Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Love them or hate them you can't help but acknowledge that games have changed a lot over the years. The technology they're built on and played on has come on in leaps and bounds. Games we know and love have transformed into staggeringly beautiful works of art. 

We've collected a gallery of images to show you how amazing video games are and just how far they've come. Which of these did you play and are still playing now?

Electronic ArtsThen vs now Video games through the decades image 22

SimCity (1989) vs SimCity 6 (2016)

Like The Sims, SimCity was a great bit of escapism, putting God-like powers in your hands to create and craft life and living for computer-generated people.

Top-down views have been replaced by sprawling Metropolis empires and magnificent skyscrapers. 

Electronic Arts/Sony Interactive EntertainmentThen vs now Video games through the decades image 21

Mortal Kombat (1992) vs Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)

When it comes to beat 'em ups, Mortal Kombat has always been the goriest, most grotesque and over-the-top fighter around.

Graphical enhancements over the years have only made that shock value more impressive and sometimes more hilarious. 

343 Industries/Microsoft StudiosThen vs now Video games through the decades image 19

Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) vs Halo 5: Guardians (2015)

Halo sure has evolved over the years (see what we did there?).

The classic console shooter has often been one of the main reasons to buy an Xbox, if you ever needed one.

The games are also on PC now too, which is cool. The graphics are bound to be even more interesting when that happens. Even Halo 5: Guardians looked amazing, 14 years makes quite a difference it seems. 

Bethesda Game StudiosThen vs now Video games through the decades image 18

The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994) vs The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Elder Scrolls is certainly another classic RPG series and it's fair to say that The Elder Scrolls VI is one of the most hotly anticipated games.

What amazes us though is not only how far the series has come, but how Skyrim was released eight years ago. Where does time go? We're not even sure we fully completed the game proper, nevermind all the different versions that have come since. 

Electronic ArtsThen vs now Video games through the decades image 17

The Sims (2000) vs The Sims 4: StrangerVille (2019)

If you've ever found your life a little dull and wanted some escapism, then The Sims was the perfect outlet. Why live your own mundane 9-5 life when you could force some little pixel people to do it instead.

Having small computer people do your every bidding was always hilarious and The Sims is still as popular as ever, only a lot better looking, but no less bonkers. 

Check out these brilliant deals on Nvidia RTX 30-series laptops

Gathering of Developers/2K GamesThen vs now Video games through the decades image 1

Mafia (2002) vs Mafia Definitive Edition (2020)

2K Games recently unleashed Mafia Trilogy and Mafia Definitive Edition. Remastered versions of the classic Mafia games.

The updated versions of the games show how far visuals have come and certainly have us excited for the future of these games. 

Electronic Arts/DiceThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 2

Battlefield 1942 (2002) vs Battlefield V (2018)

We have some brilliant hazy memories of the original outing of the Battlefield franchise.

Back in those days, you could play against bots if your internet wasn't up to the challenge of online multiplayer and there were all sorts of fun to be hand on land and in the air too.

Now with cutting-edge graphics, ray tracing, destructive environments and more, Battlefield sure has come a long way.    

NintendoThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 3

Super Mario Bros. (1985) vs Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

Nintendo might not necessarily be known for making the most cutting edge games when it comes to graphics, but that doesn't mean Mario hasn't come a long way.

The original Super Mario Bros. was much loved back in 1985 on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, now in the modern era, you can take Mario games with you wherever you are thanks to the Nintendo Switch. Things are a lot prettier too! We loved Super Mario Odyssey when we reviewed it in 2017 and more and more Mario games are popping up all the time. 

NintendoThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 4

The Legend of Zelda (1986) vs The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (2017)

As you might imagine, there are going to be a few top-down games on this list that have transformed into fully-fledged vast open worlds seen from a new perspective as the years have passed.

The Legend of Zelda has been a firm Nintendo favourite for decades. You'll find plenty of older gamers with a soft spot in their heart for the original games and the newest iterations are even more popular with Breath of the Wild stealing the show in 2017. 

Rockstar Games/Take-Two InteractiveThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 5

Grand Theft Auto (1997) vs GTA V (2013)

According to The Guinness World Records 2008 and 2009, the original GTA games were seen as the most controversial games in video game history.

Despite being top-down, the original GTA was seen as unnecessarily violent and vulgar. Not much has changed, but then neither has the popularity.

Over the years, GTA has evolved into a bigger and better sandbox, open-world experience with even more criminal enterprise to enjoy. GTA V released in 2013 to critical acclaim, but when it came to PC a couple of years later it also opened the visuals up to an even bigger overhaul with graphics mods to make the world of San Andreas even more stunning.

Sony Interactive EntertainmentThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 6

Spiderman (2002) vs Spiderman (2018)

2002's Spiderman game was released on PS2, Xbox, Gamecube and PC and to a fair amount of press from game review sites and fans alike. A rarity for a game based on a film - which generally speaking in our experience are often a bit lacklustre.

