With each passing year, video games are becoming bigger, harder, and more beautiful to look at. Dig deeper into Steam, however, and you’ll find an entire subgenre of games that channel the aesthetics of earlier eras, whether it be the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or Playstation. Undertale, for example, charmed players in 2015 by combining a modern sensibility with the graphics and gameplay of ’90s RPGs like Earthbound.
All this nostalgia has caused people to wonder what some of today’s biggest titles would look like were they released in a different era. For YouTube channel 98DEMAKE, that era is 1998, a year that, with the release of titles like Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil 2, saw 3D graphics taking precedent and gameplay changing because of it. The polygonal aspect undoubtedly made games uglier, but there was something exciting about the more lifelike, fleshed-out quality it offered.
Scroll through 98DEMAKE’s page and you’ll find games like Fallout 4, Dark Souls, and Grand Theft Auto V downgraded to evoke the graphical style. The harsh, blocky bodies and environments are all there, as are the thudding footfalls and awkward, digitized voices. It’s like playing Parasite Eve all over again.
It seems like an odd era to have nostalgia for, as the aesthetics aren’t nearly as charming as that of their 2D forebears, but we’re bound to have an affection for anything that played a prominent role in our childhoods. Nobody misses the CD jewel cases of the PlayStation era, but that won’t stop your heart from sighing when you see the custom-made ones that precede several of these videos. Watch a few below.