Please Read The Editorial Then Post And Leave Your Vote - Thank You Kindly
When it comes to video games, the industry has made leaps and bounds when it comes to hardware capabilities, and software often ends up matching that. Games today are significantly more complex, especially when it comes to graphics. It's possible to render nearly lifelike games in high-definition on massive screens, and game developers and publishers have been trying to turn stunning visuals into cash for quite some time.
Unfortunately, the gaming industry's focus on graphics is misplaced. Graphics don't mean that much when it comes to how enjoyable a game is. Sure, bad graphics can detract from an otherwise enjoyable game, but not nearly as much as bad writing and gameplay can detract from bad graphics.
Let's hop in the Wayback Machine for a moment. Think about older eight-bit arcade style games, like "Pong", "Pac-Man" and "Super Mario Bros". These games were fun, even though they lack the same graphical advancement that we have today. Here's the interesting thing: they still hold up as fun games today. One of my friend's favorite iPhone games is a copy of "Pac-Man: Championship Edition". Even after 20 or 30 years from their original launch, these classic arcade titles still work as great games.
Of course, that's not to say that graphics are worthless. Some of my favorite games of the past several years, like "Portal", "Bioshock" and "Assassin's Creed 2″ are graphical marvels, and their beauty added to my enjoyment of the game. Getting to experience Rapture in high definition was stunning and added to my immersion in the world around me.
At the same time, graphical successes didn't necessarily equate to decent gameplay. The public reception of "Crysis 2" seems to bear all of those hallmarks: the game itself required the latest and greatest in hardware, and received massive amounts of hype for its graphics engine. The gameplay, however, didn't hold up to all the visual bells and whistles. Infinity Ward's "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3″ falls into the same category: the game itself was gorgeous, showing off the HD chops of a new generation of consoles, but suffered from bad controls, a bad story, mediocre voice acting and generally not-fun gameplay.
For comparison, consider "Minecraft": Marcus "Notch" Persson's brilliant open-world sandbox construction game. It is selling over the moon, with no real advertising budget, and wasn't even out of beta before moving a million copies. It's captivated the hearts and minds of many gamers and commentators alike. But its graphics look like something out of a SNES or Nintendo 64. It's a ridiculously fun game that many been captivated by for quite some time, and there many more just waiting to experience it as well, though they may not know it yet.
Minecraft is the perfect example of the importance of fun gameplay over good graphics. It's not that people are playing the game despite the outdated graphics engine, it's that they're playing it because it's just so much fun. The same thing goes for older games: they hold up over time because of their overall quality rather than how spiffy their graphics look. I'd rather make another run through the original "Half-Life" than suffer through some of the pretty but unplayable fare that gamemakers have put out in recent years.
Here's the problem with valuing graphics over gameplay: a realistic-looking game means nothing if the other important components of the game aren't in place. Gameplay and story are what developers should be focusing on. When it comes to making a meaningful work that will have a positive impact, it doesn't matter how realistic the graphics look. As someone who plays video games, I don't need a realistic-looking character. I would much rather have a character whose personality and behaviors are realistic than just look at a pretty face.
Let's face it: good graphics are enjoyable fluff. They can add to immersion and make the visual spectacle of a game more enjoyable. The only thing they can't do is make a game fun; a game that is realistic in its portrayal of reality isn't quite what gaming was when it began. That's where good writing and gameplay come in. So now it comes down to the people who make them to decide what they want to do: are they content with making games that look pretty but don't have much to them, or are they going to actually try to push this medium forward?
Credit goes to: Yaman1999, Archimedies123, Defiler Da' Man, Sentral Intel and Zen Kiazoku (Me)
Here's the link to a video basically summing up this entire piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg9vQne6K9
The name of the YouTube user is Archimedies123 and in this video he tries to explain why he believes that graphics don't matter anymore and probably never will again.
This is the latest entry of my WYP? (What's Your Position?) series of forum posts. Brought to you fresh and piping hot from another online forum. Should you choose to participate, please attach one of the following to your post. Also please choose only ONE (1) that BEST describes your feelings on the subject matter. Only one vote per account.
VOTE: Eye candy? Moar. Please!
VOTE: I'd prefer a boost in storytelling.
VOTE: Give me more complex AI.
VOTE: General game-play improvements are fine by me.
VOTE: Game visuals are right where they need to be.
VOTE: I prefer old school visuals. Retro if you will.
VOTE: When they get to CGI movie quality, I'll be satisfied.
VOTE: Give me more game-play (control) options, that's enough to mix it up.
VOTE: A balanced game is the game for me, AI/visuals,writing,control in perfect harmony.
VOTE: When I look outside then look at my games, I shouldn't be able to tell the difference.