Modern video games are so visually polished that you can’t even tell they’re 2D. This is in contrast to older games which often used low-resolution graphics and text-based interfaces with gameplay as their primary focus. The term “low res” has found a resurgence recently, but what does it mean and how do we classify these two types of graphics? Let’s explore!
What is Low Resolution?
Low res or Low resolution, usually refers to the limitations of older hardware playing older games. Before the age of HD graphics, video games were developed using low-resolution art.
The word “low-resolution” has a subjective meaning. When compared to a high-resolution picture, low-resolution pictures have fewer pixels, are compressed more, or both. They give up the image’s quality in order to save space.
Things like pixels or sprites (a flat 2D graphic) were used because computers couldn’t render large, detailed images as they can today. As such, most modern technology operates at a much higher display quality than what was possible 30-40 years ago!
If you take a look at some screenshots from early video games, it’s easy to see why they chose visuals that could run on older hardware – their graphics are incredibly primitive!
Low-resolution graphics refers to the quality of the art itself – this type of graphic is usually pixelated and blocky, making it appear like an old computer game from the ’80s or early ’90s. These visuals were once popular because they required less processing power than high-definition images, meaning that games could run on older hardware.
A great example of low-resolution graphics is Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Even though this game is considered one of the best video games ever made, it’s easy to see why they chose to go with pixel art rather than photo-realism.
The main character looks like a weird blocky bobblehead who moves around in an isometric environment without any shading or background elements used to enhance the scene. Yet somehow, despite looking so different from modern games, people still find it engrossing and immersive!
The Legend of Zelda was also released on the NES and provides some specific examples that demonstrate why the low-resolution design wasn’t always bad – sometimes it just worked . At the start of the game, you can choose from either a duck or a bow and arrow. Doesn’t that sound exciting?