These days, we take our video game graphics for granted. But the visual capabilities of even the most basic contemporary console game would have been almost unimaginable to the gamers of just a decade ago. Pong was hand-built by two guys with a soldering iron in a few months, and can display as many as two colors at once. Crysis 2 took a full team of programmers and artists four years to create, and its photorealistic graphic engine can render everything from ocean waves to light filtering through trees. How did the games industry get from the abstract green-and-black vistas of the 1970s to today’s technicolor tour-de-forces?