most highly commended games in existence.

    A few others I would have liked to see:

    – Lemmings (Commodore/Amiga/etc.)
    – Wonder Boy (Genesis/Megadrive)
    – Dizzy (Spectrum/Commodore/Amiga etc.)
    – Shenmue (Dreamcast, revolutionary, first “free roaming” game)

  • Caleb

    You might want to replace the screenshot from splinter cell as it is from chaos theory not the first splinter cell that might be a more accurate depiction of the first splinter cell

  • Mastercheffs

    Love the list and the memories, too many fun games or the list would go on forever, but I wanted to make a special mention of the Descent series. Amazing games for their time.

  • sarv007

    i m enjoyin gaming since 1999….
    thnx for helping in recalling the games.

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  • D.G

    Wheres Deus ex……..

  • MrD

    Kinda forgot to put Fallout 1&2 there. It would be interesting to see how it changes through the years,

  • http://- Joey

    The first metal gear solid title for PSX should certainly have been included. Such graphics did not exist before this time.

    Final Fantasy also saw a very small part of this article, despite receiving critical acclaim the world over for its graphic design advances.×400/6/final-fantasy-viii.480518.jpg

  • Wow

    Wow… nice list

    Certainly brings back the good old times…

    And I’ve played all those games on the list so far.. which makes me kinda proud, i must admit, for being part of this great evolution of game design history..


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  • Christoffer

    Really great list! A lovely trip down memory lane…
    PS. Should have included “God of War”!

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  • pedram

    thats great, specially MAFIA that waited me 2 years before release, but you forgot COMMANDOS series, those are legends of reality

  • XT

    Bioshock is missing from the list (under year 2007) – one of the most acclaimed games that year.

    Also, you placed Age of Empires I under year 1999. The game was actually released in 1997.

  • XT

    A web design oriented blog… OK. That’s yet another reason why Bioshock should be included – graphically it’s stunning :)

  • Stan

    Only a couple of genres are included here, which means some of the biggest milestones are missing. Everquest comes to mind. Being the first really successful MMORPG.

  • Magnus

    I would like to see Jet Set Radio added, and maybe a newer cellshaded game like the new PoP. And some drawn games like Warioland: The Shake Dimension, Street Fighter II and Street Fighter HD. Obviously Shen Mue would be a good addition too.

  • Mantas

    My favourite: Heroes III :)

  • Yansco

    Warcraft 3 was released in 2002. There are plenty of recommendations that I’d make in terms of demonstrating the evolution of design, but you already have enough people whining about their favorite games not being mentioned that I’ll pass. Figured you might want that correction, however.

  • Andrius

    I saw so good games which I had played long time ago :)
    Thank you! It was intresting ;)

  • James Kurtz III

    It’s like my life flashed before my eyes…

  • Jman

    Finding all those pictures must have been a pain… Well done. Always nice to be reminded of how good we have it these days.

  • Andry

    “Half Life 2” best…

  • nima

    I do not see the game ” The last Ninja” for commodore 64&128 , which has been very popular in the year 1990.

  • Annie Moose

    Just wanted to add a couple of things- first off, I’m going to go all geeky fanboy/girl and whinge and cry about Portal being left off the list. The tech behind the portals (and making them look realistic) is pretty amazing. Second, just wanted to point out that WoW was actually released in November of 2003, not 2004… yes, some people do remember that day! November 23, wasn’t it? Or 28? Anyway, great list. I’m glad you included Half-Life- for some reason, a lot of game lists don’t include them, which is stupid, because they were immensely important! Thanks for the nice list.

  • Daniel P. Long

    Great post.
    Very interesting!

  • Lxxy

    Uh…Tekken? Maybe you forgot the first 3d fighting game? Virtua Fighter? Yeah. More impressive. Worked on the Genesis/MegaDrive, too.

  • Dead.Pixel

    After all of what this has turned into I was wondering what exactly with the game design you were trying to represent here. Visual design or overall game design?

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  • J

    I didn’t see any golden age point-and-click adventure games in there.
    Here’s a couple of comparison suggestions:
    – Monkey island 1 and 4.
    – Sam and Max: Hit the road and Sam and Max Season 1 Episode 1.

  • Sixtease

    You mention Diablo II and correctly state it to have been released in 2000 but you provide a screenshot of the Expansion (Lord of Destruction), where the graphics changed (at least you could set up a higher resolution).

    Otherwise great, I really enjoyed this.

  • panjur kepenk

    :) woww i remember past.

    Thanks for this collection.

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  • JDreyer

    To All Posters:
    This is an article about graphics and design, not every great game under the sun. A single representative example of various types (shooter, RTS) on various hardware (PC, Nintendo, etc.) for each year is all that is necessary. For example, if Quake 3 is there, then there’s no need to show UT. So stop requesting things that have already been covered. This article is being stretched beyond its initial scope and purpose.

    To The Authors:
    This is a great idea. Thanks! I especially like seeing the like seeing how various series have evolved over the years: Wolf 3D – Doom – Quake – Q2, etc.

    A few suggestions:
    1. Perhaps you should add a few more flight sim examples. Those games dominated the state of the art graphics wars in the 1990s.

