Videogame optical illusions

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and prepare to be shocked and amazed by the world’s first and only haunted internet page that is also about videogames. The amazing images inside were created by the ghost that haunts this web site. This evil spectre has infused these images with paranormal properties to show its displeasure with the world of the living. If you are faint of heart or easily susceptible to vomiting, paranoia, or giddiness, read no further and navigate your web browser away from this page right now.

Still here? Then you must be interested in the optical illusions we’ve created using game sprites. Read on IF YOU DARE!

Note: the haunted gifs you're about to see are rather large and complex. To maximize your awe, give them time to load all the way so they'll play back smoothly. Consider popping open a new tab full of Radar to browse while the gifs load, or even downloading them to your hard drive with a right-click and a save-as.


Super Ponzio Brothers

Luigi is the taller Mario Bro, everyone knows that. The famous Ponzo Illusion, which you may have seen yourself at “haunted” places such as Santa Cruz’s Mystery Spot, causes Mario to grow without the assistance of a mushroom. And Luigi is now green because of envy, not for whatever reason he was green before.

The trick works because of the illusion of depth created by the perspective lines. Our brain reads the Bro on the right as “farther away,” which alters our perception of his size.


Whose Katamari is bigger?

Look at the Katamari in the center of each cluster. Which one looks bigger, the upper or lower one? Are you sure?


The Katamaris are actually the same size, but our feeble human brains are easily tricked by relativity. Would the King of All Cosmos be fooled? He’d probably crush you between his velvety purple ass cheeks for even suggesting it.


Motion binding

The Half-Life universe has a unique space-time continuum where things are never as they seem. Consider the moving image below, composed of briefcases and crowbars. The crowbars form a square that moves in a circular fashion, right? RIGHT?!?!? Now watch what happens when we remove the briefcases: G-MAN’S SECRETS REVEALED!

Yeah, not what we expected either.

Next page: More magnificent illusions!


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  • SandroTheMaster - June 8, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    That reminded me of a part in the Act II of Diablo 2 where you're in an arcane dimension where physics is screwed up. They used the perspective limitation of the 3/4 third person view to give the same impression of Escher's impossible watermill. It was a nice effect, too bad it was ruined by the mechanics since the trajectory of a fireball or other spell made it clear the "upper" parts were actually following the "lower" parts is the same geometrical plane, plus the support for the "upper" parts didn't connect perfectly graphically, so it looked odd nonethless. Still, a nice touch. I'm surprised games don't exploit the lack of perspective in them more. I mean, movies do it all the time for special effects and make short actors look taller, but there are very few games that use the perspective to impress the player. Max Payne did it during Max's dreams and drug-induced hallucinations, Psychonauts did it a bit and a few other examples, but they're pretty rare.
  • StickyLungs - June 6, 2010 10:57 p.m.

  • shyfonzie - June 5, 2010 1:18 a.m.

  • Spartan11794 - June 4, 2010 9:59 p.m.

    I gotta say, no offense, but these were badly made illusions, I read through most of them, wasn't really tricked
  • humpiedumpie - June 4, 2010 9:56 p.m.

    wow the crowbar one is awesome
  • Shinramen - June 4, 2010 4:53 p.m.

    From the headline I thought this would be about graphical tricks developers use to create depth of field and things like Mode 7. I was wrong. Not my cup of tea, but I'll give you this Gamesradar, you always have something new for me.
  • philipshaw - June 4, 2010 4:19 p.m.

    That was strange
  • Skidd777 - June 4, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    None of those fooled me.
  • GamesRadarJoeMcNeilly - June 4, 2010 2:19 p.m.

    @carolyn - it was so tempting! but thank you. i feel like a better person =) and yes, they are all 100% real, made by yours truly in AfterEffects. if the response is good enough, i may be persuaded to do a Part 2. there were many ideas i didn't have time for!
  • SwampRock - June 4, 2010 7:26 a.m.

    I like the stroboscopic illusion. It's all like "don't touch me there!"
  • nomnom52 - June 4, 2010 5:40 a.m.

    the guy doing the platinum vid is a total asshole. Also, this was amazing. Very well done. ReCaptcha: "hitting mediator" Oh, don't I wish!
  • RonaldRayGun - June 4, 2010 4:36 a.m.

  • NorwegianKingofRacists - June 4, 2010 4:16 a.m.

    yeah, no. learn2spacial awareness.
  • HawtKakez - June 4, 2010 2:48 a.m.

    Neat, but I swear the first and third illusion's are rigged. If not, my mind is blown.
  • WilyBoy - June 4, 2010 2:42 a.m.

    No mention of God of War 3's Escher style garden maze?
  • GoodGuyWithACrappyJob - June 4, 2010 1:44 a.m.

    Just another proof that reality only exists as illusions that our brains stick together to create the delusions we think are real. What is real?
  • Doctalen - June 4, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    None of them seemed that they worked for me, maybe it is the slow internet or just didn't work on me.

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

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