I interpret such opinions as preferences of visual style, rather than graphical fidelity related to technologies. Lot of confusion is created by mixing those two,
Indeed, and it seems to me 2000-2002 games became more "brownish", while 1998-2000 games were more colorful. Compare Medal of Honor: Allied Assault to Quake II, and you know what I mean. And perhaps the most obvious example is Serious Sam: The First Encounter, where everything is brown, brown, and brown.
I'm not sure how it's related to the demise of 3dfx, though. I think the 1998-2000 period was the era of colored lightning, which was promoted by the likes of Quake II and Unreal. So because it was a new technology at that time, game visual designers probably tended to be excessive in coloring their games. Quake II is probably the worst example; everything is vividly colored that it's almost like acid trip. It was probably like when Dolby Surround came for the first time around: movies which were launched during that era tend to have exaggerated surround sound effects to showcase the technology. Same goes with stereo.
In the 2000-2002 period, however, World War II games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty became very popular, and to fit the World War II theme, everything was colored accordingly, namely brown, dull brown, greyish brown, washed out green, and what-have-you. So I think it's driven by trends instead of the demise of 3dfx.
I notice such trends only happened with first-person shooters though. Freedom Force and Dark Planet: Battle of Natrolis both came in 2002, and both are beautifully colored --no less beautiful than typical 1998 games where 3dfx was king. Dungeon Siege and Command & Conquer: Generals were healthily colored as well.
Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.