Ahhh the 80's what a great decade that was, mostly because i embraced the world with my presence lol but no apart from that further advances in technology pushed on quite nicely with the introduction of several new and more powerful computers that were becoming more affordable to the public and of course this opened up a huge market for the games industry.
But to be fair in the early days of this decade not much happened most of the games released were just copys of other games but around the mid 80's games did move on especially in my favourite genre of adventure. Up until the 80's all adventure games were limited to text until a female developer by the name of Roberta Williams concidered gamers satifaction and how empty it seems with just text so she included simple pictures to go with eatch scene in the game and from this was the start of point and click games which later Lucas Arts would dominate in.
but really the major advancements in this decade was the drive for better visuals and similar to air combat mentioned in the previous post. It featured vector based graphics which are cleverly programmed to give the illusion of 3d and a notable game for this was probably 3d monster maze which was the first 3d game to be released on a home computer with a full 3d environment although nothing special to look at, at the time it was a fantastic advancement for the gaming world as it was also one of the first to offer a first person perspective which would later inspire such games as Doom and Wolfenstein .
All this 3d nonsence didnt stop the 2d development either and arcade style games florished as the bits and memory on machines increased allowing more and more detail but this didnt majorly increase until the early to mid 90's when games such as Super mario came into the equation and the original monkey island which displayed more detailed characters that ever before and from personal experience the snes did this better than any other console at the time though the Atari ST handled the graphics reasonably well to.
Genres also increased as developers were given more power to explore new ideas and soon enough as mentioned earlier the 3d first person shooter engine was developed by John Carmack but really he just brought together ideas that had been in development for decades.. Taking the Multiplayer setup from Air Combat, creating a more sophisticated version of the engine used in 3d Monster Maze only with the new technology they were able to place textures on the walls for the first time and added 2d sprites but cleverly scaled and animated to make them seem 3d as well.
From this the first game to feature all of these was Doom and even more than that it also gave the players a feature that is used commonly today in games such as The Sims and Counter Strike : Source that is the famous WADS (Where's All The Data). The WADS gave users the ability to create thier own content for the game including maps and characters which extended the life of the game hugely.
This all led the way for the next big leap in the games industry and the biggest step towards todays games and graphics...So this big leap well it all happened in the late 90's with the new powerful machines for running games but more specifically for running 3d orientated games and thus although a 2d games were still released for the first time 3d games swamped the market with the likes of playstation dominated the market with landmark games one i remember for being quite spectacular was and still is to this day 'Final Fantasy 7'. It didnt feature spectaculor charactor graphics but the environments had so much to them it made up for rather square Cloud but it gave the world a proper taste of narative in game in a more movie style and led the way for epic games and immense cutscenes.
While playstation focused on a more serious way of gaming, Nintendo kept to there more family orientated games in exception for Conkers which was the most unfamily orientated game (thankyou rare :) ) but the N64 (although claiming to be 64 bit infact it was only 32) gave the world a few nice advances in games with the likes of Zelda who made a hugely impressive leap to 3d and looked superb and in all sound quality in games also became better as the capability to use more channels changed games from mono sounds to midi this also applied for playstation to.
Its amazing the transformation that games made during these two decades, graphics were the main change but games became more story orientated and game play became a major factor which it never had before really. Perhaps like i said above the most unapreciated advancement was the sound channels which in many ways gave games more depth and atmosphere.