With decades of gaming spanning different consoles, platforms, and countries, even the greatest video games are a mixed bag of aesthetics, mistakes, and questionable stylistic choices. Like the fashion choices of the early 2000s or the extreme hair of the 1980s, some games have graphics that astound, confuse, and will go down in history – for nearly ruining a bunch of really decent games.
As any gamer knows, bad graphics do not necessarily make a bad game. For some games, the narrative and gameplay elements outshine even the darkest, jerkiest, most boring visuals. What this teaches us is that it doesn’t always matter if you can’t tell the difference between a tree and a person as long as you are having fun.
These games are not bad games. They are good games, fun games, that are plagued by a legacy of ugliness. The lack of flashy graphics that comes with just being outdated doesn’t cut it here; some of these games even looked bad relative to the competition at their release. These are games that could have (and should have!) looked better with the technologies and resources available to them. If you can get past the flat landscapes, depressing color palettes, and blocky animation, these games are worth playing. Still, at the end of the day, these games are weighed down by awful visuals that hamper the experience.
15. Animal Crossing
When you boot up the early Animal Crossing games, the graphics are painful. We could all go back to feeding our long-dead Neo Pets for our cute animal game fix, and the graphics would not be noticeably different, which is a sad reality for hopeful Animal Crossing fans.
Originally released in Japan as an N64 game, it doesn’t seem like much was updated. Luckily for Animal Crossing, the people who love it aren’t playing for the graphics and aren’t phased by the low frame rate. The social aspect of the game will always have a strong draw, especially for the all-ages crowd. Plus, the style lends itself to some pretty cute Amiibo.
So, Animal Crossing comes out successful, but the graphics could have easily sunken this adorable woodland ship if the game had not been so undeniably fun.
14. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
The Star Wars games are a mixed bag. Luckily, a few people have heard of Star Wars — so the games don’t need to be beautiful to succeed. This game is full of fun and memorable battles, but the Jedi are not skilled in the ways of good game graphics. The creative team decided that a good way to make up for the clunky appearance would be to cleverly disperse live-action cut scenes. This resulted in a confusing movie/video game experience that no Jedi Mind Tricks could ever erase.
However, with the draw of a real first-person Jedi experience, the good reputation of the first Jedi Knight game, and the irresistible lure of the Dark Side, Star Wars Jedi Knight Dark Forces 2 overcame its painful early 3D graphics and proved to be a fun addition to the Star Wars gaming universe.
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