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Why Do People Hate Graphics?

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Original post by AaronA
And on a final note, graphics kill imagination.

Look, it obviously takes more than pretty graphics to make a quality gaming experience, but why do so many people seem to hate "modern" graphics in games? A lot of things need to come together to make a good game, why shouldn't graphics be one of those things? There is nothing about the field of graphics that makes it inherently opposed to good game play; there is no need to make a one or the other choice. Games should be about the whole experience, and certainly graphics can improve the experience of playing a game.

As far as I can tell, a lot of people (and most of these are would-be "designers") are so staunchly opposed to having modern graphics in a game simply to be elitist. So many more casual gamers and even gaming media focus so heavily on graphics that some people have to denounce them completely just to seem "more informed". And I think it's bullshit.

Games are not made with the intent of putting graphics in place of the overall experience. No one sets out to make a game thinking "this game will have terrible game play mechanics, but damn, will it ever look pretty". Sure, there are games that turn out like that, but there have always been shitty games. Are you trying to say that without modern graphics, all games would be masterpieces? It would seem, then, that every 8-bit or text based or whatever you consider below the bar of "graphically modern" game must have been a masterwork. And that is not, by any stretch, true.

So what if games today look better than they did 10 years ago? Isn't that the whole point? If the technology is available, why wouldn't you use it? Why purposefully rob the end user of a more rich overall experience?

And concerning the quote I started off with, lets take a look at some modern (and therefor, apparently imagination-ly challenged) games. How well would Shadow of the Colossus worked without "modern graphics"? Could you have inspired the same sense of wonder and awe with towering Colossi models made up of 200 polygons? Or as 8-bit sprites? Could the player have become as attached to his animal companion if there wasn't a modern animation system driving it and making it look alive? Could you feel the same sense of loneliness and emptiness without such an expansive, bleak terrain?

Or take a look at Okami. Mind-numbingly simple combat system. Very heavily Zelda-esque quests and over all game play, yet still lauded as a brilliant experience, because the game looked brilliant. Sure, there were the gimmicky painting elements, but would the game have been such an achievement if you weren't playing a living water color painting?

So, I guess the point I want to make is that graphics don't ruin games. Poor designs and/or implementations ruin games. You wouldn't want to make a game with purposely sub-par artificial intelligence or physics, but why is it magically okay to scorn graphics?
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You must be from the new school [smile]

What you say rings true; however, I'm old school as they get. I feel like when the "3D barrier" for video games broke, and broke hard (sometime in the early 90s) games for quite some time were really shitty. That, coupled with the new idea (for arcade machines) that you could just add more quarters to finish a game, or (for consoles) that you could put in cheat codes... made games less of a challenge and more a way to pass the time.

Consequently, arcade machines died out ... because you couldn't conquer one on a single quarter any more. There was no more "air of mastery" of feeling of accomplishment, cuz any shlub with $50 bucks in his pocket could just shrug his way through the game without any skill.

I think these factors, combined with the overwhelming rush of game makers to embrace 3D technology left a whole culture of video-game players out of the loop... but enticed a different kind of "player" to join up. Sports sims and simulation-based games kind of rocketed from there... and your skill-based side scrollers went tits up.

I lost all desire to play or write video games when 3D started taking everything over, because the emphasis on graphics was so heavy. In my day (says Grampa) you could play a game called "Qix" at the arcade, and it was just a bunch of raster lines with about four colors... and you'd dump quarter after quarter into the machine because it was fun.

There was a challenge to it. You could actually gain a mastery level over these sorts of games that didn't require just another roll of quarters, or another cheat code. The initials you typed in after winning the game on a single quarter meant something... they were there for all the wannabes to see.

I guess this is sort of a mini-rant... will probably pick it up in my own journal at some future time.

But I do see what you're saying; there's no reason why people should just hate on graphics.


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