March 16, 2015 11:17 AM EDT Mario didn’t just want to run to the right just because he had an insatiable curiosity about what existed on the far side of your vintage Nintendo Game Boy. He was programmed to run forever to the right because that’s the way gamers’ brains like it, a new study surfaced by Gizmodo suggests.
Dr. Peter Walker, a a psychologist at Lancaster University, inspected thousands of still and moving pictures in Google Images, finding evidence of a “rightward bias . . . for photographs of animate and inanimate items in motion,” but “no bias or a leftward bias” for the same items when they were stationary.
“This could indicate a fundamental left-to-right bias for visual motion,” the study says, helping to explain why Mario runs from left to right, not the other way around.
Now if science could only explain why Princess Peach was
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Sledgehammer Games/Activision Far Cry 4. This pulled back shot of fictional Himalayan region Kyrat is in-game, believe it or not, rendered with an overhauled version of the engine Ubisoft used to design Far Cry 3.
Ubisoft The Last of Us: Remastered. Naughty Dog's meditation on the worst (and best) of humanity is built on technology that reaches back through the studio's pulp-adventure Uncharted series.
The graphics are so impressive,
TIME recently assigned a conflict photographer to photograph inside the game. Ashley Gilbertson for TIME Alien: Isolation
Built from scratch, the Alien: Isolation engine's outstanding deep space visuals all but replicate the set design of Alien film concept artists H.R. Giger and Ron Cobb's work.
The Creative Assembly Assassin's Creed Unity. Ubisoft says it "basically remade the whole rendering engine" in its AnvilNext design tool to handle the studio's meticulous recreation of Paris during the French Revolution.
Ubisoft Child of Light
Inspired by filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki and artist Yoshitaka Amano, Child of Light's hand-drawn artwork puts the lie to presumptions that graphical richness depends on shader support or polygon counts.
Built from scratch by ex-Halo studio Bungie, Destiny's game engine was designed to scale across the next decade, says the studio.
Bungie Mario Kart 8
Nintendo's kart-racer for Wii U reminds us that raw horsepower is just a facet of crafting a beautiful game world.
Nintendo Infamous Second Son
Sucker Punch's freeform Seattle-based superhero adventure models all sorts of minutia, from the intricate wrinkling of an aged character's face to the way eyelids stick, slightly, before separating when characters blink.
Sucker Punch Productions Monument Valley
Escher-like at first glance, Ustwo's mind-bending puzzler was also inspired by posters, bonsai plants, arabic calligraphy and filmmaker Tarsem Singh's The Fall.
Ustwo Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar's remastered crime spree opus was crafted from an in-house engine first employed in a game that simulated table tennis.
Rockstar Titanfall Respawn Entertainment Forza Horizon 2
Turn 10's Euro-racer actually models light refracted through drops of moisture, the render tech plausibly simulating something as intangible but essential as the earth’s atmosphere.
Microsoft Studios/Turn 10 Studios 80 Days
Inkle's anti-colonialist vamp on Jules Verne's famous novel uses crisp art deco imagery inspired by travel posters to unfurl 80 Days' tale of intrepid globetrotters Monsieur Fogg and his valet Passepartout.
Inkle Tomb Raider
Crystal Dynamics' radical reboot of its popular series about an athletic archaeologist uses a modified version of the engine that powered Tomb Raider: Legend in 2006.
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