We like to think that looks don't matter and that what really counts is on the inside or, at least, deeper than the skin. But the truth of it is that your eyes are powerful decision-makers, and looks do have a major role in many aspects of life. Video games are certainly no exception to this rule. Just like you eat with your eyes first (think about that for a second), oftentimes when deciding whether to play a game or not, the first thing you process are the graphics. Whatever value graphical fidelity holds for you personally in the overall quality of a game, there is no doubt that gorgeous visual presentation can seriously move units. There's a reason that innovative indie games aren't used to advertise new systems over big-budget shooters. There is just something so fascinating about a game that advances visual technology in a way that we could have never imagined. At least, that's the case for each of these games. They are not only beautiful - for their time anyway - but each of them forever changed the way we looked at video games.
At a time when others were asking "How?" and "Why?"; Hang-On just went out and did it. In 1985, video game graphics didn't have the same culture they would later develop. A big reason for this is because the technology was still being poked and prodded to understand what it was capable of. Then Hang-On comes along and completely destroys the competition in terms of pure graphical prowess. Built off of Sega's "Super Scaler" technology (the company really loved their catchphrases) Hang-On was one of the first 16-bit arcade games. Impressively for a game that looked so much better than anything else, it also moved much faster and smoother than just about any arcade title as well. Hang-On set the first true graphical standard in video games, at a time when the industry didn't even know it needed such a thing.