Show Off Specific/Niche Game Aesthetics You Like

We all have very specific visual styles and aesthetics in games that we like so let's talk about them!

I have some very specific examples which I think about a lot. I think I do have a bit of nostalgia for them as they will almost never come back since they were a product of their time.

**Capcom's PS2 Era Character Style**
I really like the modelling and texture style that Capcom used for their characters in the Resi 4 engine. Their features are quite soft and they've obviously been painted but in a way that blends nicely with the photo textures on the environments. I think the same engine was used for Haunting Ground and the characters have the same style. I think it's a combination of their character modellers and the renderer making character faces that I think have a strong but understated style.

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/UPxNLeT.png]

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/DpEdkOU.jpeg]

**Xbox 360 Sunny Military Shooters**
Obviously the politics of these games are heinous but I really enjoyed the look of sunny shooters on the 360. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) 1+2, Rainbow Six Vegas 1+2 and Frontline Fuel of War had rich and saturated sunny levels which quickly fell out of fashion after the first 3 years or so of the 360's life. I live in the perpetually grey UK so like to play games that have things like 'sunshine' and these games were really sunny and bright and made the fact you were playing a Republican fantasy propaganda game more enjoyable.

GRAW2
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/2V80pqE.png]

R6 Vegas
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/APUkxq0.jpeg]

Frontline Fuel of War
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/HskPe5E.png]

The wide linear approach to the level design in these games combined with the bright and sunny weather game them a more easy going feel than everything that started development post COD4. These games are definitely a product of the time and the tone, lighting, 360 era poly count and normal map compression added up to an aesthetic I remember fondly.

**PS2 Musou Games Running on X360**
This is incredibly specific and is definitely the product of an era. For a good chunk of the 360 era, the Musou games were cross gen with the PS2. The PS2 games were ported to 360 without any graphical improvements so you had all these low poly characters running around at 60fps in a low poly world at 720p. I think it looked really cool and I'm having trouble enjoying modern Musou without this graphical style.

Obviously this look can be achieved by emulating PS2 games but I think I like seeing these games run as native ports and they have a little bit of an otherworldly feel.

Samurai Warriors 2 and Empires were my favourites:
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/fvtRydF.jpeg]

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/T40RjiW.jpeg]

Anyone else got any very specific aesthetics in games that you don't often see talked about?

“utopian scholastic”

https://www.are.na/evan-collins-1522646491/utopian-scholastic

as seen mostly in 90's CD-ROM adventure games and 'edutainment'

_Myst_ series and imitators and carmen sandiego games of that vintage are I think the most prominent examples

Bright, clean graphics, usually a menu-based interface. Often centered on "educational" topics

_Myst III: Exile_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/mvPYaK2.png]

_Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/bQD2AdX.png]

_The Last Express_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/r8Kl3P9.png]

_Gateway II_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/OK5t1LZ.png]

_Broken Sword_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/vnJ5o4r.jpeg]

_King Of Dragon Pass_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/tNW7EgQ.png]

And at least in my mind this also includes a number Japanese games, particularly by Koei and Artdink

_Aerobiz Supersonic_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/PHM9mSV.png]

_A Train_
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/mymy4vm.png]

_Garage: Bad Dream Adventure_ and _LSD: Dream Emulator_ are also somewhat related but a different tone...

I really like the Myst look. It feels very bleak but at the same time friendly.

@“yeso”#p64614 talking about Riven in that other thread, I had to launch the game again to see how it would run on what I had. That game straight up hasn‘t aged, it’s still beautiful. The environments are so varied and inventive and legitimately wondrous.

>

@“Chopemon”#p64610 PS2 Musou Games Running on X360

every now and then I play a dynasty warriors strictly for the aesthetic experience you describe: simple geometry 3d places, menus and menu select sound effects, uncanny portrayal of real places, weird voice acting. Could not care less about the gameplay

I'm a sucker for flat shading. I feel like there are three main buckets:

**Chugging, envelope-pushing 3D**
Elite and it's brethren: home PCs enduring low frame rates to make something new, or using it intentionally to meet low-spec hardware.

[The Colony](https://www.mobygames.com/game/colony)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/24WbsQY.jpeg]

[Alpha Waves](https://www.mobygames.com/game/continuum)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/94RbU7O.png]

[Geograph Seal](https://www.mobygames.com/game/sharp-x68000/geograph-seal) (aka Jumping Flash 0)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/EDGrrHR.jpeg]

[Mechwarrior 2](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mechwarrior-2-31st-century-combat)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/sD4IEBE.png]

**Blistering arcade action**
The (brief) Sega Model 1 era: using flat polygons as a tradeoff to meet high resolutions and high frame rates in the arcade.

