Over the past few years, the video game industry has flourished on an overabundance of eye-catching graphics. Ranging from puzzle games like Sudoku to casino games like the Starlight Princess game to shooter games like Call of Duty: War Zone, the advancement of video game graphics from the early days is quite remarkable.

You see, the growth that is upon us is directly attributable to the excess availability of intuitive graphics, which have become more advanced over the years. As such, players can now enjoy an immersive gaming experience from these games, which has contributed significantly to the growth of the video gaming industry over the years.

This write-up takes an in-depth look at how far the video game industry has come over the past few decades and what the future holds. Read on!

Video Game Graphics in the Early Days

During the early days prior to the advent of the realistic video game graphics we see today, gaming developers had to work with limited graphical processing, which could only allow them to create games with few colours. As such, players would control dotted representations of video game characters with the help of buttons.

1.    8-bit video game graphics

In 1977, 8-bit graphics was the order of the day. During this era, Atari 26, which had only 128 bytes of memory, could display two colours on the screen. However, the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System console in 1984 became a game changer.

It had more realistic graphics and could support more colours. However, the game characters in this era lacked texture detail.

2.    16-bit video game graphics

The proliferation of 16-bit graphics around 1987 introduced more detailed characters and gaming environments. Some of the highlights that marked the 16-bit era include high-resolution pixels (640×480), smooth animation sequences, and more colourful palettes.

3.    32-bit video game graphics

The 32-bit graphics era ran from 1993 to around 2006. It marked the advent of 3D polygon graphics, CD ROM storage, analogue controllers, and, of course, games with better resolutions.

4.    64-bit video game graphics

Today, 64-bit graphics are standard in the development of video games. 64-bit games added a whole new level of realism. While their introduction was in the 1990s, they realised their breakthrough in the early 2000s after being deployed in games like Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto III.

With 64-bit graphics technology in place, developers could create games with more colours and textures than their predecessors, allowing players to play with more realistic characters, whereby they could even see character wrinkles and sweat. This immensely contributes to the current growth of the video game industry.

The Introduction of 3D Graphics

Around 1982, 3 dimension graphics introduced a new level of realism in the video gaming industry. Apart from more texture and realistic game environments, 3D games brought more complex mechanics.

Initially, 3D game creation involved the use of wireframe models to create the 3D effects you see on your screen. Later on, developers started relying on polygons instead of wireframes, with games like Space Invaders (1978) and Asteroids (1979) paving the way.

The Advent of HD Graphics

The introduction of the first generation of HD graphics in the early 2000s marked the era of modern-day graphics. Next followed the introduction of PlayStation 4, Xbox, and the Nintendo Wii.

HD games run on a higher frame rate than their predecessors. They allow players to enjoy more realistic images, are more compatible with all gaming platforms, and have more fluidity.

Dreamcast became the first console to offer a modern built-in modular to accommodate online play. Later on, major players like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony followed suit.

Smartphone Gaming 

Thanks to modern-day graphics, video game enthusiasts can now enjoy more innovative games. These games are more realistic than we could have predicted a couple of decades ago and run at higher frame rates. Even better, the introduction of more powerful consoles means that players can play seamlessly graphically intensive games.

What’s more impressive is that the smartphone era opened a whole new dimension in the video game industry. The rise in smartphone usage saw developers start optimising video games for smaller screens. To achieve this, they simplify heavy graphics to ensure smartphones can accommodate these games.

VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality)

VR and AR have immensely disrupted the video gaming scene. These technologies opened more immersive avenues for developers to explore.

Players require special glasses to enjoy enhanced graphics and advanced gameplay mechanics. Essentially, VR and AR will make you feel like you are in an alternate universe when playing video games.


From simple, pixelated visuals to AR and VR game environments, there’s no denying the fact that video game graphics have had a remarkable transformation over the years.

This trend doesn’t seem to stop any time soon, as almost every developer is looking to create the next generation of video games. As such, players should expect to interact with more advanced graphics and sophisticated game mechanics in the next couple of years.