Modern video gaming is some of the most (if not the most) visually appealing and graphically intensive activity you can do on a PC/Console.

Yet, Gaming Stack Exchange sports a theme that's out of an 8-bit handheld toy, complete with pixelated graphics and gaudy colors.

Do you think we deserve better?

  • 3
    Because "8-Bit" has replaced "Steampunk" as the Boing Boing-inspired hipster tech meme du jour. ;)
    – Brant
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 14:17
  • 3
    But our 8-bit graphics have an outer glow
    – Nick T
    Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 17:53
  • 1
    8-bit graphics on old-school CRT monitors DID have an outer glow!
    – Blorgbeard
    Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 14:36
  • More pixels != better
    – Adam Harte
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 22:00
  • [status-bydesign] - because at the time, the 8-bit theme was the intended look of the site. Note that we've since had a redesign, which updated our theming to be more reminiscent of early space-based games like Galaga, AND an SE engine update which further tweaked this design
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 0:41

5 Answers 5


Graphically, what do the following games have in common:

  • Scribblenauts
  • World of Warcraft
  • Gears of War
  • Grand Theft Auto

They're all modern franchises, but graphically they are very distinct from one another. There is no theme I could assemble that would remind you of all of them. What's more there is no theme I could extract from these games that would represent gaming.

The 8 bit PC area was probably before your time (by the time I was born the 8 Bit Atari was past its prime), but its legacy in graphics was seen in video games well into the 90s and 32 bit processors. As this was the period in which video games (and computing) was starting to become main stream; people associate these graphics with video game. No one looks at an 8 bit heart and thinks: Dating Website.

Even more important, 8 bit graphics screams Video Games to the people who play video games. When we're looking at branding and what that means for the site as a whole; we have to look at how to identify ourselves as a gaming site. What an identifiable graphical theme which screams video games to gamers? 8 bit.

Now Jin did a very good job with that theme, but if you have some specific suggestions (ie. I think the heart should be half full, because that would look more like health than love), that's useful feed back. Or if you have some other theme you really think screams gaming (pictures would help here), then that would be helpful. But to say that the look isn't modern is kind of a null op. So what? It needs to look like video games and it does that well.

On an unrelated note I really think a half full heart would look better

  • 6
    +1: "It needs to look like video games and it does that well."
    – C. Ross
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 14:49
  • You forgot Halo in your list.
    – VxJasonxV
    Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 16:56

I can answer in one word:


Gamers who've been around for a long time have fond memories of playing certain types of games when they were much younger. And often, it is not the newest flashiest game with the deepest plot that does what you need. It's the stupid side-scroller with no point that satisfies your deep dark urge to be entertained.

Another potential (entirely tongue in cheek) answer is that these people are all beholden to the GOP and hence resist any and all change or attempt to modernize


People were strongly in favor of the 8bit design. See the discussion here.

  • until minecraft...
    – RolandiXor
    Commented May 7, 2011 at 4:53
  • @Roland Taylor Huh?
    – C. Ross
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 19:07
  • Ross: Now the fact that it looks so much like Minecraft should make them wish it wasn't in this theme........
    – RolandiXor
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 21:02

While it is true some games have a high graphic quality, it is the 8-bit look that will always be recognized as related to gaming.

Also, this site does not only covers the latest PC games but also all consoles ever made, like the NES, with classics such as Super Mario Bros, and even Arcade Cabinets such Pac-Man.

It is this 8-bit look that will instantly be recognized as gaming.


Deserve better? What is there better than 8-Bit Graphics? Sorry, but those graphics have charme, while many 'modern' games only emphasize the uncanny valley.

I know, here is the old grampa who still remembers the time when SNES Mode7 Tricks were breathtaking and when the princess was in another castle, but for me these graphics capture everything that's good about gaming: Artistic Style, Attitude, Good Craftsmanship. It's by far the most beautiful and stunning theme of all StackExchange sites so far.

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