There was a time when calling a video game photorealistic was just about the greatest praise you could offer. Times have changed, of course. Sure, some games today look more convincing than others, but with modern hardware flailing hundreds of millions of polygons at your face, all shiny and ray-traced, the bar for what constitutes realism is decidedly higher than it was just a decade ago.
That brings us to this visual exercise. Some beloved racing games certainly featured surprisingly detailed and accurate car models in spite of the harsh limitations of mid-’90s gaming hardware. This is the charming, low-poly aesthetic we remember fondly, the era indie developers revisit today with the most vivid of rose-tinted glasses.
What’s less fondly remembered are the times games got cars horribly, horribly wrong. Here are a few of the medium’s most glaring examples.