What was the first game you saw that made you go "This is the future of games right here"

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sombre

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Hey gang,

So...what are the earliest examples of games that really made you stand up and go "Huh? This is pretty special"

I can think of two examples, from a graphics and gameplay/storytelling perspective.

Graphically, I remember seeing this cutscene and literally sitting up in my chair and thinking "Maybe disc based games are going somewhere"

The second time from an actual gaming sense, it was Final Fantasy 6.

I remember, at the time I'd been playing games for...probably ten years? I'd gone through the NES>SNES>PS1 (I actually played that incredibly crappy PS1 version of FF6) and when I played it...wow.

The idea that they had all these amazing split narratives split all across the world the game existed in was amazing. When you're on the raft with Banon, and you have to pick one of three stories? That was such amazing player agency back in the 90s.

And then when you get to the WOR...WOW. You could literally go fight Kefka straight away, or you could spend 20 hours getting your party back together, and finding special magicite/weapons etc.

So what game really flicked a switch in your brain? What made you think games were a LITTLE BIT more?

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Onemanarmyy

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#2  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Metal Gear Solid had a scope and presentation to it that blew me away. I also think Gran Turismo 1 or 2 just looked impossible. I also remember reading about WOW and thinking.. yup.. this is going to be the best thing ever, but i won't be able to participate in it because i'm a kid and i can't pay for monthly subs :D

Oblivion, Jak & Daxter, XIII and Uncharted 1 also gave me those type of feelings. And though it didn't feel like a new step for gaming, i did think Final Fantasy X did a fantastic job of 'leveling up' (heh!) what a Final Fantasy game could be in terms of presentation.

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bigsocrates

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Probably EverQuest. It was this massive 3D world where you were free to explore and go anywhere, there was more content then I can imagine, it was inhabited with other actual people, and, at least after launch, it all actually worked.

Of course it turned out that wasn't the future of games at all. It was the future of A massive game (WOW) and then a series of flops and minor hits and now it seems like nobody is even trying to make MMOs anymore, just supporting the ones that are out there and still eking out a small profit. But for that brief moment I could imagine a series of incredible worlds, each larger than the last, and new frontiers to explore.

I soon learned that it wasn't healthy for me to play MMORPGs so even if it had been the future of games it probably wouldn't have been the future of my personal gaming time.

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csl316

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MGS.

But before that, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, there's that scene in Hidden Palace where you fight Knuckles, then Robotnik shows up and steals the Master Emerald, and Knuckles gets electrocuted. He's betrayed and realizes who the real bad guy is and helps you, and that shit was INCREDIBLE storytelling at the time for me.

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rorie

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I think for me the first view of Soul Calibur is still the biggest leap graphically that I can recall - it looks so much better than what the Playstation was capable of.

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sombre

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@rorie said:

I think for me the first view of Soul Calibur is still the biggest leap graphically that I can recall - it looks so much better than what the Playstation was capable of.

The leap from the PS1 to the next set of stuff was unbelievable.

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pudking

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#7 pudking  Online

Defender of the Crown on the Amiga.

Jaw dropping.

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jacksmedulla

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I guess I'm on the slightly younger side, but the Xbox 360 was the first console launch that I was actually completely wrapped up in. I distinctly remember having my mind blown by the original Gears of War E3 demo. Graphically, I had never seen anything like it, and the cover mechanics and "Water cooler moments" obviously had a MASSIVE influence on game design going forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoPC_ibBJiQ

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gornogorno

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FF8 for me.

At the time I didn't know that RPGs existed as a genre, so to my young brain it was "this is a real life!" sort of experience.

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RalphMoustaccio

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I would say Mario 64 was definitely that game for me. Maybe not the earliest, if I think really hard about it, but the clearest I can remember. I distinctly remember playing the demo for the first time on a pre-release N64 kiosk at Blockbuster and immediately knew I had to own it on launch day. I can still tell you which Blockbuster branch it was, even. That’s how big an impression that game made.

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cikame

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#11  Edited By cikame  Online

MGS for sure, most games of that time can be summed up fairly easily, you run, jump and shoot around and there might be pre-rendered cutscenes in between, but MGS was the first game i played that felt like it took everything a game could be and made it a cohesive part of its world, there was nothing else like it, and even now the only games that compare are its sequels.