    2. Although they are wildly popular, I’m not sure I would have included any Blizzard games. Blizzard intentionally sets their graphic technology two years in the past and relies on superior art work in order to have lower system specs and appeal to a broader audience (i.e. Diablo 2 was all 2-D when all other RPGs came out with 3-D engines in 2000). So their games are unrepresentative of the graphics for the year they were released.

    3. More technology: When was each version of Direct X released? What year did antialiasing become popular? What game had the first instance of HDR? When did bump mapping and ansiotropic filtering start showing up in games? When was the Nvidia TNT released? When did Intel release P2, P3, P4? When did ATI come on the scene? Obviously, this is ancillary to the article so it’s important not to go overboard, but it can help give foundation to the graphics that were built on these technologies and provide context.

    4. For each year, include an approximate screen resolution that most games were played. In 1990, I think it was 320 x 240px. whereas today it’s 1600×1200. This has a high impact on the design.

    Ideas for future articles:
    1. As this is a designer website, I think it would be really interesting to see how game UIs have changed over time, and perhaps some discussion to that end. I’d be interested to read your unique insight as designers on how UIs have evolved, and become more efficient and user friendly (or not).

    2. I would love to read a discussion of landmark games over the past 18 years. As designers your unique insights would provide a fascinating look at game design. It could be done in the same style as this article, but only with games that had some kind of innovation that resulted in a change in the industry. Some examples: Dune II “creates” the RTS genre; Quake introduces a full 3D game engine (I know, UU did it first); Diablo introduces the “Action-RPG”; Rainbow 6 creates the “realistic shooter” sub-genre; BF1942 popularized shooters-with-vehicles (now ALL shooters have vehicles); etc. Each of these games introduced an industry-changing element in their design that caused others to change the way they created games or be left behind.

    3. The opposite side of that coin is to choose several games with very poor designs and discussed how and why they failed from a design standpoint. These games may have even been quite popular (The original NWN comes to mind as a poor design that nonetheless succeeded in becoming wildly popular for other reasons).

    I’ll be checking back regularly to read. Thanks for listening.

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  • Will

    Amazing post! This makes me want to play Duke Nukem 3D and Doom again!

  • sikerler

    Dont think that games are getting better in time. Only graphics just look like they are getting better… Pixel art owns 3d graphics. And about the storyline of the games, they are all cheezy. and fallout 3 sucks. Add fallout 1 and 2 on the list instead

  • Remigiusz

    Where is Medal of Honor 2 and Call of duty 1 & 2 ?

  • paul

    dude c’mon, is this a list of games between 90 and 08, or a list of YOUR games between 90 and 08?

    i’m not going to bother saying you left out particular games because that’s petty, but you’ve left out entire genres! Your first sports game isn’t until fifa 08? you sum up the whole of ’96 with three games of which two are first person shooters. did you even bother?

  • jimy

    No Starfox? First 3d Shooter. No Mode 7? Cmon it started 3d worlds.

  • fleebus

    Nice list. Have to agree with those above who mentioned Kings Quest and Ultima series. Also on the idea of evolution of multiplayer, dont forget door games. I know lots of ppl played trade wars back in the bbs days, but me and my friends were into LOD (Land of Devestation), (was like multiplayer fallout, online). those were the true ancestors of WOW.

  • Anna

    No Final Fantasy VII? As epic and groundbreaking as that game was?


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  • L

    Hey i don’t see Gothic :)
    But i play in kenn xD

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  • Dirk

    I miss a few things to:

    ‘Another world’ on amiga (that was amazing at the time)

    and the dreamcast console (first online console?)

  • MagicRabbit

    Great List. Anyway there used to be a lot more notable old games… I think the focus is set to much on the new games.
    Just think of Command & Conquer 2, Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, Tomb Raider etc.

  • Timothy

    You should have included the old pre-mouse PC games. Like Space Quest, Police Quest and Kings Quest.

    I miss those… Monolith Burger FTW!

  • Designer

    Thanks for the great list, I was born in 1990 so Its all a part of my life…
    Man those days :P

    I remember getting a P3 computer and it was like a dream come true hehe!

  • D4rk05

    What about Settlers?

  • suraj

    i miss fifa 98, the best soccer simulation ever

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  • xpq21

    short attention span everyone, i think.
    1991: the legend of zelda. its right there.

    sad thing is, i played almost every game in this list ;)

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  • tony

    Second vote for Descent!

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  • Donovan

    OMG amazing =)

    I miss so much Command and Conquer Red Alert and Total Annihilation!

    Great List!

  • alienisko

    TIE Fighter, KotOR, Orange BOX (PC)
    Another World, Flashback, Syndycate (PC)
    Formula 1 Grand Prix 2 (PC)
    Scorched Earth (PC)
    The Last Ninja (C64)

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  • Walter

    Many games were added and some dates were corrected. The option to add all games mentioned is virtually impossible, however, we took a lot of your suggestions and implemented them on the post.

    Thanks for the great feedback!

  • raq

    Hey you forgot Turok, the first game that needed Graphics Accelerator to start running :P

  • kornykornelius

    OMG really bring back the mood!!!

  • Alison

    Well, you’re missing some notable titles like Battlefield 2 and so on, but wow. This was a nice time capsule for me. Nice memories and good times with most of those games. Command and conquer and diablo were very good games. :)

  • zrayon

    Great list you had. There shows the evolution of games and graphics. Ha!

