Best looking EGA games?

lazygecko

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EGA was what PC gamers had to contend with before 256+ color VGA and SVGA modes were standardized. EGA supported 16 simultaneous colors from a pitifully small palette size (I think significantly smaller than NES), thus EGA graphics generally suffer from this uniform and really garish look.

I think LucasArts eventually got really proficient at working within those color limitations in their SCUMM games. 2 screenshots from Monkey Island and Loom respectively running in EGA





Sierra also seemed to get pretty comfortable with achieving their artistic vision in their games, however they still went full on blasting you with all colors of the spectrum while LucasArts aimed for a more muted and focused look in their environments.
 

Sciz

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I'll always love the EGA aesthetic. Masters of the palette could make those sixteen colors sing.











 

Sciz

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What's the name of the third game? It gives me tons of memories
Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure. It came in fairly late for EGA as an early 1992 game, but I'm not aware of anything else that used the format and still pulled off parallax scrolling (at the cost of smooth scrolling, admittedly).
 

epmode

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isnt there a part in Space Quest IV where you travel back in time and remove a fuse and it goes from VGA -> EGA?
I remember that but I think it's from Space Quest 5. And I'm pretty sure you go back to an EGA version of Space Quest 1 in Space Quest 4. Oh, and the Monochrome Boys were somewhere! I miss Sierra.
 

BTails

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I remember that but I think it's from Space Quest 5. And I'm pretty sure you go back to an EGA version of Space Quest 1 in Space Quest 4. Oh, and the Monochrome Boys were somewhere! I miss Sierra.
Yup, the VGA to EGA fuse was in Space Quest 5, and the time-travel back to previous games was in Space Quest 4, both excellent games.

I grew up playing adventure games on PC, so there's a TON of nostalgia for me in EGA graphics. My favourites were always Sierra games, and they always had extremely striking use of colour in the EGA days:


Quest for Glory II - Trial by Fire


The Colonel's Bequest - A Laura Bow Mystery

Funny enough, when Sierra went to VGA graphics, their first few games actually had stand-alone EGA releases as well, though they were conversions of the VGA graphics and were therefore pretty garish:


King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder (EGA version)

Bonus shot: Time Quest by Legend entertainment. They always seemed to straddle the line between EGA and VGA - I think they had more colours, but used the same dithering effect.
 

Ecto311

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Damn I remember not even playing games because they looked like this. Was a big difference to VGA. I remember some games (commander keen?) forcing EGA on me when I had the computer to do VGA easily.
 

Sciz

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Bonus shot: Time Quest by Legend entertainment. They always seemed to straddle the line between EGA and VGA - I think they had more colours, but used the same dithering effect.
EGA actually supports the use of 16 simultaneous arbitrary colors out of a larger 64-color palette, but you could only use colors from the extended palette in the high res mode. Looks like one of the few games to take advantage of it.
 

BlackLagoon

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Wasn't there a CGA too or am I imagining things?

/could have googled
Well, yes, before EGA came CGA and the glory of Black, White, Cyan, and Magenta. Of course, a lot of PCs at the time also had just plain green or amber monochrome displays.
 

The Goat

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I was blown away by this. Also, old Sierra games were pretty good.

*might be VGA. Says VGA palette on wikipedia...

 

Sciz

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Wolf 3D started life as an EGA game, and got bumped to VGA mid-development. They didn't recolor particularly much of it, however. You can see the same thing happening in Duke Nukem 2.

Probably because we are so used to seeing very repetitive tiled backgrounds in games with that color amount.
The tilesets for the latter Keen games are huge, and only about a quarter of the space is used for the common floors and walls. Everything else is taken up by Adrian Carmack's colossal backgrounds and set pieces and map tiles. Incredible stuff.
 

ugh_the_boot

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Lol this was a sad part of my gaming life....whenever a game only supoprted CGA/EGA I would dream of VGA colours.
 

Shaneus

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Fuck yeah, EGA! On my Amstrad PC1640 with ECD (640x350 "hi-res"):


Best looking games I can think of... umm... I can think of games that looked great, but finding screenshots is a completely different matter. I'll roll some names off and see if I can find them later (or attack them with DOSBox and get some screenshots):
Mean Streets/Crime Wave (by Access Software)
Deathtrack (Activision)
A lot of the early Sierra SCI stuff looked great. KQ4, SQ2 and 3, PQ2 I all have fond memories of.
Same goes with the same era of LucasArts/Lucasfilm Games titles. Loom I recall was incredible for the time (and hardware)


Stumbled across these:
King's Quest 5:


As posted before Commander Keen 4:



We should also have a thread (given it's a similar era) for the best music of the time. I particularly loved the music in The Cycles and Jones in the Fast Lane.
 

ugh_the_boot

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I forget which one it was but Commander Keen Dreams or Meets the Meats was the first to have VGA support and was my most played game for a while because of this. Kings Quest was actually pretty good in EGA however.
 

