Gaming’s Greatest… glow-ups

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Lara Croft
Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Classic Lara

As gaming technology gets more advanced, the way our favourite video game heroes are portrayed changes as well. Characters who were once no more than a jumble of cubic polygons are so detailed that they are, at times, difficult to distinguish from real people.

One way to benchmark how gaming technology has progressed is to look at how some of gaming’s most iconic characters have grown in what we can only describe as ‘gaming glow-ups’. So let’s do that, shall we?


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Lara Croft – Tomb Raider series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Lara Croft

Lara is perhaps the most obvious example of a gaming glow-up, undergoing numerous redesigns over the years. The starkest contrast has to come when comparing the original model from the 1996 PlayStation title, to the reboot trilogy that continues into the current generation.

Cloud Strife – Final Fantasy VII

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Cloud Strife

Given how many times Cloud has appeared in Final Fantasy spin-off games, it’s easy to forget that he was once an ultra-deformed PS1 sprite, who didn’t even have visible hands!

Crash Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Crash Bandicoot

Naughty Dog’s unique and expressive character design for Crash means that the original version of the cheeky marsupial actually aged pretty gracefully. Despite that, it’s hard to deny just how much better Crash looks, rendered in 4K for the current-gen remakes.

Mario – Super Mario Bros. series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Mario

Perhaps gaming’s most iconic mascot, Mario, has had a number of distinct evolutions over the years, each one embodying a different era of Nintendo consoles.

Spyro – Spyro series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Spyro

We can’t pay homage to gaming mascots and not also give a nod to Spyro. The purple dragon’s new look is on a whole new level of detail but still retains his recognisably cartoony style.

Leon S. Kennedy – Resident Evil series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - Leon

Leon got a much more realistic look in the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2, but thankfully, he still retains his trademark floppy hair-do.

B.J. Blazkowicz – Wolfenstein series

Gaming's Greatest Glow-ups - BJ

B.J. Blazkowicz went from being a grisled meathead to, well, a grizzled meathead.. but in glorious HD!

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