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  • Kevin


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  • Emile

    good list, but missing zelda OoT, goldeneye 64, FF7, megaman, kirby n.e.s, red alert, pokemon…but most importantly mario 64 in my opinion.

  • Alex

    Great post!
    I think the jump from 1999 to today is amazing. Great example of that is Grand Theft Auto! The change is unbelievable!

  • kank

    Great summary of graphics advances. Graphics really changed rapidly in spurts here and there.

    A few of my own evolutionary memories that aren’t already in the article:

    3dfx Voodoo 1: Though the article mentions 3dfx being formed as a company, that seems much less important to me than its release of the original Voodoo. That card had more impact than the original GeForce and was definitely a revolution from my perspective. Voodoo 1/2 changed Quake1 from pixellated and choppy to blurry and smooth, incredibly improving the game experience. Most would claim this combo was *too* blurry at the resolutions playable in 1997, but the foggy look seemed to fit this dark, austere environment.

    -Tomb Raider. Tackled environments with unique “tiled” approach, providing far fewer polys than Carmack could offer, but with the benefit of comparatively HUGE spaces. This game offered a few jaw-dropping scenes that no other game could match at the time, despite Lara’s very blocky, ridiculously top-heavy torso. When the 3rd person perspective was endowed with watching your character climb, mantle, and flip, this game simply delivered enjoyable graphics and design.

    Though this article is about graphic advances since 1990, I am compelled to mention that gameplay is *so* much more important to me. I still play many of the games in this article and the “obsolete” graphics become irrelevant after the release date fades into the background. Screenshots may impress, but great gameplay is more likely to attract sustained sales figures and loyal fans. I now play my original Super Mario World with my nephew. I’d bet few of my other games will share that priviledge. Great graphics is more than the latest technology; it’s what you *do* with that technology to make the game experience better. New game ideas seem to be a lot harder to invent than better graphics.

  • wadamingo


  • http://- Finfan

    Woah that Alan Wake screenshot looks awesome. GO REMEDY!

  • Comi

    Great JOB! Enjoyed it ;)

    but pls add: Settlers, Monkey Island, Commandos and Fifa98 series! Just classic ^^

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  • Pahis_finn

    Oh i think i saw zelda there, maybe 2, feels like there´s something missing, at least 2008 farcry2 but still some good old game from the years, maybe tonyhawk 1 or 2…

    great site still, had few flashbacks :P

  • Mark

    Fantastic list that took me down memory lane and made me feel sooo old..
    the first Tomb Raider should be there though.. first 3d 3rd person shooter twas amazing for its time!

  • Confused

    Where’s Sonic the Hedgehog??

  • insic

    hmmm, now i know im not that old. lol, i never imagined this kind of games exist before.

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  • kjuu

    Umm, Fallout 2, anyone?

  • alienisko

    X-Wing (PC)
    TIE Fighter (PC)
    X-COM Terror From The Deep (PC)
    KotOR (PC)
    Barbarian [Death Sword] (C64, PC)
    Saboteur (C64)
    Giana Sisters (C64)
    The Last Ninja (C64)
    Winter Games (PC)
    Wings of Fury (Amiga, PC)
    Sensible World of Soccer (Amiga, PC)
    Formula 1 Grand Prix (PC)
    Formula 1 Grand Prix 2 (PC)

  • alienisko

    Another World (PC)
    Flashback (PC)
    Prince of Persia (PC)
    Pro Evolution Soccer 6

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  • blah

    Thanks for the memories.

  • deuts

    what about the release of PS3?

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  • Pride

    Touching! Almost brought tears to my eyes. Nostalgy, happiness, memories – all mingled together – what a feeling!

    Such a trip in time via the screenshots. I humbly thank you!

  • Christian

    Great post!!! Sure of those games sure do bring back good memories!

  • WRonX

    Great list, but I’d like to see the first Baldur’s Gate here. That game is a legend and it was way more popular than Dark Alliance.

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  • Allison

    It amazes me that the Wii was never even mentioned…

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  • Jaaaaay

    I don’t want to be rude but where the hell is gta4 or even worse, where is ps3 ?!

    I mean you did mention 360? :(

  • Clubit Games

    This post is amazing, very nice, love halo 3

  • paniq

    Hey! where is the Ultima Online? !

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  • Gyorgy

    @Jaaaaay GTA4 is on the list, but probably you missed it…

  • Ogg

    GTA2 is older!!

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  • Exgeeinteractive

    Where’s Gran Turismo?


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  • Me

    Where’s Fallout 1 and 2? I can’t see here Silent Hill or Resident Evil and I don’t know why:)

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  • Malte

    I did a video compilation of this pictures. Hope you enjoy:

  • BitSher

    My Favorit ever is “Mafia” – this perfect detailed and lovely designed grafics the great story telling like a movie the hole game and the nice gameplay combined with a revolutionary engine for that times… Still like to play it and feel young again ;-)

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  • Pete

    A good compilation of the CIA Mass conditioning program for America’s youth. Don’t forget to enlist when your recruiter stops by to keep the Homeland safe!!!

  • Ate

    Ah,this takes me back.
    To think I was a part of the 90’s game revolution.
    There are times when I miss my old 486 and Pentium 1.
    Onward I say.For a better tomorrow!

