Mobile Game Graphics: A Remarkable Evolution
From 2D sprites to polygons, flip phones to iPad.
We should have seen it coming, this stunning evolution of mobile game graphics. Years of following the industry had taught us that all hardware, no matter how incredible at the time, eventually grew old and gave way to more powerful machines boasting a thrilling display of eye candy, the result of increased polygons, enhanced lighting effects and other assorted bells and whistles.
Of course, this was 10 years ago, back when flip phones were all the rage and a black and white version of Snake was the must have killer app. Besides, who in their right mind would choose a cell phone over a Game Boy Advance, and later, the DS and PSP? These were traditional handheld systems, and cell phones, well, they caused cancer, right?
Ignorant, sure, but it only goes to show how skeptical we and countless others were about the mobile gaming scene. During those early years (2003-2005, specifically), the games improved, but were limited to simplistic 2D sprites that couldn't compete even with Super Nintendo. There were some bright spots, DOOM RPG being one, Asphalt Urban GT another, but these were minor achievements, at best. Even iPhone gaming seemed bleak, circa 2008. Dizzy Bee was cool, but its graphics were far from revolutionary. Hero of Sparta, Rolando, Snail Mail...remember those? Did you play these games, then toss the DS into the trash? We hope not.
Then again, we should have seen it coming, the mobile game revolution. The hardware became sexier (hello, iPad, Android tablets), and with that, the games right alongside it. We're not making strides towards console quality visuals. We're already there. On that note, join us as we look back at the evolution of mobile game graphics. How far we've come, indeed.
Snake (mobile phones, 1998)
Asphalt Urban GT (mobile phones, 2004)
The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey (N-Gage, 2004)
DOOM RPG (mobile phones, 2005)
Glimmerati (N-Gage, 2005)
SOCOM US Navy Seals Mobile Recon (mobile phones, 2005)
Lumines Mobile (mobile phones, 2006)
God of War Betrayal (mobile phones, 2007)
Hero of Sparta (iOS, 2008)
Chuck Norris Bring on the Pain (mobile phones, 2008) Yes, this exists!
Cro-Mag Rally (iOS, 2008)
Dizzy Bee (iOS, 2008)
Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid (iOS, 2009)
Angry Birds (iOS/Android, 2009)
Cut the Rope (iOS/Android, 2010)
Rage HD (iOS, 2010)
Infinity Blade (iOS, 2010)
Contre Jour (iOS, 2011)
Galaxy on Fire 2 HD (iOS/Android, 2011)
Infinity Blade 2 (iOS, 2011)
Real Racing 2 HD (iOS, 2011)
Shadowgun (iOS/Android, 2011)
Mass Effect Infiltrator (iOS/Android, 2012)
N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (iOS/Android, 2012)
Asphalt 7: Heat (iOS/Android, 2012)
Dead Trigger (iOS/Android, 2012)
Tiny Wings HD (iOS, 2012)