So I'm thinking of something along the lines of the idea of the "uncanny valley" in which technology reaches a point where it's very human/life-like but still "off" somehow, causing a revulsion or dislike of the object because of some sort of cognitive dissonance.
I think the word or idea I'm thinking of is in a similar vein, but I have yet to hear a word or phrase to summarize it and I'm wondering if such a word even exists (if not, maybe we should invent it!).
When I played Atari 2600 games as a kid, it took a bit of imagination to see a little pixel square as, alternatively, a knight in shining armor, or a lightcycle speeding around the game grid. Later games were more explicit in their details. I remember my first adrenaline-fueled, sweaty-palmed playthrough of Doom and how wowed I was by the graphics. The first time I played The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind I sat by the edge of a lake by the starting town and just watched the rain falling on the water, amazed by the view.
I tried replaying Morrowind (Xbox version) again just for nostalgia's sake and found myself getting woozy when going up the stairs of a tower. The graphics just haven't aged well. But how can that be? In just a few years, my mind has become so accustomed to modern graphics that some older games are hard to even make out. What was once so realistic is now a muddled mess that gives me motion sickness!
I'd love to learn more about this phenomenon, but I don't even know how to reference it without a long diatribe like the one preceding. Is there some turn of phrase that is used to describe this? I'd like to find if there's any research in this area but don't even know where to start in looking it up.