  • Tomaz

    Good list and the usual funny comments you get on these lists. Next time replace the standard comment box with:

    Hey! I can’t believe you forgot .

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  • Vasko

    I just get remember to DUNE 2000 and Age of Empires I that I was playing all day without pause. I grow up with these games.

    Great journey trough the time. Great post.

    P.S. I just get download DUNE 2000 to play it again.

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  • Morten

    The first time the title “Neverwinter nights” appear its is over the wrong screenshot, the screenshot is obviously champions of krynn. (It might be one of the other titels but I think not the hp is too low for any of the other titles).

  • Simon

    Activision and Electronic Arts were founded long before the 90’s .. I’ve got C64 games from early 80’s with their labels on

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  • Brian

    Great list. Brings back memories of far too many youthful hours wasted away in front of a computer.

    It’s also interesting to see some of the changes that took place in such short time spans. Look, for instance, at Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2. Given just a year between releases, WC 2 is a pretty big improvement in terms of graphics (as I recall, it was a pretty big improvement in gameplay, too).

  • Fumin

    Great collection, I remember so many of those classics.

    How can you not include WII console? One of the greatest gaming innovation!

  • Monkey Bingo

    Great idea for a list. I’m looking forward to seeing it grow.

    One suggestion: It seems that some screenshots are not very representative of the games. Whether that is for content or for quality, perhaps some of the readers of this blog could help update some of the screenshots. For instance, many of the Nintendo screenshots look terrible and don’t accurately portray the games (SMB Galaxy and Twilight Princess).

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  • TMD

    Myst was revolutionary, wasn’t it? Seems like it ought to be here.

    In general, though, thank you very much for the excellent review!

  • Tobi

    I love this timeline! Some games evoke memories to many many hours playing in fantastic worlds. I really miss Monkey Island!

    Awesome post, I have to subscribe your rss feed!!!


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  • Jeff

    Nice games !! what a revolution in graphics.

    but one of course is always missing:


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  • jay

    Great list, lots of nostalgia walking down memory lane. I missed Outcast, Tiberian Sun, Monkey Island IV, Dreamfall, Morrowind and Unreal 2, each of them milestone games when it comes to graphics and technology. Tiberian Sun and Outcast featured voxel graphics, in itself worth mentioning!

  • zioo

    mmm… where Amiga games? Moonstone, Monkey Island, Shadow of the beast, Syndacate, Centurion, Lotus and more great games?

  • Dio

    GTA San Andreas

  • AppleSD

    This is a great list! However, GTA 2 was 1999, not 2000. I know there was two years between GTA 2 & GTA 3.

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  • Rain

    I think system shock 2 deserves a mention in this list. Great look and feel for the time it was released.

  • Jonathan J

    Very nice list, brings back memories!
    I do miss Grand Theft Auto: Vice City though..

    Mostly because of the truly incredible soundtrack.
    If i remember correctly, it was the first computer game to such a big soundtrack with nearly 100% licensed material (I think a few tracks were made in-house specific for the game, though I’m not sure).
    Anyway, amazing soundtrack and brilliant game. Deserves a spot in the list of 2002 if you ask me :)

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  • Brian

    Wow… That was basically my childhood in pictures.

  • sheena

    video games are cool and addictive to everyone

  • Guy

    Missing Descent?

  • spelgalen

    Wonderful, I almost yearn back to Doom :)

  • Dave

    Check out these videos I did for AMD/ATI this summer…,,51_52_15438_15106,00.html

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  • Normal

    Interesting list, but like others I need to ad my type. After seeing the topic title “Video Game Design” I thought about one game: Homeworld. It was revolution in game design in almost every element. Please forgive me broken english :)

  • Anon

    You got some of the release years wrong sir.

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  • Chap

    Great list and I think you achieved your goal of showing the evolution of GRAPHICS over the past 18 years. I wish some people could read and understand that this isn’t just about capturing the best games in time but the best graphics of the time. I liked seeing the games that defined my youth (like being scared shitless watching my brother play Duke Nukem and Doom, I was born in 89) but man were things different back then haha.

    One thing though, since I totally bought into The Sims your screenshot for it is from the Makin’ Magic EP and not the first game. Here’s one.

    Btw, you should try some game websites like or if you want better screenshots of the gameplay as opposed to the ever erroneous wikipedia.

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  • rAX

    OMG ,, nice memories came back to me ,, thank you so much

  • mlox

    gta 4 the best!!!!!!!!!!

  • Karen Sugarpants

    My son turned 10 on the 19th and is amazed that video games looked the way they did the years he was born. It’s so funny to him! What a great list.


  • Benn

    Donkey Kong for SNES anyone? That was a huge step in graphics according to me. Goldeneye for N64? Further primes the market for fps multiplayer games (as did Doom II), capitalized on by the Halo franchise and others.

  • TB

    I’ll start my comment as all the other people with; a truly a great list that brings many memories back. But I do miss some games, that I think is very important from a Graphical view.

    The settlers (I’ve played all the games from Settlers II)
    And also, a not so known game, EVE Online. It has got stunning graphics and effects. And the texturing and modeling are very nice.

  • Clever

    How the hell could you leave out the Monkey Island games? You could at least have included ONE of the many adventure games released by LucasArts or Sierra during the 90’s.