[Virtua Racing](https://www.mobygames.com/game/virtua-racing)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/gryAy3W.jpeg]

[Cyber Sled](https://www.mobygames.com/game/cyber-sled)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/dgciVJB.png]

[Wing War](https://www.mobygames.com/game/arcade/wing-war_)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/ufdTgyM.png]

**Stylistic choice**
Artistically confident games, not necessarily cel shading.

[Killer 7](https://www.mobygames.com/game/gamecube/killer7) (when you occasionally get a blue-sky treat after trudging through hours of corridor shooting)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/QhcAE5M.jpeg]

[Isabelle](https://web.archive.org/web/20041012104938/http://www.belisa.com/isabelle/)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/69T3NML.jpeg]

[Kentucky Route Zero](https://www.mobygames.com/game/kentucky-route-zero)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/I8Mu8wP.jpeg]

I find you need to be pretty careful with gradients and lighting to fit in that last category, but I've struggled to come up with a good rule for when it does or doesn't work.

I like this font that was used countless times in games localizations for the Dreamcast, Gamecube and Playstation 2

https://rpgamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/final-fantasy-crystal-chronicles_2020-07-30_027-scaled.jpg

https://www.romulation.org/media/img/screenshots/GameCube/10997/s9d3d0c26.jpg

@“treefroggy”#p65773 dark cloud 2 ass font

As folks might know about me, I will absolutely go to the mat to argue the virtue and value of early 90‘s games that use digitized live actors. Don’t ask why I find value in them– I don‘t have a very good or convincing answer for you! I think it’s probably just a combo of my awareness that there was an honest attempt at boundary pushing with many of these games, combined with my own personal nostalgia for the specific moment in time when games like this existed (and probably also my sympathy for their poor status as part of an evolutionary dead end in game assets).

EDIT: these screenshots look hilariously even worse when scaled up like this! It wasn't my intention but I sure do love it!

These are, as far as I can attest to, 2D games, even though some read as 3D or 2.5D. I know there are some big names like Mortal Kombat, as well as games that include low-resolution sprites derived from CG animations (like Killer Instinct), but I'm mostly talking about the extremely trashy and low-res looking stuff. For example!

Battle Monsters (Arcade, Sega Saturn)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/3s5ovpB.png]

Pit Fighter (Arcade, various consoles)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/drgnmNT.png]

Guardians of the Hood (Arcade)
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/Z2W81Pw.png]

...And the crown jewel, Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (Arcade, Saturn, PSX), which I think is higher quality than the rest, but is still janky and trashy.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/HC1bfZT.png]

Honourable Mention: Shinobi Legions (Saturn). It's I think a better looking game than the rest (not a high bar), but it has so much CG content on top of digitized live actors that it feels like it falls a bit outside of my extremely vague set of criteria.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/Th9PH6r.png]

@“treefroggy”#p65773 I've definitely seen that font before! Which two games are those used your examples?

>

@“rearnakedwindow”#p65946 I’ve definitely seen that font before!

I looked it up and it's DF Fuun. Unfortunately it costs $500 to download, but if you're just looking for something to mess around with, [you can type whatever you want into this little text field for free](https://www.fonts.com/font/dynacomware/df-fuun-japanese/w-7).

i just read this ode to the magical Blue

that's quite a domain name

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/4JntlI2.png]


Made of Material games:

You would think it starts with Nintendo and Kirby's Epic Yarn,
[URL=https://i.imgur.com/naj9g3e.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/naj9g3e.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

but I feel is starts much more roughly with the Hudson Remakes on PS2 / GC

PC Genjin
[URL=https://i.imgur.com/O9fs0lc.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/O9fs0lc.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Takahashi Meijin Adventure Island
[URL=https://i.imgur.com/a04p2dX.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/a04p2dX.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Hand-illustrated aesthetic:

#### 「七つ風の島物語」*Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari* (1997)

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/UQTNNsY.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/UQTNNsY.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

#### *Legend of Mana* (1999)

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/6KCFW1h.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/6KCFW1h.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

#### *Machinarium* (2009)

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/UWYPbIZ.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/UWYPbIZ.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

@“robinhoodie”#p129481 I think it also goes back to Yoshi Story on N64 in 1997 (though there are probably even older examples, but that‘s the oldest one I could think of atm). Regardless, it’s a cool aesthetic for sure!

>

@“connrrr”#p129501 Legend of Mana (1999)

Legend of Mana has one of my favorite looks of any game ever.
















https://www.nintendojo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/screen_donkeykongcountryretruns-e1294497577464.jpg

https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/wipeout/images/f/fc/ParisHair.jpg

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/nff-XmkgFrg/hq720.jpg

https://nindb.net/ds/art-style-boxlife/img/screenshot.jpg

@“HyggeState”#p129544 Don't forget:

[IMG]https://www.myabandonware.com/media/screenshots/t/the-king-of-chicago-3pm/the-king-of-chicago_8.png[/IMG]
[IMG]https://www.myabandonware.com/media/screenshots/t/the-king-of-chicago-3pm/the-king-of-chicago_11.png[/IMG]