I'm also duty bound to bring up Max Payne, it was a graphical leap at the time requiring me to get a new PC, its reflections, partical effects, bullet time, PC games of the time were often strategy games of some kind but here was a graphically impressive The Matrix and Hong Kong cinema inspired action game that blew everything else away, i would go into the developer console and fly the camera around so i could carefully inspect every bullet, every casing, every bullet hole, every muzzle flash, every animation in extreme slow motion, i was obsessed with this game.
Then there were mods, and with such amazing creations as the Kung Fu mod giving me even more reasons to obsess over every detail... what a game.
I must have watched this Kung Fu mod trailer a hundred times.

Edit: Holy shit the maker of Kung Fu mod, Kenneth Yeung, apparently works at Capy Games :O, he followed his game making dreams!!

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apewins

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Onimusha Warlords was my first game on the PS2, I distinctly remember a scene where a character smiles in a cut-scene and for whatever reason that felt really special. That was Sony's famous "Emotion Engine" in action and it really felt like an evolution from static, emotionless characters in games.

Graphics-wise, going from the muddy and sluggish hardware-accelerated Quake to seeing Quake 2 in glorious 3D-accelerated 640x480 resolution was an absolute revelation. And just those first 3D-accelerated games overall, it was the first time that 3D games looked sharp and not like vomit on screen and it was a really exciting time to witness that transformation in games.

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rand0mZer00

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Super Mario 64.

Me and my brother got it for Christmas 1996 and it just blew my mind. That felt like a generational leap.

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Shindig

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Probably when I saw MotoGP running on a PS2 in a store. The replays in that game looked amazing. I bought a console with that (even though the guy selling really, really wanted me to go for Timesplitters). Timesplitters didn't have heat haze. Or bikes.

I came to the PSOne after some years on the PC and going from hardware acceleration (texture smoothing and better resolutions) to texture warp and general ugliness threw me off a little. But you didn't have to set anything up to play so I was all in on convenience.

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FacelessVixen

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Nothing, really. That thought never come to mind when growing up. I could try to apply the thought to hindsight, but, eh. Nothing has really impressed me at that level.

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TheFlamingo352

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Morrowind for sure. I remember my friends at school trying to describe it to me; as someone that mostly plaued racing games and Civ as a kid, the concept of an RPG with such ambitious scale and variety was frankly unbelievable. Had to go to their house to see it with my own eyes.

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Ares42

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Deus Ex. All FPSs up to that point were just shooters. Quake, Doom, CS, Half-life, they were all just games about moving on to the next enemy to shoot. You had a few games playing around with new ideas, like Thief, but Deus Ex took the "genre" and just went wild with it. Huge sprawling "open-world" levels, RPG mechanics and a focus on story and world-building. For a long time I considered Deus Ex my #1 game, just because of how it pioneered the whole action-adventure/rpg genre.

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Charongreed

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Armored Core 2. I came to that generation really late, only had an N64 and didn't hang out with anybody who had one, so when I finally got a PS2 and Armored Core 2 with it, I was blown away. It also took me a while to wrap my head around two joy sticks too.

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Humanity

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#19  Edited By Humanity

I don't know about future but I remember playing a ton of the original Grand Theft Auto when it was a top-down looking game and then when I played GTA3 for the first time it was really mind blowing in a way. Like just driving onto curbs was something to consider - the three dimensionality of this, up till then, 2D arcade game was a sight to behold and the world itself was so rich and fully realized.

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brian_

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Video games have always been so diverse in my mind, I don't think I've ever played something and thought "This is the way forward". Even with something like the jump from 2D to 3D, at the tme it was never like "This is an evolution for the gaming media" for me. It was just a new style, and some games were just going to be 3D and some would still be 2D. Although, looking back now, there was a long period there where 2D games where virtually non-existent.

I think the closest thing to anything like this that I can think of was thinking a lot of games were going to start using the "Nemesis System" after Shadow of Mordor, but then it turns out no one actually did.

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someoneproud

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@humanity: Ha, I was gonna post the same thing. I loved GTA 1&2 as a kid and when I heard they were making it 3D my first thought was "no fucking way, that just doesn't seem possible". Legit blew my mind when I played GTAIII.

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MerxWorx01

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I know Quantic Dreams has accumulated quite a bit of bad press with both it's hit or miss games and internal strife in the past several years but I really thought that Nomad Soul was going to be the template for games going forward. It had a large world to explore, an RPG style story with characters to meet and a conspiracy to unfold. In a single event the game will be a FPS showdown in a grocery store or you will be ambushed in your apartment and forced to fight hand to hand from a side view like a fighting game or your tasked with chasing someone down in a third person perspective before jumping into a vehicle and continuing the chase in another part of town. While none of these moments were absolutely great on their own especially when compared to games that did one of those genres well. I feel like Nomad Soul essentially wanted to make something that was ambitious and attempted to take separate genres and mold them into a single cohesive thing. Ultimately games became open world sand boxes in the form of GTA 3 where events, cutscenes and combat occured seamlessly.

