Evolution of the tree


Jet Set Willy, Sinclair Spectrum, 1985

Ah, the pointing finger of Willy’s housekeeper. Amazing what you can do with just a few pixels. In fact, thinking about it, it’s amazing character can even come across when you’ve just got these building blocks to work with. But would you pay for this now?

Mortal Kombat, Arcade, 1992

Digitized images put Mortal Kombat ahead of Street Fighter II in the graphics stakes at the time. Those hands look real because they are a real woman’s hands. It’s made up of photos, see? Nah, we’re not impressed either. Still, there are fingers and everything, so it’s a good day for game hands.

Soul Blade, PSone, 1996

3D hands are hard to do when you’re trying to keep the polygon count to a minimum. At least these fingers bend to grip things, although they’re just a block with lines on, not separately rendered digits. And weapon staffs seem to pass straight through them. This was a dark day for game hands.

NBA 2K6, PS2/Xbox, 2006

These make PSone’s hands look like cereal boxes. This tidy basketball title sees players with proper little bendy fingers, each one rendered perfectly. They still lack the textures needed to render convincing skin, but at least the proportions are right so fingers don’t look like Bratwurst.

Jericho, PC/360/PS3, 2007

A crap game, but what lovely hands. Whether it’s in gloves or simply naked like this, hands are one thing Jericho pulls off with aplomb. Possibly the only thing. Still, these subtly animated, fully articulated babies can do anything a real hand can. Such as take the game back for store credit.