When Sony launched the PlayStation 3 gaming console in 2006, its graphics were muted; designers didn’t know how to handle the system’s complicated Cell processor. But now, after six years and four PS3 games’ worth of experience, development studio Naughty Dog has what promises to be a visual high point in the PS3 title The Last of Us.
In fact, the main lesson of the PS3’s existence might be that the evolution of graphics within a single console’s lifespan can be more impressive than the leap from one generation to the next. The PlayStation 4 is supposed to arrive at the end of this year, but developers won’t learn to harness its power for quite a while. Until that happens, here’s a look back at the PS3’s watershed visual moments.