Remember when Unreal was just, like, totally the most unreal thing you’d ever seen, ever? That was almost fifteen years ago, and graphics technology has improved somewhat since then.
The thing about nostalgia is that it puts one of those romantic soft focus filters on your memory, to help you deal with the horror. What horror? This horror.
Alone in the Dark (1992)
What’s scarier than a haunted house full of monsters? Everything about this screenshot.
I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking – that looks like poo with teeth.
7th Guest (1993)
I don’t remember who the seventh guest turned out to be in the end, but it definitely wasn’t hi-res textures or anti-aliasing.
System Shock (1994)
Shodan has nothing on this low polygon catastrophe.
[Edit – As one reader has pointed out, this isn’t even System Shock, it’s System Shock 2. Five years after the first game, and they still couldn’t put a face onto head properly.]
The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994)
Not quite as pretty as Skyrim.
… Okay, so it does look rather a lot like Minecraft, doesn’t it? Maybe Descent was ahead of its time.
Games featuring full motion video were a big thing for about two and a half minutes. This is why.
Terrifying for all the wrong reasons.
Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
Hail to the king… of what, exactly? This game didn’t even have proper mouse-look.
Gears of War might have popularised the “drab brown shooter” genre, but Quake started it.
GoldenEye 007 (1997)
To be completely fair, I’ve seen amateur 3D art just this week that looks about the same. If that describes you, try harder.
Turok – Dinosaur Hunter (1997)
Not even dinosaurs could save this game from that nauseating cliff texture in the background. And that’s not even a dinosaur. What is that? A crocodile? Technically, crocodiles are dinosaurs, but not dinosaur dinosaurs. That’s not a proper crocodile, anyway.
Oh, I went there. And then I fled in tears.
It’s like the sky vomited all over everything, everywhere. Maybe that’s why the protagonist was an outcast. “Cutter Slade, you smell gross!”
BONUS HAEMORRHAGE! Deus Ex (2000)
I got this game bundled with a new graphics card for Christmas that year. The graphics card has probably aged with more grace.
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