#10YearChallenge — Gaming’s Most Notable Glow-Ups Over the Past Decade

#10YearChallenge — Gaming’s Most Notable Glow-Ups Over the Past Decade

Take a gander at some of the most drastic visual changes that many gaming icons have gone through over the past 10 years.

If you’ve spent any time on social media over the past week or so, you’ve likely seen some of your own friends or family doing this whole #10YearChallenge thing. Basically, people have been putting up images of themselves from about 10 years ago and comparing it to how they look now. Some of the comparisons have been drastic whether it be through weight loss (or even gained), a change of hairstyles, or any other notable features that may have changed over time.

Of course, this got us here at DualShockers thinking about which video game characters have had the most drastic visual changes themselves over the past 10 years. Video games were in a very different spot 10 years ago, not only graphically speaking, but with what some of gaming’s most recognizable characters were doing. With that in mind, here are some of the most drastic aesthetic changes that many gaming icons have gone through over the past decade, for better or worse.



Nearly 10 years ago, Mario was just riding along on his dinosaur pal Yoshi through the galaxy, doing his usual thing collecting stars and whatnot. Little did we know that less than a decade later Mario would become a dinosaur himself. One with a mustache, no less.

Yes, Mario has perhaps had the most drastic change in his appearance of anyone on this list. Through his pal Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey, everyone’s favorite Italian plumber has been able to look like a frog, a pine tree, a Cheep Cheep, and so many more. Still, none of these come close to comparing to the ridiculousness of him becoming a T-rex. If this is what 10 years has done to Mario, I’m kind of scared to see where he’ll be at come 2030.




Remember when Link was a train conductor? Yeah, I kind of blocked that out of my mind, too. Everyone has an awkward phase at some point and Link’s just seemed to coincide with him getting himself a choo-choo.

Well, be careful who you make fun of in high school, folks, because Breath of the Wild has been kind to our boy Link. Not only did he ditch that smelly, old green tunic after twenty-something years of wearing it, but he also just kind of became hot altogether. I guess “beauty sleep” really is a thing after all because that 100-year nap Link took sure did him a lot of favors.


Sonic the Hedgehog


Sonic pal, are you okay? Ten years ago you had a sword which was, well, pretty weird, but now you look even worse. What’s wrong with your legs? Why are you so muscular now? Are you on drugs? If you need help, just please tell me.

Look, Sonic has had a rough millennium. Outside of his return to form in Sonic Mania, Sonic the Hedgehog has struggled to find his identity in the past 10 years more so than maybe ever before. All indications from his upcoming feature film point to him still being a bit lost, too. Let’s just hope Sonic can get out of 2019 intact and start the next decade strong.




It’s amazing what anger management can do for you. Kratos went from being some stick in the mud who was hellbent on killing his father and destroying his home nation to being a cool dad. Oh, and he grew a beard at some point in there as well.

While life continues to deal Kratos a rough hand, he’s at least learned how to grin and bear it over the past ten years rather than allowing his emotions to get the best of him. As they say, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown and it seems that this is one lesson Kratos has learned in the past few years.




While Sora wasn’t the star of 2010’s Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, it did give us a longer look at what the series’ protagonist looked like as a child before he ever became a Keyblade-wielder. Jump forward nearly ten years and one game engine later and Sora is arguably looking better than ever before in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III.

Even though I think there’s a certain level of charm in the old-school visuals from Kingdom Hearts, Sora’s new look is the next-gen one we’ve been waiting years for. Personally, I can’t wait to see more of him when Kingdom Hearts III releases at the end of this month.




It wasn’t even 10 years ago that Dante became gaming’s biggest edgelord in DmC: Devil May Cry. Much to the chagrin of many gamers, Dante was called out by many for his try-hard appearance and since then he’s come back to center just a bit while also getting rid of that horrid haircut.

In the upcoming Devil May Cry 5, Dante is sporting the more classic look that we’ve come to expect from him. That said, I can’t help but think Dante looks much more grizzled and rough than ever before in DMC 5. That emo phase must have taken a lot out of him.


Solid Snake


Solid Snake honestly looks pretty similar in 2019 compared to where he was at about 10 years ago, but there’s been one major change that I just can’t put my finger on. Did he get a new cardboard box? No, that’s not it. New headband? No, that can’t be it either. An eye patch? No wait, that’s Big Boss.

Whatever it is, Snake’s still looking pretty good for his age, though I can’t help but think he was a bit hotter back in the day. Maybe one day I’ll figure out what’s throwing me off here.




More than any other character on this list, Spider-Man is the one who has most benefitted from the age of 4K visuals. Not only did Spidey get some new duds, but you can now see every dang fiber woven into that White Spider suit.

Insomniac Games did a marvelous job of not only nailing the character of Spider-Man, but by giving him a variety of fantastic looks to choose from while swinging about New York City. If Spider-Man looks this great on a PS4 now, I can’t wait to see what he looks like when Insomniac’s inevitable sequel releases, likely on next-generation hardware.




Has Pikachu always had fur? I thought he was smooth? What the heck is up with this look in Detective Pikachu?

Look, a decade ago Pikachu still made sense. He used thunderbolts, he hung out with Ash, and he fought other Nintendo icons in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Now, he’s talking like Ryan Reynolds and doing other strange things like wearing luchador costumes. Pokemon has changed a lot over the past 10 years, but the franchise’s most recognizable critter has perhaps had the starkest change of all — and I’m not sure if I like it.




We here at DualShockers have had a glow-up of our own over the past decade. The site originally launched back in 2009 which means 2019 is now officially our 10th anniversary. Over that time, the site’s look frontpage, logo (the original one is so bad), and a slew of other visual qualities have changed.

The one thing that hasn’t wavered though is our commitment to you, our readers. More than ever before in 2019, we’re dedicated to bringing you up-to-the-minute news, reviews, and previews of this year’s hottest games, and we want to have some fun while doing so. If you’ve been a reader of ours at any point over the past 10 years, then thank you. We hope you’re with us for the long run as we take our first steps into what the next decade of DualShockers will bring.