Phediuk

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Pretty tough to beat Sierra in this department. Always top-notch presentation in all of their games, and they were also one of the first devs to switch over to VGA.
 

bwahhhhh

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I'm on mobile, so it's tough to post pics, but EGA version of Loom could look quite striking, dark, and moody.
 

Sciz

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I forget which one it was but Commander Keen Dreams or Meets the Meats was the first to have VGA support and was my most played game for a while because of this. Kings Quest was actually pretty good in EGA however.
The latter Keen games were supposed to have VGA versions, but they never materialized.

(and Meets the Meats isn't even a thing)
 

KDR_11k

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Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure. It came in fairly late for EGA as an early 1992 game, but I'm not aware of anything else that used the format and still pulled off parallax scrolling (at the cost of smooth scrolling, admittedly).
I was looking for that game for a while just for nostalgia reasons, GOG didn't have it. Then the 3D Realms pack came along, that includes it.
 

jimi_dini

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Sierra actually totally nailed EGA.

Their background pictures were not actually 16 colors only. Their background pictures contained way more than 16 colors. In fact almost 256 colors. They just ran a dithering pass on them.



upper one is the dithered background picture
lower one is the same background picture just w/o the dithering pass
 

ProtomanNeo

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Definitely getting feels from this thread! That being said the trinity of EGA awesomeness for me is

Space Quest 3



King's Quest 4


Quest For Glory 2
 

Noogy

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I'd need to seriously sit down to nail down a favorite, but my goodness I loved the look of EGA back in the day.

Edit: Yeah, it'd have to be LOOM for me. Tempted to start it up again.
 

Jerry Orbach

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On CGA though, pink!
I used to think the reason early CGA games made such poor use of the meagre four colours available to them was because they were all designed by artless nerds with thick, coke-bottle glasses. While that may be true, it's still only half the story.

Since most PCs at the time were connected to television sets instead of RGB monitors, clever developers would take advantage of imperfections in the TV-out to mix colours directly on the display device. Dithered black and magenta, for example, could be smeared into either solid red or solid blue, with which one you got coming down to the specific dithering pattern used.

Here's the title screen from Ultima II, courtesy of Wikipedia's article on artifact colours:



Left: RGB. Right: composite. My mind: fucking blown.
 

Asparagus

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I used to think the reason early CGA games made such poor use of the meagre four colours available to them was because they were all designed by artless nerds with thick, coke-bottle glasses. While that may be true, it's still only half the story.

Since most PCs at the time were connected to television sets instead of RGB monitors, clever developers would take advantage of imperfections in the TV-out to mix colours directly on the display device. Dithered black and magenta, for example, could be smeared into either solid red or solid blue, with which one you got coming down to the specific dithering pattern used.

Here's the title screen from Ultima II, courtesy of Wikipedia's article on artifact colours:



Left: RGB. Right: composite. My mind: fucking blown.
This is extremely impressive. I knew devs would use the limitations of composite to their advantage but I've never seen such a stark difference.
 

Sciz

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Sierra loved that trick in their early days. Mobygames has some great comparison shots for King's Quest and more examples for KQ2.

And then there's this wizardry, using the high res 640x200 monochrome mode:


 

Shaneus

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Most PCs were connected to TVs back then? I don't remember seeing any IBM PCs in my time connected to TVs at all. Plenty of IIe machines, but not one IBM-compatible connected to a TV.

I'm mighty impressed with that composite CGA stuff though. I remember trying to run some games in composite CGA on my EGA monitor and seeing it look like arse and illegible. Didn't realise that's what titles wound up looking like!
 

Creaking

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Wolf 3D started life as an EGA game, and got bumped to VGA mid-development. They didn't recolor particularly much of it, however. You can see the same thing happening in Duke Nukem 2.
Ahah... that would explain the garish colors, and why the mutant enemies have white skin (not that there was anything wrong with that exactly, it just seemed unusual).
 

tengiants

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Sierra actually totally nailed EGA.

Their background pictures were not actually 16 colors only. Their background pictures contained way more than 16 colors. In fact almost 256 colors. They just ran a dithering pass on them.



upper one is the dithered background picture
lower one is the same background picture just w/o the dithering pass
That's pretty cool. I like this thread.
 

Jerry Orbach

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Most PCs were connected to TVs back then? I don't remember seeing any IBM PCs in my time connected to TVs at all. Plenty of IIe machines, but not one IBM-compatible connected to a TV.
Me neither! I just figured it was because I didn't grow up in the states, where apparently IBM didn't even offer a colour monitor until '83, the year after Ultima II came out.

(I had a Commodore 64, like all good-hearted people.)