Of course, being the ultimate web-slinger was great, but in the modern era of gaming, it's even better. 16 years on and the latest video game vision of Marvel's Spiderman is something special both in graphics and gameplay too. 

CapcomThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 7

Street Fighter (1987) vs Street Fighter V (2016)

We have fond memories of playing one of the iterations of the original Street Fighter games on an arcade machine in our local fish and chip shop.

Things have come a long way since then, but the classics never die. Improved sound, visuals, special moves and more and more characters make this one the ultimate beat 'em up and it gets even better with age. 

ID Software/BETHESDAThen Vs Now Video Games Through The Decades image 8

Doom (1993) vs Doom Eternal (2020)

Doom. What can you say about it? Likely the grandfather of all first-person shooters and an utter classic. Doom might not be known for a gripping storyline or mesmerising characters but it's certainly visually stunning. Even more so in recent years where new graphics and physics technology has made the gore even more grotesque. 

NintendoThen vs now Video games through the decades image 9

Mario Kart (1992) vs Mario Kart 8 (2014)

Mario Kart is likely everyone's favourite multiplayer game. Battling it out with friends to dominate the race track, while grabbing various power-ups and trying to come out on top. Many a friendship has been made or tested on these virtual tracks. Like the other games on this list, Mario Kart has come a long way since it first came to our gaming screens in 1992. 

Now with Mario Kart Tour, you can even enjoy the racing classic on your smartphone. What a time to be alive. 

EA SportsThen vs now Video games through the decades image 11

FIFA International Soccer (1993) vs FIFA 20 (2019)

FIFA started life way back in 1993, it was originally available for the SNES, Sega Mega Drive, Master System and even the Game Boy. It proved so popular that it was top of the games charts for six whole months in the UK and continued to grow in popularity as the years passed. 

Recent FIFA games launched with some teething issues but there's no denying how much the game has changed visually in the last couple of decades. 

Square EnixThen vs now Video games through the decades image 12

Tomb Raider (1996) vs Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider is often referred to as being the pioneer of action-adventure games.

Anyone that's played games in the series probably has fond memories, whether locking the butler in the fridge in Tomb Raider 3 or simply the thrill of adventuring through tombs and finding hidden treasures.

The games might have had some criticism for making Lara Croft "sexy" in order to sell more copies, but it was clearly a winning formula of game design and marketing that helped sell over 74 million copies worldwide. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider saw the game grow up significantly, with the main character being much less sexualised and the visual emphasis instead being put on the games environments, mechanics and more. Beautiful tombs, incredibly detailed surroundings, magnificent lighting and even detailed hair are a far cry from the pixels of old. 

KonamiThen vs now Video games through the decades image 13

Metal Gear (1987) vs Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

You might be forgiven for thinking that Metal Gear Solid started life on PlayStation, but it actually harks all the way back to 1987.

Metal Gear is a series of classic action-adventure stealth video games created by video game legend Hideo Kojima. They've been best known for the main protagonist sneaking about the map hiding in a cardboard box. Metal Gear is now a bit of a stunner, easy on the eye, but certainly not easy to play. 

SEGAThen vs now Video games through the decades image 14

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) vs Sonic Forces (2017)

Sonic, the super-fast blue furball who absolutely loves collecting gold rings. Sonic has seen many different incarnations over the years. Both 2D and 3D outings, all glorious.

The new games certainly look a lot more visually interesting than the original that came out in 1991, but graphics aren't everything!

ActivisionThen vs now Video games through the decades image 15

Call of Duty (2003) vs Call of Duty WWII (2017)

Call of Duty might be one of the most well-known shooters worldwide. We have many hazy and wonderful memories from the original games all those years ago.

 The setting has changed a few times over the years, but going back to World War II with the aptly named Call of Duty WWII in 2017 certainly makes it easier to compare how much the game has changed. 

BlizzardThen vs now Video games through the decades image 16

Diablo (1996) vs Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer (2017)

Diablo kicked off a long and much-loved series of role-playing hack and slash fun back in 1996.

Since then it's gone on to be a "genre-defining" series of games that have got better and better as the years have passed. One thing is for sure, the dungeons are a heck of a lot prettier now. 

Electronic ArtsThen vs now Video games through the decades image 20

Need for Speed (1994) vs Need for Speed Payback (2017)

Awesome cars, fun-packed race tracks and city streets, high-octane thrills, Need for Speed always had it all.

Visual and sound upgrades that have come in the years that passed since the series first started have only made the games all the more exciting. Need for Speed has certainly always got our engines revving. 

IO Interactive/Pocket-lintThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 24

Hitman: Codename 47 (2000) vs Hitman 3 (2021)

The Hitman series might be the ultimate in escapism. Donning the guise of a professional hitman to take out dangerous targets around the world. We've found the Hitman games fascinating and enthralling from the very first time we played. There's a lot of satisfaction from completing a mission and having it look like you were never there.

