Early polygon video game visuals (N64, playstation 1) have aged so much more poorly than good pixel-art video game visuals.

I wonder if "N64 style low-poly-count 3D models" will ever become an intentional aesthetic for newly developed games, the way pixel art is today? To put it another way, are we making retro pixel art games because pixel art is a worthwhile aesthetic in its own right, or is it development accessibility, or just because of the age of game devs and what's nostalgic for them?

@nindokag low poly is absolutely an aesthetic now, but not nearly as widespread because 3d math/animation is hard

also i slightly disagree, good early 3d was mostly a matter of art style. mario 64 uses bright colors and simple textures and it looks great still. games that used noisy textures and muted colors aged poorly

@nindokag i hope that one day analysis of game art styles can evolve past nostalgia and be seen as stylistic choices rather than purely referential

@nindokag yeah, I've seen a few games that specifically go for the early-3D look; it's a good aesthetic for horror stuff like Paratopic, for example (which even uses an exaggerated version of PS1-style texture warping and vertex wibble)

@nindokag I think there's scope for doing lo-fi 3D that isn't quite as aggressively weird-looking as a lot of 90s games were; some of the more elaborate voxel-style games approach this

@nindokag I've seen people trying it for a while, but to mixed success. Low-poly conversions of modern game characters, people trying to imitate the aesthetic of Paper Mario, that sort of thing.

Retro pixel art tends to throw back to third-generation (e.g. NES-era) or fourth-generation consoles, which were the, well, third generation to have pixel art. Artists of the time had longer to become skilled at it, compared to early 3D which took off in the fifth generation and was already expensive by the sixth.

@nindokag So game artists making low-poly 3D art as a deliberate throwback are throwing back to a much less aesthetically refined body of work than the people doing low-resolution 2D throwback art.

@nindokag Pixelation is an aesthetic in its own right, as are "blocky 3D" polygons.

In general I think less-is-more is an aesthetic style that gets picked up by people who get too overwhelmed by the race toward graphic realism.

See also: colour-quantised pop-art portraits

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