From Retro to Modern: The Visual Evolution of Classic Online Casino Games

Written by Amy Milllar

Online casino games first appeared in mid-90s’ and nobody was that impressed. First of all, most games didn’t look impressive by today’s standards, but visuals weren’t their main selling point. At that time internet connection and web applications weren’t that big of a deal. It was only later when the internet became way more accessible that online casinos turned into a trend. 


Even during the early 2000s slots, blackjack and poker were drastically different. Nevertheless, those earlier games had their appeal, and many were thrilled that they could finally play from home. Here we will explore the evolution of online casino games and their visuals, and discuss why so many players still prefer the classic experience. 

Games at Online Casinos Today

Modern and successful gambling sites try to cater to all players. So they host both older or at games with retro visuals, and games with modern graphics. Still, you can enjoy retro Canadian casino games in full HD which is the best of both worlds, as polished graphics won’t harm the appeal. However, the websites are designed to look impressive and to embody the brand identity. 


Some of the best Canadian casinos that impress with visual effects can be found on Terra Casino. And according to these operators host hundreds if not thousands of games, and offer valuable bonuses.  The most popular casino games are slots, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s very difficult for a single slot title to stand out. So, let’s see what the most popular online slots have in common. 

Retro Slots Dominate in Online Casinos

Many players are still fond of early poker machines. Some of their memorable experiences happened while they were playing those older games. Also, many arcade companies that designed those early machines are now big brands, and people want to play those specific games.  


  • IGT
  • Aristocrat
  • Novomatic


Are internationally renowned brands and they have been developing casino games for decades. So, the most popular online slots try to mimic titles like Book of Ra, Buffalo Gold or Cleopatra. If you look at any slot library online you will see there are multiple games that try to capture these themes and aesthetics. Even new releases still focus on these 3 themes. 


However, slots that are gaining popularity among newcomers are brand-new IPs with 3D visuals. These new players aren’t exactly attached to those older slot machines and are looking for a more unique experience. They don’t care if the machine doesn’t have a classic 3-row, 5-reel layout. They love newer games, with different mechanics, like cascading symbols, and mini-game bonus rounds. 

Online Table Games Then and Now

Source: Unsplash

Unlike with slots, there isn’t much interest in preserving the old-school feeling of table games. This is because every feature that is added has improved the overall quality of blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and craps. If you look at blackjack graphics in online casino then and now, it would be weird to say you prefer the older version. The graphics were more pixilated, there was no background music, the cards aren’t as clearly visible as before, and there is no voice-over to help disabled players. 


In other words, it’s not only the visuals that have improved but the overall quality and accessibility of the game. Additionally, it would be a waste of money for casinos to host these outdated titles, because there is already a better and more authentic experience available through live dealer games. 


Live dealer blackjack for example allows multiple players to be present at the table it really mimics the land-based casino experience. It’s also a great way for beginner players to practice card counting and get better at blackjack. After all the number of professional gamblers today is a lot higher, so it’s a viable career path if you are good enough. 

How Did Visuals Improve So Fast? 

It may look baffling to think there is only a 10 to 20-year difference between modern and classic titles, and yet the visuals are drastically different. But, these new visuals aren’t exactly groundbreaking tech. The reason these polished titles weren’t available sooner was the limitations of servers and browsers. 


Once social media platforms started to boom and added games it was clear that graphics in casinos will improve as well. In fact, slots, blackjack, and poker are all available on social media for free, and a lot of companies that develop these apps are also owned by Aristocrat, IGT and their subsidiaries. 


Additionally, design tools or tech got better. Graphic designers can streamline their content creation thanks to the new software and gadgets. Older assets can also be reused and slightly modified. Therefore, mass-producing slots and other casino content isn’t as difficult as before. 


About the author

Amy Milllar

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