Teetering on the edge of the uncanny valley: Video games graphics and how far they have come.

A splicer in Bioshock during a fight.
A splicer in Bioshock during a fight.

We are all familiar with video games as they span all generations and those who are invested  in them even just a bit certainly know of the graphics race.  The graphics race is a race between the different gaming companies to develop games that have the best graphics. This race has lead to the beautiful environments,  characters, and effects that we see in video games today but it occurred to me that people often forget the odd adolescent period of video games. That’s right, I’m talking about the late 2000’s. This period of gaming history is riddled with odd looking characters, visual glitches,  and odd shadings. The weirdest aspect of games from this time was the uncanny  valley effect that the graphics cause.  Looking back one can truly see the uncanny valley effect in video games from this time.

While taking a break from work the other day I decided to play one of my older games and after a period of thought I chose Bioshock, a very well known game made in 2007. I sat down excited and begun to play the game but as I played I began to get an eerie feeling, not quite the same feeling you get from a survival horror game more of an “off” feeling. After playing for some time of having the feeling I discovered what the feeling was, it wasn’t the environment or the creepy music but rather it was the looks on the characters faces. Of course the creators of the game intended for the characters to be creepy but I believe that they benefited, perhaps unknowingly, from the graphics of the time.  The splicers, which are the main enemy of the game, are made to look like messed up humans but I believe the jagged features that are caused by the graphics give them an extremely uncanny look. We can see this uncanny effect take place in several other games from this time period such as heavy rain and Oblivion.

Luckily as time has progressed so has video game graphics giving us the gorgeous games we have today and while we enjoyed the games of the past and their endearing looks most would agree that we do not want to go back to video game’s odd years of puberty.

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