It all started with a little game called Pong. The world's first massively successful video game was scarcely more than a redundant ping pong match; a small dot struck back and forth across a monochrome screen. Its graphics were rudimentary at best, and contained only the minimal amount of imaginative flair needed to accommodate the game's primitive functionality.
To the younger generations of today, Pong would no doubt appear hopelessly antiquated and pedestrian, but when it was first unveiled by Atari in 1972, it was our hypnotic entry point into the exciting world of video game technology. From that moment, we were hooked and insatiable for ever more grandiose and immersive interactive experiences.
In many respects, the graphic artist is the key figure in the evolution of the video game from a mere novelty to a way of life for many millions of players across the globe. Separated into five distinct chapters, the new documentary A Brief History of Graphics outlines the stepping stones of that evolution and how the role of the graphic designer altered the face of entertainment by contributing to the success of one of the most profitable industries on the planet.
The story of how the video game journeyed from basic pixelization to 3D photo-realism is enriched by innovative thinking and unlimited imagination. The demands of the medium sparked an unprecedented creative fervor in these artists, as they were challenged to push the possibilities farther with every game they produced. These innovations included the employment of multiple colors, fully formed characters, naturalistic movement, engrossing story-lines, and three-dimensional player environments.
A Brief History of Graphics is a pleasurable and informative look behind the curtain of video game design that appeals to both the polished professional and the technologically unsavvy. From the gobble-gobble nostalgia of Pac-Man to the hauntingly realistic warfare of Crysis, the film pays tribute to the wizardry and artistic achievement that has forever shaped our perception of game play and interactive media. These pioneering artists have crafted worlds that we could not have possibly imagined just three decades ago, and they will continue to forge beyond the unknown in decades to come.