The games have changed a lot over the years, with the addition of visual improvements, new contracts systems and brilliantly immersive crowd physics that make it all more immersive and intriguing.

Hitman 3 is the latest in a reboot to the series - a trio of games with an interesting story and plenty of places to explore as you carry out your contracts. It's visually glorious and utterly satisfying to play too.  

id Software/BethesdaThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 25

Wolfenstein 3D (1992) vs Wolfenstein Young Blood (2019)

Technically Wolfenstein originally started life as Castle Wolfenstein back in 1981. That 8-bit game kick-started a wealth of Nazi shooting, treasure looting, rooting tooting FPS games over the years (now decades).

The most memorable might well have been Wolfenstein 3D which was released in 1992 and, alongside Doom, might well have had the biggest impact on the future of FPS games. 

Years later, Wolfenstein is still about and now looks absolutely glorious thanks to modern graphics. The Nazis are a bit more bonkers than ever now, with futuristic guns, mechanical dogs and more, but the fun is still there for sure. 

UbisoftThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 26

Assassin's Creed (2007) vs Assassin's Creed Valhalla (2020)

Assassin's Creed has seen many iterations over the years and things have changed a lot from the days of Ezio, the master assassin. And yet, Assassin's Creed remains a firm and familiar favourite. The fighting mechanics, RPG elements and visuals have changed a lot since 2007, but the core has remained the same. 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla took the franchise into the Viking Era and was perfectly times for the launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles too.  Like a good assassination, timing is everything. 

CapcomThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 27

Resident Evil (1996) vs Resident Evil 7 (2017)

It's hard to believe that survival horror shooter Resident Evil started life back in 1996 for the PlayStation. The classic game bought an awesome mix of zombies, monsters and puzzles to gamers of the time and has continued to provide that entertainment many times over the last few years. 

In 2017 we had the much more visually pleasing Resident Evil 7 which we thought was not only scarily good but also further enhanced by PlayStation VR compatibility. Resident Evil Village is on the way too, proving it's hard to kill off a good zombie game. 

Square EnixThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 28

Deus Ex (2000) vs Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016)

When we originally heard Deus Ex was being rebooted we groaned and dismayed, assuming it would be impossible to bring the classic cyberpunk action RPG back to life in a satisfying way that did the original justice. 

But perhaps we were wearing our rose-tinted goggles when remembering what the original game was like.

Deus Ex was way ahead of its time and felt like a masterpiece, the newer Mankind Divided and Human Revolution not only had a lot to live up to but also had a lot of modern competition which would make it difficult to stand out against. Yet the difference in visuals and gameplay was remarkable. In just 16 years, Deus Ex had changed incredibly and was still a great game. 

Square EnixThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 29

Thief: The Dark Project (1998) vs Thief (2014)

Thief: The Dark Project was an undeniable masterpiece when it released back in 1998. Where many games at the time were all about violence and in-your-face action, the first game in the franchise was instead a slow-paced stealth game. A game that rewarded patience and a quiet foot. We utterly adored Thief in the same way we had Deus Ex. 

Years later, the series was rebooted as "Thief" and though the new game did a good job of being faithful to the original and the best elements of it, it was still met with a lukewarm reception. We certainly found the reboot enjoyable but nothing so special as to blow our socks off. That said, it definitely looked a heck of a lot better than the original. 

Electronic ArtsThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 30

Medal of Honor (1999) vs Medal of Honor Above and Beyond (2020)

Before Call of Duty took the world by storm, Medal of Honor was the World War II shooter that everyone loved. The first game launched on PlayStation and Medal of Honor Allied Assault also appeared on PC around the same time. These games kickstarted a love affair with World War II games that would carry on for years to come. 

Years later, Medal of Honor moved into the modern era, but failed to garner the same interest as Call of Duty when that franchise did the same. The studio closed and it looked like the end. Then, like Half-Life, Medal of Honor was reborn in VR with Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. A VR exclusive title that's very much styled like the original games and will fill you with nostalgia if you get a chance to play it. There's something amazing about playing this game in VR, though it's mostly been met with underwhelmed reception by the masses which is a shame. 

SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT / POLYPHONY DIGITALThen vs now Video games through the decades photo 32

Gran Turismo (1997) vs Gran Turismo 7 (2022)

If you love your racing games, then you know just how far the Gran Turismo series has come. The original game released way back in December 1997 and many years have passed since then but the franchise is still going strong and looking great. 

PC Gaming now has a dedicated hub page!
PC Gaming Week in association with Nvidia GeForce RTX may have come to an end, but you can still find all of that great content as well as all future PC gaming news, reviews, features and more on our dedicated hub page.

Writing by Adrian Willings.