A video series by Stuart Brown of XboxAhoy has created one of the nicest mini-documentaries I’ve watched in a while. The five-part series that looks at computer graphics from Pong to Galaxian to Street Fighter and beyond. The whole series – complete with Brown’s soothing brogue – is a great look at the history of game graphics and the tools that programmers used to build some amazing classics.
The series starts with the difference between vector and raster graphics – essentially Star Wars-like line graphics vs. blocky pixel sprites – and how the advent of color pushed the arguably superior vector graphics into the dustbin of history. The second episode details the rise of the sprite and describes how things went from Super Mario to Out Run in a few short years. It’s a great series for anyone suffering from coin-op nostalgia or a programmer who wonders just where all that lens flare and those persistent dirt effects came from. Good stuff.