As a result, those first games included gems such as Pong, Pac Man (while fun and a classic, let's face it: it was a yellow circle that moved around circles "eating" dots); and asteroids (stick figure space ship shots at stick figure rocks).
The next generation of games bought to improve the visual appeal somehow. And so we received the slightly better games like Donkey Kong, Galaxian and Frogger. While these were definitely primitive by today's standards, they did at least have some more color and in some cases, a "cuteness" factor.
It was in the late 1980s that two things impacted the graphic look of computer games. First was the dawn of graphical adventure games. As classics like Space Quest, Police Quest, and George Lucas' Monkey Island became hits, there was a market for games that were not only fun, but which were pleasing to look at. Here were games that, at least for their time, were genuinely beautiful in their look.
The second thing that affected computer games' graphic look was the appearance of the first Nintendo Entertainment System. This show the world that electronic games could and should not only have fun game-play, but be fun to look at as well. Almost immediately, computer game designers began modeling their games to reflect the Nintendo style and philosophy. From that point on, almost monthly, some computer game was released that surpassed the graphic look of anything that had come before it.
One game in particular floored fans and critics alike for its beautiful design: MYST. The game was gorgeous, in addition to being mysterious and captivating. Around the same time, the first DOOM game was released. This was the first 3D-shooter that was really beautiful to look at. It inspired the look of 3D games for years afterward, and in fact, its impact is still felt on the 3D genre.
The late 1990s and early 2000s brought new generations of all the major gaming consoles. We now have PlayStation III, XBox 360, the Nintendo Wii. With these, the visual look has approached photo-realism. With some games, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between a computer generated person and a live person. This is important for the continued evolution of the industry, as the next big thing will be virtual reality. And true virtual reality can only come to pass as the graphic looks become more and more realistic looking.
And so, the beauty of computer games will, more and more, reflect the beauty of real life.