I come today to talk about graphics.
I’m not here to ruffle feathers, I had enough of that after making my feelings towards retro gaming public knowledge, I simply want to try to understand the reason someone’s opinion on video games is often deemed less valid if they admit to having a taste for the sparkling when it comes to visuals?
In the rapid evolution of our video games I can happily admit to constantly craving the next chapter. The next innovative manoeuvre by the developers, the next all enveloping storyline, the next hardware leap, and of course, the next graphical advancement. I love to be spellbound by some visual beauty in my gaming, and in a perfect world it comes married to the sweetest of gameplay, not to the detriment of it.
But there appears to be a backlash every time we stride boldy into a new generation, where developers are often accused of being all style over substance.
Having aired my, widely derided, opinions on retro gaming and how a trip down memory lane can often be laced with disappointment, the response was interesting to say the least. Many offered reasoned arguments as to why I was wrong on this issue and I enjoyed hearing a differing viewpoint, it was, after all, what I had set out to achieve. But some jumped to conclusions that I found interesting.
Let me explain in the form of some comments that appeared in the wake of that article.
“The majority of games today are superficial and flashy with little substance.
“Sounds like a kid fixated on graphics.”
“Yeah, that article writer might be a pretty young gamer who cares mostly about the graphics.
In other words..the current average joe gamer bro. =/”
“Then again it makes sense why I see so many ignorant comments throughout the internet and why graphics have become the be-all/tell-all of judging games.”
“100% his opinion is based off graphics. It is the only thing that changes throughout the years. If you don’t play games for gameplay and/or story…why play games?”
Graphics, graphics and more graphics. The strange reasoning that if you would rather play in the now, then you must hold the visual experience above all else. And whilst that isn’t entirely true, I will always embrace fun and the experience first, I do hold my hands up and proudly state, I love great graphics!
Don’t come to me and try to tell me that the original Tomb Raider is an infinitely better experience than the latest two, because, as it was put, “it’s actually a Tomb Raider game.” What! The original Tomb Raider deserves praise as a ground breaking game, an enjoyable blast and a unit shifter for Sony’s Playstation, but it pales into insignificance when placed side by side with the revamped game as an experience, I couldn’t give a shit that the new take wasn’t unfolding permanently within a tomb! The new Tomb Raider plays like a dream, and importantly, looks like one too.
Based on the ‘tomb’ logic if they ever release a Super Mario game where he spends the day working as a plumber it’ll be the best we’ve ever played.
But I’m moving off point. I believe we as gamers should be embracing every graphical leap with both hands. As someone who played through every twist and turn since the Vic 20, I’ve longed for the day we can enjoy a graphical prowess that so closely mirrors real life. A game having stunning looks doesn’t automatically mean it has gone all style over substance on us. Gaming history is littered with wonderful examples of a perfect mesh between great looks and great gameplay, and it’s this I will consistently try to seek out. The graphics don’t make the game, that is true, but they can elevate it to incredible highs, and they can also make an average game more than the sum of its parts. If I’m struggling through a title with mediocrity splashed all over it, some tasty graphics can see me through, Ryse would be a case in point.
When it comes to graphics, for me, bigger is better. I want life on the screen to replicate life outside the screen, I want beautiful lighting, depth to features, stunning environments and everything else the modern age can throw at us. I’ll always endeavor to seek out the games that deliver a great experience first, but if they can do that with a graphical swagger as well then I’m a very happy gamer.
I urge us all to embrace what we have today. Graphics do matter. They are a core part of the foundations that support our games and we should relish every visual treat the developers place before us and hope for constantly pushed boundaries as we go forward.