  • spelgalen

    Great list.
    brings many memories back, Especially Doom :)

  • Hello World

    Good list, what about gears 2 or mass effect or assassins creed?

  • Gabe

    i agree great list, should have put tf2 in there though ;)

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  • Adams83

    Where is the best game?
    Where is “Gothic”?

  • Joe

    Nice to see some comparisons between older then revised titles. With that being said, we’re missing Gears Of War 2 and Far Cry 2 for that very reason. What about Bioshock? Halo3?

  • Fred

    Great list and really brings back memories and shows how things have changed.

    Everyone who is saying that there are games missing, not all games can be included as the list would be ridiculously long. This post is just to illustrate how things have changed, not showcase everygame from 1990-2009.

  • Bruno

    halo and warcraft 3 are the best

  • Lucanio

    Your screenshot of half life 2 is actually from episode 1.

  • Brad Mahaffey

    Great post, looks like things just stopped advancing so rapidly around 7-8 years ago

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  • Muhamed

    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is missing :o
    and snake fights dirty in MGS 4 picture !!!!!


    I remember those old school days when we used to play the DOS game Prince on our Pentium -5 computers…. hehe lol…
    Your list is awsum man… & my BEST game till now is MAX PAYNE 1 & 2. The narration, the action, sound effect everything is just toooo good..
    I miss playing those old games…

  • Usopp

    this all happened just in 10 years!!

    this is very scary indeed of how our technology have developed in just 10 years


    • milK

      Dude, it’s nearly 20 years of history they are covering here. Technically most of it started almost a decade before that even so it’s an industry of almost 30 years in total. Nontheless it’s stilly scary how fast it went :)

  • Counter-Strike p33nt

    Wow, great list! A lot of my favorite games were listed. Glad to see counter-strike listed.

  • Jon

    Wolfenstein was the big one for me. I remember lots of early games even back when Pong was new but wolfenstein looked amazing with the 3d style.

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  • Garciat

    I actually own a copy of Heroes of Might and Magic III… good times :D

  • Geo (D0M3 sH0T GE0)

    Yes! Tekken, need for speed, and mario was the shit! Currently Gears of War is the most challenging game tho. Especialy if u try and master the sniper up close look up some montages on youtube. I’ve mastered it before i was top 10 MLG :D. But umm gears of war was mentioned by the way and i did see a zelda too. I am waiting for a new challenge tho. i suggest u guys don’t play wow tho it looks fun but when u hit the top level theres nothing fun to do and ur disappointed u just wasted a year of your life its also extremely addicting and the only way u can beat the final bosses is if your in the best guilds in your server and the only way u can get in one of those is if you literaly play like 18 hours a day so fuck that. Take my advice and just wait for a new great game or make one! Ive gotten bored of the same old 1st person shooting games. I’m looking for a whole new type of game i even have my idea for a new one on my user name is geo and my ideas Headline is ” this game will have more players than W.o.W”

  • Korben Dallas

    In a list still heavily populated by 3D games, not mentioning Descent series is completely unacceptable. Descent I, in addition to being the first game with full 3D movement, was also the first FPS with fully renedered characters (as opposed to sprites), if I remember correctly.



  • BrianDeuelDotCom

    Good stuff. A mention of the Atari 400/800 series of computers should have been mentioned in your brief look at the 80s computers; they introduced such innovations as player/missile graphics (read: sprites) and display lists, as well as the (in)famous POKEY chip. But this is a minor omission, since your focus is 1990 to now.

    I’m not a huge fan of newer games. I think they’re too complicated and take too much time to learn, as I’m a “pick up and play” type of player; must be my old age and arcade experience talking. But I do appreciate the technology behind the newer stuff. I do love my Dreamcast, though :)

  • Jomark Osabel

    Nice article. I cant forget Mario as I used to reach the level where I have to slay the dragon.

  • Edward

    Mechwarrior!!! IMHO the game remains unique.
    See details

  • captain slaughterboard

    If we are talking about evolution of graphics, where’s Myst? Boring game, but for the time, farking amazing graphics!

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  • bigandex

    brings back some of good memories wing commander make me buy Stereo chips for my soundblaster

    The DUKE is not dead !

  • PaulD2.

    It looks like you’ve got enough suggestions to write a book instead of just a blog post.

    It is obviously a really good post to get all these hits and comments.

    Well, here’s mine…
    That Tennis for Two game that you say is the first video game, it really a computer game that, as you say, was displayed on an oscilloscope. The first true video game played on a television or monitor was “The Brown Box” which was invented by

  • keygene

    So, nice, well done!
    But it’s rather strange just why you put NFS “Most wanted” but not even one of “Undeground” before…

  • Serious Cat

    Godfather?! WTF?! Where’s Fallout 1 & 2?

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  • Webhosting

    i miss far cry in the list, wonderfull designs in the game

  • Anthony Alexander

    how is ocarina of time not there? Z lock anybody, the whole “3D” movement was shit without it.. And mario 64, seems no one knew what to do with “3D” cameras before that.

    This crap was quite disappointing, I was expecting something more informative than random games from different eras.

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  • the man with a plan

    Everyone is up in arms about games not mentioned that were released within the past 5 years. This post is more about the 90’s into the 2000’s, not 2005 and on.

