It’s amazing how far games have evolved, not just in terms of graphics, but also in terms of the physics simulation, artificial intelligence, storyline, as well as gamer’s immersibility and varied gameplay mechanics. When it comes to judging games, the best we can do is shortlist a few, and let personal preferences crown the best. With so many games within so many genres, it is equally valid for one person to say Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series as the best games ever, and another to say the title goes to The Sims series.

However, as far as graphics is concerned, there can be only one clear winner: Crysis Warhead. Released in 2008 using the same game engine as the original Crysis, it is still to date the best-looking game. Having said that, it is still nowhere near real-life looking. While the movie industry has already achieved seamless artificial world simulation, as shown by James Cameron’s Avatar, the gaming industry still has a long way to go.

I believe the limitation is due to the hardware capabilities of the consumers – our home computers are simply not powerful enough, yet. Movies like Avatar, though much of the world is simulated, are preproduced. The production company took care of all the processing power needed to render the amazingly life-like world. We just play back the movie, frame by frame, where every single frame is fixed, that the movie become nothing more than just a series of still pictures being displayed one after another, at a rate of about 25 pictures per second. This is nothing for our average computer. Whereas in games, it’s an entirely different story. Because the very nature of gaming is to allow the gamer control of the character, there’s no way to preproduce all the still pictures. Every time you move your mouse and changes the view, your computer will have to process and render what to display – including all the physics, the lightings, the shadows, the details, the colours, the shapes, the highlights, the brightness and contrasts – on the fly, in at most one twentieth of a second’s time to maintain a playable frame rate. This requires tremendous amount of processing power, so little wonder then that geek next door spent so much on his PC.

And little wonder then that when somebody has a computer powerful enough to play a game as demanding and beautiful as Crysis Warhead at the highest possible settings, he’ll be tempted to put it up on his blog :D. Well, that’s not the only reason I’m putting up these two videos up here, but also to show you where we are right now in terms of gaming graphics.

Note that the videos may take a while to load, depending on your connection speed. I had to increase the video quality a bit to show how beautiful the graphics are, but even then it’s far from doing justice to how it really looks. The original videos are 1.09GB and 2.66GB for a mere 2m 36s and 5m 12s respectively.

Notice: The second video contains swear words. Don’t let your little brother and sister watch it.