If you pay attention in the right places online, you see a lot of "overcooked" images coming from people who clearly want to be making art, or at least attractive photographs. Overcooking takes many forms, from HDR and tonemapping, through oversharpening and excessive contrast, to violently applied presets in some terrible photo processing tool.
One of the common themes in the results is that the finished photos look a lot like video game renders. Not all of them, but quite often.
Does this help explain the popular appeal of these terrible images? I don't know, but it might. Perhaps, for gamers, this is an aesthetic they have already absorbed and it's only old farts like me who find it incomprehensible.