Evolution of the tree


Continental Circus, C64, 1989

In the third race of this arcade gem, you start off under a subdued sky. This quickly darkens, before a torrential downpour begins about a quarter of the way in. Check out the spray on those tires. Suddenly it was like real life and games were finally indistinguishable. Sort of.

Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, 1989

Home consoles were getting decent weather effects too. Ghouls ’n‘ Ghosts featured a full-blown storm at the end of the first level, complete with swaying trees and diagonal blue lines standing in for torrential rain. And pretty effective it looked too. He’ll catch his death sprinting around in his pants like that.

Formula One, PSone, 1996
The spray from the cars in Psygnosis’ racing gem was a mesh of pixels with a hint of transparency, leaving us with no doubt that PlayStation was the best console around. If you loved it like we did, do yourself a favor – never play it again. It’s aged terribly.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, PS2, 2001

We’ll always remember the first time we saw Snake running across New York’s Verazanno Bridge, his raincoat glistening with wetness. Aboard the tanker, the way the rain splashed against his shoulders, dribbled down window panes and even created droplets on the camera’s ‘lens’ was unbelievable, and still looks amazing to this day.

Grand Theft Auto IV, PS3/360, 2008

Liberty City looks its best during a storm. Neon lights go hazy, puddles form on the street and the sky erupts with flashes of stark, vivid lightning. Niko even shakes himself dry if you go indoors after standing outside.