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NameRedacted

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Uncharted 2 and Skyrim SE.

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Pezen

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While I was always feeling that ’new and shiny’ between nes/snes and eventually ps1. I think my first real WOW moment was the first NHL games to Ps2 or maybe Dreamcast. My friend still remember that moment fondly when he showed me the game running and I was sitting ther with my mouth open unable to process what I was watching.

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Judoboy

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#25  Edited By Judoboy

I'm going to maybe interpret this question slightly differently and mention the games that made my mind explode.

  • Duck Hunt - As a 5 year old kid that technology was like magic. I couldn't believe the TV knew where I was shooting at.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2 - I never played the first one and the rendered graphics of this game blew me away
  • Mario 64 - first saw this at a Best Buy kiosk and with the first time ever using an analog stick to control a 3D character it felt insane and magical and my mind was blown
  • Zelda Oot - looking back the game is hardly an open world game in the contemporary sense but as a 10 year old kid the world seemed alive and expansive and magical and I had so many sleep overs playing that game with friends collecting heart pieces
  • Halo: CE - I played the demo at a mall and it was the first time I had ever used dual analog sticks which felt like I was in the future and paired with the graphics, the controller rumble, music, and driving the warthog, I felt like the game came from the future. It felt like such a leap from what I was playing before that.
  • WoW - the first time you ride a flight path and realize there's no loading screens between zones is when I had that magical moment with this game

I'm sure there's more but I'll stop there.

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Humanity

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@someoneproud: Yah going from those too down games with minimal story to this super detailed 3D world with voiced cutscenes was really nuts. I remember spending hours in that open world just driving around and coming up with my own things to do.

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samfo

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@sombre: Great thread, the graphics in Doom 3. I still think that game looks great.

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shabz6662

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i was 11 and max payne on pc made me fall in love with video games

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stantongrouse

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It's really interesting the range of games that people have had as their 'blew my mind' moment. It's difficult to go back and think of 8 year old me seeing a flashy new 16 bit computer game and thinking it could ever get better than that. Moments that really stand out were seeing the opening sequence to Another World/Out of This World, although playing it that feeling quickly lessened somewhat, and Virtual Racer/Daytona USA in the arcade were just so bright, fast and futuristic looking they couldn't take my money fast enough.

I would say I get many more of these moments but just on a much smaller scale these days. I find it challenging to critique so many 'average' modern games because in my mind they still do a staggering amount of stuff compared to what I grew up playing. It's nice to regularly have that feeling of, 'damn, I live in the future.'

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ThePanzini

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Mario 64 - The jump from 2D to 3D was awe inspiring.

Final Fantasy 7 - Seeing cut scenes transition straight into gameplay, with the best intro to an RPG ever.

Morrowind - An open-world RPG game on console where you really could go anyway and do anything.

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wabi-sabi

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Flashback – The animation in Flashback; it felt like watching a cartoon. But the game scared me so much (as a child) I never played it.

Mario 64 – When the camera panned outward at the summit of Bomb-omb Battlefield, my mind exploded.

Halo: Combat Evolved – I thought that was the future of video game A.I

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tebbit

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I have 3 answers.

Ape Escape

For the innovative use of the new Dual Shock's analogue sticks, like flicking to swipe your sword or net, making circle motions to spin up a hula hoop or fly into the air, and directing your monkey radar. It's kinda sad that most games now relegate the right stick to camera, but I remember being blown away by this (in retrospect kinda cumbersome) control scheme. It made profuse use of rumble for everything from taking damage to pointing out important events, to hinting when the monkey radar was getting stronger. It also made spectacular use of dynamic music that would get softer when you're sneaking or crawling, to bombastic when you've been spotted by one of those sneaky apes. The whole concept of the game still facinates me. It's an action stealth platformer, with a little gotta-catch-em all flavour (each monkey has a unique name and backstory), it is supremely Japanese but with very intense British voice acting. It still feels so fresh, and I wish they'd make more.

Final Fantasy VII

The opening cutscene made my jaw drop to the ground. It just looked so much better than any game I had ever seen (though even at the time, those square hands looked so doofy). Everything just felt so fresh. The music was gorgeous (still some of my favourite music ever), and thematically it goes some wild places, spanning from local militia drama to galactic metaphysics, without batting an eye. Not to mention the enormous marketing campaign backing it at the time - it made me feel that people were taking my hobby seriously. It was strangely vindicating. Square did such a fantastic job of capturing the essence of this game in the remake.

