From 1995 - 2008: 5 Games With Innovative Design Aesthetic

July 6, 2019
From 1995 - 2008: 5 Games With Innovative Design Aesthetic

These are just a few of the games that had a huge impression on me from an artistic point of few. Which games did you play throughout your lifetime? Which games had an art style that really moved you..? Here are a few of my top picks.


Mirror’s Edge (2008)

Game Type: a minimalist, 1st person, 3D, parkour platformer

The first time I played Mirror’s Edge I was totally blown away. Of course, the controls were dynamic, innovative, and practically seem-less. What I was most impressed with was its design choices and aesthetic.

A game that exemplified minimalism, boasting a mostly white and clean level design while outlining stages in simple, bold colors was just something I hadn’t really seen in games before. It was a game that seemed to be, because of its first-person camera mode, very much about putting you in the hyper sharpened, perfect world; a world where things were pure and pristine, and as you travel throughout the story mode you unveil the corruption that is beneath the sterile city. Atmospheric, ambient cityscapes make Mirrors Edge one of the most beautiful games ever made. Go play it.


Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest (1995)


Game Type: a classic 2D, underwater dreamscape

Donkey Kong Country 2’s appeal is really indescribable. It’s so unique. It just works. I get flashbacks of pirate ships and aquatic escapes. The art style at the time was very similar to clay animation, very childlike in a way but at the same time it seemed mature, it wasn’t particularly bright and colorful like, say Super Mario World was. When you played DKC2, it was like you were on a ship and you drifted out to the edge of the ocean, the edge of the earth, and this whole new world was just off the cliff. It was just slightly off-putting, just enough to gain your commitment. It fed the desire to want to go deeper into each world… as though you were lost in it… an incredible display of such a unique imagination. Love this one.


Tekken Tag Tournament (1999)


Game Type: atmospheric, nostalgic, futuristic fighting game perfection

I think that TEKKEN Tag is not only my favorite game ever, but it just might be one of the most dramatic games ever to be released.

It’s just epic. Slow motion cinematic close-ups, dramatic acid jazz ballads, vaporwave styled in-game HUDs, and a huge emphasis, and celebration on the diversity that is the TEKKEN roster. Even the game disc was one of the few and first PS2 games to have the blue backing, the box art for the game was incredible and unlike any artwork at the time. The game seemed to theme itself as an electrifying, but a fading memory, and holds dear as the best Tekken game by many fans. Amazing gameplay, amazing mood.


Killer Instinct (1995)

Game Type: a fighting game that reflects abandoned industry and isolation (with a soundtrack that conjures Peter Gabriel’s legendary 1982 Album “Security”)

Killer Instinct for SNES… Wow, when I think about this game, I can’t help but think about how moody, epic, and deep this intro is. The game was just cold-blooded, serious, dark, and had a futuristic edge. Playing this fighting game on the vacant stages that seemed to be corners of abandoned cities was not only eerie but also profoundly beautiful. But what made this game shine the most was its industrial rock soundtrack (which got its own soundtrack release known as Killer Cuts, how cool is that?) You can take one look at this game and see how much of a beast it is. It’s deadly, it’s cold, it’s Killer Instinct.


Braid (2008)


Game Type: a 2D platformer about time travel. It’s basically like playing A Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was released just 4 months after Braid.

Braid is one of those games that doesn’t have a lot of bonus materials, it’s just the story mode. It’s a platform that has a pretty straight forward objective. Collect all the items in the levels by manipulating and obeying the fluctuating rules of time, but the amazing thing about this game is that it’s so beautiful that after a while you will want to play it again, and again. The game is literally a painting. It's gorgeous, it's folk, it's romantic, it's just a beautiful break from any other games you tend to play. If you want to take a beautiful video game-cation, Braid may be the game for you.