    Though I do agree Myst is a must/classic in edition to Goldeneye for N64. I would also mention the first starfox for supernes, the original castlevania for NES, Super mario 3 for NES, and the Sonic series for genesis. Also another poster mentioned the “original” metal gear solid, but most of us remember the original Metal Gear (had to use mines to blow up the final boss LOL.)

    Great post and it brought back ALOT of memories.

  • Fabinho

    Mirror’s Edge !!!!!!!!

    no ME?

  • MMz

    How did you forgot Ultima Online!

  • Tuzik

    where is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ?? :-/

  • Mark

    You missed out Duck Hunt

  • Website Development

    Nice collection.

  • Gaurav M

    awesome post delicious indeed

  • debbs

    2008: LEFT 4 DEAD.

    • Dave

      I was surprised Left 4 Dead wasn’t in the list. It’s become one of my favorite shooters, alongside Halo and Half Life.

  • Raph

    Oldie-classics that weren’t on list:

    – Prince of Persia I (Classic PC game)
    – Blackthorne (another Classic PC game)
    – Fallout Series (I, II, tatics and warhead)
    – Baldur’s Gate Series (Legend of RPG PCs)
    – Icewind Dale Series
    – Jet Set Radio (Dreamcast – the best game ever made by SEGA)
    – Mirro’s Edge (another OMFG game..!)

    Very sad the nostalgia felling of that classic awesome games! Good times, when MMORPG doesn’t dominate RPGs. I must play all this games one more time before I die! xD

  • crazy player

    Great list lots of memories. I have spent my life on those games but there were many games I missed in that list. Here are my favorites Id add: Machines, Sin, Delta Force, Project IGI, Rainbow six, Aliens vs. Predator, Pro Evolution Soccer, NHL, Stalker, CaC Generals, Tomb Raider. Those games are classics and they shouldn’t be missing. Maybe next time

  • wiky1008

    Hello, I grew out on the PC games Golden Axe, Lotus, Wolfenstein. You are forgot this two first games :-) Thanks

  • Isaac

    Nice Comprehensive list mate… Excellent effort!! I personally don’t care about the left-outs… You’ve done pretty well here!! I’ve been on computer games since, 1990’s, that’s when the 286 came to india… remember playing the ‘Prince of Persia’, ‘Test Drive’, Barbarian & Indiana Jones… that time :) What fun as a kid!! hehe…. Thanks!!

  • jack

    Zero mention of Rock Band at all?

    This list is incomplete

  • Rebecca Agra



  • KaitabasuraMardhanaya

    I keep listening to the news speak about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one.

  • Pitambharadharaya

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    • Walter

      If you want to take a small part and put it on your blog, then fine, but the article can’t be reproduced in its entirety. Images cannot be hotlinked either.



  • mike

    NHL 09 – Possibly the best sports game of all time. Yes even better than Madden.
    Golden Eye N64
    Soldier of Fortune

    Overall good list though

  • kinan

    hi thank you for this great site it made me remeber an old game Rides adventure or like that not sure it was really nice their was alogo in it (RA) so if anyone help me to find it I will be grateful really

  • apollon

    The good old nostalgia years. Well, i wish we could play again the games of 90s and 80s to return back to true, quality games.

  • Justi

    I think you should post some older amiga games, as they far surpassed most of the old games back in the day. I remember playing Test Drive before pc could even think of a 1st person racing game.

  • justin

    i love halo 3

  • آریو

    God bless you man!
    You’ve made my memories alive.

  • Cristopher Dorsey

    Chris I pray that every thing go Gods way and you do not serve any time for this. I pray that you help others

  • Daniel

    Hey dude! Awesome post !
    It makes remember the time i spent when i was young on my videogames.
    And my first pc too…
    Simply love the post! ^^

  • Soco

    Dude! You left off Virtual Boy by Nintendo!!!!

  • Dranklore

    You went straight from The Legend of Zelda straight to Zelda Twilight princess… Tht was a great game and all but it is nothing in comparison to Zelda Ocarina of Time that is one of my favorite games of all time and probably many other peoples! Shouldnt have left it off!!!!

  • bgates87

    I agree, Ocarina of Time deserves a mention here.

  • lars

    You have contradicting information. In 1997 Grand Theft Auto came out. You stated Rocksstar started in 1998. Ive check this up on the internet and could find the exact answer, but i had to look at the orginal game made in 1997, it had the rockstar icon during startup.

  • Juan Carlos

    you barely talked about sega and i think that you are missing the sonica saga!!! and for upcoming releases your missing final fantasy 13!!! i dunno when is actually coming out but it should be there, overall is a really good list!!

  • Sohbet Muhabbet

    Nostalgie :)

  • web4noobs

    On the third paragraph, “phase” is mispelled. I should be “pace”.

    Also, I’m sure that the PSP came out much earlier than the XBOX 360.

    • Walter

      Corrected, thanks…

  • web design company

    nice collection
    your post is helpful and informative

  • Azrob

    My life just flashed before my eyes

    amazing post

    cheers for progress

  • Offshore Webdesign Company

    Nice list and stuff.. good work.

  • Paulo Miranda

    Amazing collection! I love playing many of these games.

