16-bits, a better performance of the midframe, registering rights or raster effects.

With the introduction of 16-bit consoles, water is a flagship for the technical advancements. These consoles were able to make a better performance of the midframe, registering rights or raster effects. They were able to display bodies of water differently than the surface without requiring bespoke tiles. This capability forefront saved memory.

The most popular 16-bit consoles were Super Nintendo (SNES) and Sega Megadrive. The former introduced the console with Donkey Kong Country, a video game that exploited the expanded color palette offered by the console. Color Math, commonly referred to as transparency, allowed developers to utilize foreground layers, specifically for water.

Donkey Kong Country contained whole levels under water, using in full capacity the hardware, allowing the foreground to use the scanline effect that gives the player the illusion of ripples while lines scrolling through the background plane allow for the increased depth. The ability to change to a more extensive color palette conveyed to the player the presence of water.

Sega Megadrive, on the other hand, revealed its new character Sonic, who would be Sega’s primary representative. Sonic the Hedgehog is a fast game that features all kinds of water bodies in its environment. Water cascades and ripples in the background reminded us of previous 8-bit games such as Vice: Project Doom, at a faster pace.

A developer that deserves a closer look in the 16-bit video games is Konami. Konami combines the technical capabilities of the new consoles with extraordinary artistry. The developers introduced an astounding mirroring effect that gives the illusion of reflection along with a change to the color palette. Games from Konami featuring a variety of these techniques are Sparkster for Super Nintendo, Prequel Rocket Knight Adventures for Sega Megadrive, and Castlevania bloodlines.