Jak and Daxter

No meaningful loading times, a completely connected world (my first experience of "see that mountain? you can walk there"), a dynamic day / night cycle, and an (at the time) really impressive draw distance combined to make the world of Jak and Daxter feel so dense and impressive. I know there was plenty of trickery involved but the overall effect gave the environment an incredible scope and feeling of breadth. The closest games had got (on console at least) was Spyro the previous generation, with their really skillful use of geometric LOD, to let you see for miles.

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doombot13

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#36  Edited By doombot13

Virtua Fighter.

Edit: Also want to give a shoutout to Ultima Online, the first MMO I knew about (sorry Meridian 59). I remember telling my friend in amazement and him saying, "So the game is going on... all the time?!" It seemed impossible.

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wollywoo

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Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Country, Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Chrono Cross. For all the usual reasons.

More recently, Outer Wilds. It takes a step forward from the open-world genre to simulate an entire solar system simultaneously, with realistic physics. An amazing achievement for any dev, let alone an indie studio.

And just yesterday I discovered AI Dungeon. It's pretty astonishing. The stories it generates aren't 100% coherent, but the extent to which it is reactive to any input is amazing and kinda spooky.

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OurSin_360

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Street Fighter 2

I ducked under a round house and said "Man this is like real life!"

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frustratedlnc

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#39  Edited By frustratedlnc

Ill echo some of the games already mentioned. The strongest first impressions for me were Mortal Kombat, Mario 64, Doom 3, and most of the Dreamcast library (Sonic, Soul Caliber, Code Veronica). To a lesser extent, the first Crysis was impressive. Even though it was a lie, the promise behind the Killzone 2 trailer would have blown me away if not for my inherent skepticism. I feel the same way about that first Bioshock Infinite trailer.

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ShaggE

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Oh fun! I get to kvetch about Maabus again!

This damned trailer:

Loading Video...

It had my 8 year old self completely believing the trailer hype, and I truly thought I was witnessing the future of gaming and not "Fall off of cliffs in confusion and die over and over simulator '94". ... At least the box art was cool.

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FrodoBaggins

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#41  Edited By FrodoBaggins

100% my answer to this is Tomb Raider.

I had the mega drive and at that young age I remember not even realizing that newer game consoles would be released. I remember my mother telling me that my uncle had bought a Playstation, but at the time I didnt even realise it was a games machine. I thought it was some kind of toy. We went to visit one day, and as I walked in Tomb Raider was been played.

I was astonished.

My second answer would be a few years later when a different uncle took me to his house and showed me EverQuest for the very first time.

Changed my life that moment.

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Shiftygism

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Seaman's character interaction.

We haven't got there in-game wise yet despite the existence of Alexa and similar apps, but I can't wait for the day where we can chitchat with companions in games like Elder Scrolls and whatnot.

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byjoeigo

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#43  Edited By byjoeigo

The first time I saw Halo: Combat Evolved was a "remember where you were when...", moment for me. I was young, and the broader concept of video games as a medium and industry was hardly a blip on my radar. That said, something about the graphics (at the time), the instant immersion, local co-op, and the enemy AI, created the perfect storm, at the right time. Few forms of media invoked that degree of childhood imaginative stimulus as Halo.

Oddly enough, I haven't played a Halo in at least 10 years, and likely won't again. Funny how that works.

edit: First ever post to the site = )

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Junior_AIN

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Wave Race 64 (looking at the water) and Super Maio 64.

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hermes

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No Caption Provided

Seeing this in arcades on the early 90s was a game changer.

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Colonel_Pockets

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Morrowind, Resident Evil 4 and Uncharted 2 are games that immediately come to mind. I think they speak for themselves at this point.

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RalphMoustaccio

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@shagge: Incredible. I somehow have less idea what that game is about having watched the trailer than I did when I had never heard of it before.

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Ry_Ry

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Going from Atari 5200 games to the Sonic 2 on the Sega Genesis was just mind melting for me.

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hatking

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I can't remember the first time. Probably when I experienced the transition from 2D games to polygonal games. I can't remember what game that would've been though.

The last time this happened was when I turned on Forza Horizon 4 on my 4K TV with HDR. This intro sequence is still maybe that best looking thing I've ever seen in a video game, but we all know cars always look good.

Loading Video...

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colourful_hippie

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Vice City