  • Free Online Flash Game

    Goosh… I didn’t know the game has evolve that long.. thanks for sharing this.I’ll keep it as part of the history post that I should always remember off.. :)

  • patrickv

    lol, look at Tekken (1) on the PS1 the graphic sucks major, but back then i was really loving the game, especially the effects and everything when the PS1 came out.
    I think in terms of shoot em up, quake was kinda like setting standards !!


    Nice list and stuff.

  • scarlett

    Thank you for that list, that is a brilliant collection of games throughout the times, and certainly brings back memories. I do wonder about the absence of Age of Empires 2 though…

  • Becky

    Pretty cool, but misses the mobile game movement of the last few years…

  • Lord

    Diablo 3 will be released in the end of 2010 not 2008 … ?!
    And i think zelda twilight princess is´nt a new game from 2006 i think it´s realeased in 199x….
    And you forget the anno series!

  • leoueda

    Very nice post!
    This graphical evolution of games and its interface reminds my graduate work!

    You missed some incredible games (oldest ones and some recent ones), like pacman, pong, pitfall, Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts and Age of Empires II! Those ones were incredible hits!

    Anyway, I liked your post very much!

  • Marcel

    Very nice post!


  • Anilo

    Ehm where is Fallout 1,2? and The Elder Scrolls: Dagerfall? the biggest RPG ever?(also bugged but after year…)thats the gems.

  • Skid

    What about the PS3 release date and two of the best ever games to grace that console – Ratchet & Clank and of course Uncharted!? Uncharted I think has the best graphics to have graced any console ever.

    Article could do with a few Amiga classics too – Grand Prix & Xenon 2 spring to mind.

    And not forgetting Sonic the Hedgehog on the Megadrive of course!!!

    Nevertheless this is a great article.

  • Tere

    This post is pretty good. It brings me good memories of past.

    I really liked the evolution of GTA and Neverwinter Nights.

    IMHO you should add Final Fantasy X. This game was so important that they released FFX-2. I’d also like to see KingdomHearts and Streets of rage.

  • mein melon

    where’s Left 4 Dead??

    btw, awesome list! come to think of it, i’m getting old..

  • Web Design Kent

    Now that was a great trip down memory lane

  • Azizuan Aziz

    I used to play most of the old skool game back when I was in school. Now, I don’t really play game anymore. Just play once in a full moon. By the way, my current fave is Call Of Duty and Guitar Hero. Nice to play with X-Box.

  • Mike I.

    strange….Alan Wake, SC2, and D3 don’t come out in 2009.

  • Mr. Muscles

    Where’s Assassins Creed? That game had awesome graphics!

  • BarackX

    man I have a lot of my favorites here. The one that I really miss in GoldenAxe. I beat that game at least 1000 times with my brother. Resident Evil 5 has a high replay value as well. I’m still playing it online.

  • Val

    As post #91 … Where is Shenmue (1999) ? Better than some game few year later

  • Hersuri

    So, so, so, so much of this is terribly erroneous. How can you screw up simple things like dates?

  • Chotrul Web Design

    Amazing. It’s funny how I remember a lot of those old games, and remember them as having fantastic graphics …. and now … of course, they look amazingly dated and primitive.

  • Gravata

    Great list !! Good time when i really had time to play those games.

    I guess the topic title is wrong, it says 1990 – 2008, but theres a few games from 2009 :)

    Cheers !

  • reaper

    some of the older game as in Sim City 2000 looks really cool to play.

  • Tarik

    Where is Virtual cop and House of the dead? :)

  • Kartov The Macedon

    Thanks for the post. This brings memories. Old good time with Age of Empires II… Wonderful. Thank you man. Thank you a lot.

  • Peach

    Wow, nice article. It really brings back some good old memories.

  • alfredo

    those were the good old days…

  • jimmy

    waooo como a cambiado la tecnologia y seguira cambiando y avanzando cada dia mas.!

  • JayKay3000

    Fond By accident.

    Great post!

    So much time waste yet so much fun.

  • david

    I like how it says Diablo 3 on 2009… There almost a year past there expected date now… As with all Blizzard products they take there damn time but there products are always high quality because of that… I think it will be at least another 2 or 4 years before we even hear a thing about Half Life 3….

  • NEIL

    What about the ATARI era? I haven’t played those games hence I’m too young to play video games at that time but I remember those Atari ads on my uncle’s old comic books.

  • Robert

    can’t believe people are complaining, the article is fine, and people keep saying that you “forgot” games, when they need to realize that the games pictured above are just minor examples of how far gaming has come since the old days, when everything was either 8-bit or black and white, lol… good job on the article though, it was enjoyable to read.

  • yoomark

    Nice share,awesome list!Thanks

  • yoomark

    Nice share,awesome list!Thanks

  • La Cinyc

    sigh… memories… n even so this is a “shortlist” of all that came out throughout the years…

  • Sergio

    This was amazing. I stumbled here and it was fantastic to go back to my early years of playing video games, since the days of Mario Bros. to the days of Fallout 3.

    What a great journey and can’t wait for what comes next!

  • dom

    I’ve played almost all of these games. This article does bring back memories. To bad I don’t have most of these games anymore becasue at the time they seemd boring.Now I’m drastically craving some of them.

  • permatec

    The screenshot you have from Half-Life 2 is actually from HL2: Episode 1, which came out in 2006.thanks for sharing dude

  • Punta del Este

    Omg lots of memories came to my mind, all those games.

