The evolution of water effects

Sonic The Hedgehog (1991 - Master System version)
Perhaps the best8-bit water effects came from Sonic's first outing on Sega Master System. A mesh of pixels (later adopted by the Saturn in place of proper transparancies - shudder) created an effect the Master System hardware shouldn't have been capable of. It was helped of course by the fuzzy cables of the time - no RF lead could display the tight checkerboard of pixels and so blended it through luck or design to create translucent water. Cartoony surface and waterfall animations continued the art style perfectly. And riding a bobbing log over the surface was the icing on the cake.

Above: The mesh of pixels (left) look like a transparant colour when blurred. Like an old RF lead

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.