Sunday, June 29, 2014

How much do you care about photorealism?

Developers are saying, "our game is going to look as real as real life", and gamers argue over which system is the most powerful and has the better graphics (which, based on numbers alone, is obviously the PC, though it has other disadvantages). Meanwhile, I can't find myself giving a crap, partly because I grew up on 8-bit games, partly because I can't see shit. Seriously, put a Wii U game next to your recent PC game of choice, and I'm honestly going to be hard-pressed to see anything. I find the difference between this generation and the last to be much smaller than it's ever been, which gives logical sense to consoles lasting longer and longer as time goes by, as well as transitional releases (for example a game coming out on both PS3 and PS4) becoming commonplace early in each generation. Back in the day you didn't see games come out on both SNES and N64, it was one or the other. (Cue list of exceptions I'd never heard anything about.)

But my point is, graphics are so good nowadays that even what some people call unplayable (GTA4 is especially guilty of this) wouldn't make me care in the slightest. Some who are particularly dedicated to photorealistic gamers, usually the anti-Nintendo crowd, like to make the strawman argument that graphics are more important than gameplay because, well, would you like to play a game with wireframes? I can make this argument go both ways, though. Would you rather play Super Mario 64 with wireframes, or Desert Bus with next-gen graphics? If you can pull the "no graphics" card, I'm allowed to pull the "no gameplay" card. And you know what the best part is? Since I can't really see the difference between each system, I'm far more wowed by games that feature great artistic design, something Nintendo is particularly good at - so yes, in my opinion Nintendo tends to produce the games with the best graphics, despite the Wii U's anemic horsepower.

Which side are you on? Are you like me, or do you really care about having life-like experiences in games?

20 comments:

  1. Ōkami is one of my favorite series of all time. I think the games look beautiful and play well. Some may think that they don't because there's a bit of cel shading, which I'm fine with. I'm more a fan of gameplay, like you...

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  2. I'm with you. Art direction and style are far more important than raw graphical power, and Nintendo is the king of art style, at least in terms of variety and quality. I can point to a number of Gamecube games that looks just as good as some of the photorealistic games coming out today (anything before 6th gen consoles is questionable, because 5th gen was experimenting with 3D and a lot of the games aged poorly because of it, and anything before 5th gen isn't really comparable because 3D is dominant now). Hell, even Luigi's Mansion looks fantastic, and that was a launch title for the Gamecube. All of the animations are smooth and express a great deal of life, and animation quality is another thing that's overlooked nowadays.

    Meanwhile, games that were at the cutting edge of graphical power just 6-8 years ago look awful now, and stuff like Wind Waker is blowing them away with how well they aged in comparison.

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  3. I agree with you. I don't care much for a game looking realistic. I prefer games that are fun to play. I only really care about graphics when the games visual style makes me cringe to the point where it's painful to look at. I can't think of any examples of this off the top of my head though

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  4. I can't wait until we reach the peak of graphical prowess and all the game companies that make photorealistic games can show everyone their uncanny valley simulators.

    Yeah, I like stylization. I grew up with Sega and Nintendo and the colorful worlds of Sonic and Mario and whatnot. I don't know about everyone else, but I feel like if the world is too close to real life, then I feel that it's trying to be mundane. And I don't play video games to be bored by reality.

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  5. They're games,so playing my game seems more important than what it looks like.Why do you think board games are still around?

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  6. I'm with you on this one, these arguements were really prevelant back at High School.

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  7. I was gonna make some joke about games not being realistic unless fish swim away from you but instead I've decided to propose an HD ultra-realistic remake of Desert Bus. As for the graphics thing, I don't mind photorealism but Wii U type graphics are best for me. Though I find really crappy looking graphics by today's standards from the N64 to have sort of a so bad it's good charm to them in a way.

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  8. Quite obviously, a pretty game without gameplay isn't superior to an "ugly" game with gameplay. That's not to say, though, that an ugly game with gameplay is as good as a pretty game with gameplay. Basically, graphics matter to me, but not so much that they define a purchase decision.

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    1. True, but what (serious) game that comes out these days can be called "ugly"? I've heard things about Watch Dogs' graphics being turned down on purpose (and the original hidden in the PC version at that), and while lying to your customers is always a horrible thing to do, even the downgraded graphics, when considered on their own, aren't anything I would call repulsive.

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    2. Ugly being in quotations for a reason there.

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  9. To be honest I don't even give a single fuck.

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  10. I completely agree with you. Heck, I even think games which try too hard to be realistic are the most boring games ever. I want to see a unique world, not a carbon copy of what I can see outside every day.

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  11. The way I see it there are a few different categories of graphics: super old(atari), 2d sprite graphics, old 3d(games like Doom or Arena), kinda old 3d(GTA 3, OoT) and HD. The only games that I really can't stand the graphics are the old atari games. The simple ones are ok but something complex like star raiders just doesn't work.

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  12. My favorite games of all time were either pixelated or were based off of the quake engine, you can see clearly I dont give much of a damn about graphics

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  13. There is obviously some set of people who care about photorealism in video games, but I'm not one of them. There's a place for games that try to be as realistic as possible, like with annual sports games and other stuff such as L.A. Noir off the top of my head. I just never really got into those kinds of games. I grew up on Nintendo games, so naturally I grew to appreciate that art style as the most important ingredient for a great-looking game. It's also just so much harder to nail the photorealistic art style than, say, a cell-shaded style, at least for my money.

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  14. If I'm playing a video game, I'm playing a goddamn video game. If I wanted photorealism I'd TAKE A FUCKING WALK.

    My exact opinion.

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  15. Well lets put it this way. I have more Nintendo games than I care to count but the number of Xbox 360 and PS3 games I have can be counted on two hand.

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  16. The fanbase for fans of 2D Zelda games and fans of 3D Zelda games were living in relative peace so far... but everything changed when Egoraptor uploaded his most recent video. Now both of these fanbase divisions are even more out for blood than Hyrule Warriors haters. I knew the Zelda fanbase could be a terrible sight, but geez.

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  17. Speaking of this, I have a completely valid question. Do people recommend purchasing a 2ds with x or y pre-installed, or is it better to buy the system and game separately?

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    1. Buy the system and game separately. Even though the 2DS costs less, it's LARGER than a 3DS XL in width(both when the 3DS is AND isn't closed) and it's just not as portable in general. The ONLY reason it exists is because most parents nowadays are simply too stupid to control their kids, so they used this as a cop-out. Yes, it will cost more, but it will pay off in the long run.

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