    Its funny how they look now (the old ones) with bad graphics, in those times they where the best!, and its incredible how the gaphics changed, now days games are awsome.

    I regreat the lost of in my opinion one of the best games genere, the “graphic adventure” games like Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Darkseed, space quest and i remember one that was good too … “beneath a steel sky”.

    I also love the Rol games, FF, Breath of Fire was the first rol game i play in my life, it was in a snes emulator, not to long ago i played it all again in a symbian emulator in my cell phone, i also re-played Chrono Trigger and others. lol.

    well, great post!!! really!!

  • TIE

    That’s an emulator screenshot of Link to the Past with an anti-aliasing filter applied, it shouldn’t be in an article that’s attempting to show a historical graphics timeline.

  • nascent

    Wow, thanks for this. I was trying to show the evolution of games to someone recently linking them to this will surely be a better demonstration.

  • Mason

    your ‘F.E.A.R 2’ screenshot is actually F.E.A.R 1 multiplayer sceenshot.


    i think the best game here is elder scrolls iv oblivion i can tell you what he has on : fur boots dwarven helm and deadric every thing else but staff of…….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • oDOTo

      i think its the goblin shaman staff ….the lightning one

  • annonymous

    dioblo 2 definitely came out in 2000.

  • oDOTo

    i also stumbled onto this how ever diabo 3 isn’t even out and they still don’t know the date the will release it

  • JeramieH

    The screenshot of EverQuest happens to be from the first expansion (Kunark) which I believe was in 2000. Not that it matters… just sayin’…

  • Travis Pacheco

    Great summary of graphics advances. Graphics really changed rapidly in spurts here and there.

    A few of my own evolutionary memories that aren’t already in the article:

    3dfx Voodoo 1: Though the article mentions 3dfx being formed as a company, that seems much less important to me than its release of the original Voodoo. That card had more impact than the original GeForce and was definitely a revolution from my perspective. Voodoo 1/2 changed Quake1 from pixellated and choppy to blurry and smooth, incredibly improving the game experience. Most would claim this combo was *too* blurry at the resolutions playable in 1997, but the foggy look seemed to fit this dark, austere environment.

    -Tomb Raider. Tackled environments with unique “tiled” approach, providing far fewer polys than Carmack could offer, but with the benefit of comparatively HUGE spaces. This game offered a few jaw-dropping scenes that no other game could match at the time, despite Lara’s very blocky, ridiculously top-heavy torso. When the 3rd person perspective was endowed with watching your character climb, mantle, and flip, this game simply delivered enjoyable graphics and design.

    Though this article is about graphic advances since 1990, I am compelled to mention that gameplay is *so* much more important to me. I still play many of the games in this article and the “obsolete” graphics become irrelevant after the release date fades into the background. Screenshots may impress, but great gameplay is more likely to attract sustained sales figures and loyal fans. I now play my original Super Mario World with my nephew. I’d bet few of my other games will share that priviledge. Great graphics is more than the latest technology; it’s what you *do* with that technology to make the game experience better. New game ideas seem to be a lot harder to invent than better graphics.

  • Luigi

    No Zelda OoT?? what’s wrong with you?

    nah all good this is a great list.

    also, as terrible as it has become, pokemon(B&R) was a huge game that should definitely be up there.

  • Florian

    Now how cool is that – all Great Games!

  • odjei

    you clearly hate nintendo, you even use horrible pictures in each featured game

  • game design

    Love the collection of games. What a decade of progress here! I have to say that although many will argue with me, Half Life is my favorite of these games. Beautiful design and some highly entertaining weapons!

  • snake/john

    wow look at allllllllllllllllllllllllllll those games and imagine wat game system they used for those games to the the ones we use today 2010/2011 well almost 2011

  • B-boy fili

    okay now this is a very good list. but matinence should be here,, there is no reason that the list should stop at 2009. its almost 2011 and it would be nice to see games such as,,, fallout new vegas, Halo reach, CoD black ops, and the release of the PS3 was not stated,, where is resistance and little big planet? and also no games were stated that were made for the PSP. Also i think the new KINECT software should be included along with the new dancing game for it,, as a breaker it would be nice to see something about dancing

  • aditia

    looking back before 2000 that was very nostalgic, right now I rarely in playing games, two games that I always wait Metal Gear and Prince Of Persia. And I think Batman Arkam Asylum should be on the list too, btw great post

  • Tibs

    Don’t you mean “good OLD days”?

  • Maria Fidalgo

    Great compilation!!

  • tanners

    awesome! nostalgic indeed :)

  • KRistoff

    nice list! but where is System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate and Morrowind?

  • hayvancılık

    I think this will be very usefull. i hope to make some money from designing, because webtehmes

  • Doggi

    1998 Really requires a mention of Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
    It’s weird to have a mention of Twilight Princess much later, but not the true classic. The first Zelda game listed is also Link To The Past, not the first game released back in -87.

    Similarly 1996/7 should mention Mario64 with the N64. In general the console-side seems to be not so well supported in the listings. Resident Evil should definitely be mentioned at least once, and Silent Hill – especially the 2nd game – was that big of an impact on the playstation-side later on.

    Other than that, it’s a quite nice quick check to the previous decade