Your project--nay, your magnum opus--has finally been completed. It's a perfect gem of a game, one you know will resonate with the masses, sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and inspire children to follow their dreams, collapsed economy be damned. But something's off. Something's missing... Aha! You've got it. All your game needs is a splash of bloom. But be careful, eager beaver--overuse of the effect can sour the experience.
Using bloom effects is a great way to translate the way we perceive lighting in the real world to the digital realm. It even makes characters and environmental textures seem more vibrant, imbuing otherwise dull visuals with a saintly, wondrous glow. But as the old adage goes, too much of a good thing will make you vomit repeatedly before going blind forever. Let the following images serve as a cautionary tale for what happens when bloom effects are abused. Warning: We recommend you equip some sunglasses before proceeding.
Okay, let's start off nice and easy. This shot of Fuse (which we recently reviewed) isn't so bad, seeing as snow gets really freakin' bright IRL. But we can't quite tell if the source of light in the upper left is the sun or an angel descending from the heavens.
You'd think it would be pretty hard to race a car at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour when the road glistens as brightly as Vin Diesel's oily muscles.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
You need not fear dark dungeons when your armor glows the the light of 10,000 suns.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)
Welcome to the brightest post-apocalyptic future you'll ever see, a magical land filled with neon green vegetation that blinds humans in hopes of eliminating mankind once and for all.
Bionicle Heroes (2006)
Only Lego robots can save us from the encroaching light of destruction.
Guild Wars 2 (2012)
Guild Wars 2 makes an excellent case for the busting up of organized labor--in this case, the tyrannical Lighting, Gaffer, and Bloomers Local 999.
Battlefield 3 (2011)
And you thought the flashlights were bad?
Dead Island (2011)
"I should've been the one to fill your dark office with liiiiiiiiiiiiight!"
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011)
Geralt of Rivia is highly trained in monster slaying and making his face disappear.
Halo 4 (2012)
Ah, light--the destroyer of high KDRs.
Hitman: Absolution (2012)
Who needs guns when you're a samurai with a lightsaber?
The reason your friends cried during this admittedly moving scene in Journey was because their eyeballs were assaulted by an overwhelming glow.
Alan Wake (2010)
Supernatural light source, or brightest flashlight of all time?
You knew this was coming, didn't you?
Welcome the darkness
If you can read this sentence after having looked at the previous images, then congrats. You've made it. What other games can you think of that use lighting effects in painfully creative ways? Do you think any of the ones in our list don't belong? Let us know in the comments below.
And if you're looking for more, check out the best uses of pop music in video games and our totally non geeky appreciation of typefaces in video games.