Something I was thinking about...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Morgan Jolley, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Within the last day or two I started thinking about how important graphics are to games. After thinking about it, I decided that graphics are THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of any game. Now let me explain.

    When I say graphics, I mean the visuals. They don't need to be 3-D and the best available, they just need to show time and effort. Many SNES games have what are still considered amazing graphics because of how much work was put into making them as good as they are. If a game has bad graphics, then it can become a bad game. Imagine REZ or Frequency without the cool effects; they would suck!

    When you watch a movie, you are watching it. This means you see something with your eyes. If what you see is out of focus, poorly shot, or has technical problems, then the movie is no longer enjoyable. If the movie has a good story, it might as well be a book at this point. Why can't the same apply to games? They are called "videogames" because they are visual images that you interact with. Granted, gameplay is extremely important, but some games can get away with just graphics.

    Gameplay, storyline (if applicable), and control in a game are also extremely important, but a game with good gameplay/control/story and bad graphics can be a bad game simply because it is unbearable to play.

    I'm not saying that a game can only have good graphics and be good, though it has happened before. Graphics are a huge part of REZ and Frequency (music being the other part, though the visuals are what makes each game unique). Graphics can also define a genre or series. Up to FF6, all FF games had similar character designs (and now they do again). Both Fear Effect games have similar graphical styles. Many praise JGRF for its cel-shaded graphics (and now Zelda, too).

    So overall, graphics are the most important aspect of any game. A game can still be good with OK graphics, but if the graphics are just overall bad, then the experience in hindered moreso than it would be with other possible problems.
     
  2. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Supporting Actor

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    I could not disagree with this more [​IMG].
    It may be the fact that I'm a bookworm in the extreme or have a solid imagination, but I have never cared what the graphics were like in a game. Gameplay is the king. You only need to look as far as Myst for something that looks great but is deadly dull to play.
    Not to date myself, but I used to play Infocom adventure games for hours on end. The Lurking Horror is one of the best adventure games I ever played. It has not a lick of graphics, not one. But it's still phenomenal. The gameplay is sound, the puzzles are clever but not insane, and the writing is amazing.
    I still pull out my SNES to play Prince of Persia on occasion, or Mario Kart. These games look old but play great. Who needs graphics? Sure they're great, not going to say they aren't, but they're far and away the least important thing.
    Better still, look at Dance Dance Revolution. Its look is about one notch above spartan, but the gameplay is so solid that nobody even cares what the hell it looks like.
    Frankly, I think anybody who can't play a game with solid gameplay because it has shoddy graphics is a few zorkmids short of a Coconut of Quendor, in my opinion. Geeze, look at X-Com. I'd play that now if I had my CD here at university with me, it's awesome.
    Current case: Is Bomberman no fun as a multiplayer game because it only has 2D graphics? If gameplay really doesn't mean anything, why does the Gameboy Advance do so well? The PSOne and GameCube are both portable, and nobody would buy the Gameboy Advance if they thought it was ugly and unplayable.
    If Doom 3 ends up hard wiring its control scheme to use the Q, P, B, and F9 keys to move your character, I can guarantee you that it will do far less sales than it would.
    My opinion anyhow [​IMG]
     
  3. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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  4. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  5. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    I just busted out WWF No Mercy for the N64 last night and its graphics are horrible. The sound is horrible and character models frequently crash through each other, however, the gameplay and animations are fantastic and I can't get enough of it.
    Graphics are great and all, but if the gameplay is great and the graphics just happned to be top-notch, that is just icing on the cake for me.
    Oh, I also agree with Brian about your movie comment. [​IMG]
    -Dean-
     
  6. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    To be honest, my statement applies to games as well.
     
  7. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    I would also like to suck up, I mean add that if graphics were so important, Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2 would have not been so popular. [​IMG]
    -Dean-
     
  8. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    I think, to defend a version of Morgan's argument (without at any time denying that Myst is an absolute load of horse manure), that the quality of a game's graphics are a vital part of the game.

    Rise Of The Robots (to choose an infamous example), while you might say it has good graphics because a screenshot looks (or at least looked at the time) fancy, actually has bad ones; the bad handling of this dire fighter is a direct consequence of their inability to add either enough frames of the pre-rendered animation to make it smooth and responsive, or enough variety to give you a reasonable quantity of moves.

    Asteroids might be wireframe white on black, but its graphics are an abstract perfection. At no time to they distract you with superfluous detail like the bitmapped second-rate remakes did, and the stunning effective resolution created by the vector plotting draw method allowed far more precise handling and aiming than the blockiness its peers had at the time.

    Basically, a great game uses its display to its strengths, a bad game can have graphics that look good in a screenshot, but is often made bad by them being inappropriate. To give a hypothetical example, if GoldenEye's at times appalling framerate had been in a faster-paced FPS it would have been unforgiveable (certainly if this was a new game we wouldn't forgive it even so), but the gameplay used the limitation to develop a new strength by introducing Stealth to the genre.
     
  9. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Oh, I've just seen Dean's post. I'd counter that by pointing out how in the games Brian worked on, I never had a problem driving at high speed, because the camera always panned out far enough for me to see both where I was going and who was trying to ram me from behind, and I never had problems aiming at enemy criminals during shootouts on foot due to them being behind the camera.

    I'm sure you can all see where that argument is going...
     
  10. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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  11. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    More than that, Aaron, I believe that its impossible to truly seperate gameplay from graphics, as the one should influence and inform the other fundamentally. To repeat my comment on the GTA series, the top-down graphics of the first two affect your view of the action, the control method and 'immersiveness' of your character in a very different way than in the over-the-shoulder view in the third game. In the other direction, the move from Mouse&Keyboard of the PC to the Gamepad of the X-Box has meant that Epic have changed the look of Unreal Championship to be more 'flat' than that of Tournament, in order to minimise how much players have to look up and down.
     
  12. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    Iain, I have no problem with GTA 1 and 2's graphics, I actually like them. I was just saying that flashy graphics are not everything. [​IMG]
    -Dean-
     
  13. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  14. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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  15. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    I'm all for "graphics" can make or break a game. We now have the technology where NO game should have poor graphics, yet they continue to be released. This to me is inacceptable and I won't buy those games no matter how good the gameplay is. I am a graphics whore, but that is what makes gaming nowadays great. I thought the NES had the best looking graphics ever when it came out. It is all relative so I expect games to look as good or better than say Halo or UT2003.
     
  16. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  17. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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  18. Yoshi Sugawara

    Yoshi Sugawara Stunt Coordinator

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    Good graphics are just an icing on the cake for me, really. After about a half hour or so of gameplay, the "whiz-bang" effect of the graphics wear off and it becomes a matter of, "Is this game compelling enough to keep playing?"
    Sure, poor graphics may turn me off, but great gameplay is the factor that lets me continue playing a game.
    When the graphics are great and gameplay is mediocre, playing the game becomes more of a tedious chore - and this is contradictory to why we play games - for fun, right? [​IMG]
    I pretty much agree with what Brian said.
     
  19. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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  20. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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