On November 11, Rockstar Games released three of its classic games–Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)–as a single, slick package called Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.
The developers updated the lighting, fog, and effects. They added detail and personality to the characters’ faces. And they improved the weapons and movement controls, so that Claude, Tommy, and CJ can run, jump, and maneuver more smoothly. The cumulative effect of all this? The games end up playing the way you remember them playing, which is different from the way they actually played at the time.
It’s the power of nostalgia, combined with the unreliability of memory. We remember how we felt about past experiences, but we don’t always remember the details of those experiences. Our brains fill in the gaps for us. Technology and rendering has progressed dramatically in the last several years. What looked like a stunningly realistic face in 2001 looks like a mass of pixels when we revisit it with modern eyes.