Video Games: Why Graphics Matter To Me


AMRH

I’m An Artist

I am a “graphics whore.” I think that may be partly due to the fact that I spent many years as an artist. I loved to draw, rarely still do, but for years now I spend more time playing video games than I do drawing. And when I did draw, I would copy stuff, not trace, but copy. So I don’t have enough motivation to draw my own stuff because my own stuff is quite horrible. I notice the finer details, I love them, I appreciate them, and I want more finer details. It’s like the first time I ever finally learned how to add shadows to my drawings, that small extra detail made such a vast improvement.

A problem I run into because of my love for the finer details is that I simply cannot afford a PC to get the best out of it, dangit! But I will push my PC to get everything I can out of it even if I have to run at lower frame-rates, which is actually pretty normal for me. =p

If you’re curious about why I’m talking about PC and not consoles, it’s simply due to playing more often on my PC lately than my consoles, that is all. A huge reason for that is the price of games. If you want, you can read more on what I think about the price of games and my buying habits.¬†Graphics still matter to me even on consoles. =p

Why I’m A Graphics Whore

The main reason to being a graphics whore, I believe, is just simply due to the evolution of video games. I started with Atari, moved to nintendo, genesis, super nintendo, sega cd, skipped over a few consoles that my mom couldn’t afford to keep up with. I did play every single system, if I didn’t have it, my friends did, and being the little greedy gamer that I am, I played everything I could get my hands on. I had played the Turbo GFX16? I think that’s what the name was. Out of all my friends and all the people I ever heard about, one single kid had the Neo Geo. lol Man that thing was expensive. Who remembers the CD-I? I wanted that just for the Zelda game! Never did play it tho. I think that was probably the one system I never actually touched.

I Agree, Graphics Do Not “Make A Game”

So, back to the whole “graphics whore” thing. Since I’ve played all these old games and been through all the advancements of video games through the years, I care about graphics. Do I think graphics “make a game?” Of course not, but that’s far from the same thing as if they matter or not. They do matter. They might not matter to someone who’s just started gaming and doesn’t actually see the difference because they haven’t spent the time going through all the stages of video games evolution. But to someone like me, they very well matter.

I enjoy games like Hotline Miami and They Bleed Pixels and those graphics look old to me, I do consider them “bad” compared to today’s standards of course, I think it’s silly not to. It’s like going back to the Nintendo. Some people are into that, I am not, I’ve already been there. If I’m in the mood to “go retro” and play some of my favorite classic games, then I’m going to play my favorite classic games. I’m not going to look at a game made in the 2000’s that looks like something I played twenty-plus years ago and be like “oh wow!” That does not mean I don’t enjoy them. However, they certainly won’t be at the top of my play list. This does not mean I think it’s a bad game, I cannot re-iterate that enough.

I’ll use Renegade Ops as an example. This is a top down view where you drive a car and blow stuff up. Real simple, this is a classic style game, this is stuff we played on our Nintendo’s and Genesis’s. The graphics are today’s though, they are absolutely gorgeous. If I’m going to have a choice between a beautiful game of today and a game that looks like something I played twenty years ago, there’s simply no competition. I’ll likely ignore the game with graphics like that. Not because it’s bad, but simply because I have hundreds of better looking games I’ll enjoy just as much and probably more-so.

“Graphics Don’t Matter”

When gamers say “graphics don’t matter,” not only can I not help and think to myself “a real gamer would not say that” (while I know some people think the opposite) but it’s also an insult to the game designers and artists. These people are artists, they whip up these incredible gorgeous looking games and then you want to say “graphics don’t matter?” lol I’ll be honest here, every single time I see anybody with an opinion of that, they’re opinion is meaningless to me and I simply don’t care what else they have to say.

I don’t mean to be rude tho. It’s along the same lines if someone doesn’t like a game that I really, truly enjoy, then their opinion means nothing to me. Am I going to listen to someone’s recommendation of a game right after they just completely trashed a game I love and called me an idiot for loving it? lol No. But that’s where I seem to be different from so many gamers. I just love almost every game I play. So that seems to be a problem when I’m dealing with the gaming community. If you’re interested, here’s a more detailed post about my general passion for video games.

Impressive Indie Games

Here’s a list of Indie games that show me these designers and developers really put their heart and soul into the games and obviously far more time and effort than someone that put together a game that looks like it belongs on the Atari. Or they simply have more experience and it shows. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that games with “bad” graphics are made by people that don’t care. To me, those are people that are testing themselves and getting into the line of work. Keep it up guys, you freakin rock! This is my opinion, I’m not offering it up as fact.

In alphabetical order, these all stand out to me:

Afterfall
Alan Wake
Anomaly 1 & 2
Bastion
Deadlight
Dear Esther
Dreadout
Dreamkiller
Forge
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise
Mark of the Ninja
Orcs Must Die 1 & 2
Sanctum 1 & 2
Shad’O
Shank 1 & 2
Sine Mora
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
The Showdown Effect
The Swapper
Whispered World (not my kind of game but beautiful graphics and art)
Zeno Clash

That’s not counting the one’s I probably forgot (these are off the top of my head) or haven’t discovered, and also ignoring Free2Play games.

Graphic’s Options?

I don’t know any technical specifics. When I talk about graphics for video games I’m not talking about SA, AA, PhysX or whatever that stuff is… I don’t even know what any of that means. I just hope my computer will pull it off. I am interested in learning the technical stuff but then when I try to it’s just so boring!

Basically good graphics to me is this, “ooh shiny!” But I definitely notice the details, the small intricate details that show off the beauty of these illusions and dreams, these creations. The way sunlight beams down through tree’s, glimmering deep colors that splash… I see it all. I often talk to other gamers that continue to insist that they don’t need those extra details and this is why “graphics don’t matter.” Not for me. They do matter and I truly appreciate the work that the designers and artists put into these games.

Immersion

As I’ve said, I don’t know the technical stuff. I don’t study the science of games, I just love playing them. Another argument for “graphics matter” is one I do come across from other gamers. They seem to be in the vocal minority, makes me laugh. The argument is immersion. You are dang right, my friends. Of course, you don’t need high end graphics to be immersed into a game. You certainly won’t be immersed into a game on graphics alone. Story is a huge deal, but not only that, music and sound effects.

Battlefield 3: I’m not a huge fan of shooting games, I love them just like I love others but they’re not on the top of my list of favorites as far as genres go. Some of them stand out, and this is one of them. The graphics and music of Battlefield 3 had me fully immersed, and I give a lot of credit to that musical score. It was beautiful, soft yet hard, and put me in the freakin mood! And the graphics are gorgeous! The story wasn’t super great, but I did like it enough.

I completed this game around at least four months ago if not longer and I can still picture my first time on the aircraft carrier in the game. I didn’t realize I was on one cuz I think I was distracted by something else in real life at that point in the game. Walking along talking to my superior or whoever, getting my orders, getting to the door and it opening into the top deck of the carrier. The sunlight, the surrounding battleships, jets taking off and flying by. The wind, the epic music along with that wind. Climbing into my jet, checking my flaps, taking off. I was freakin nervous man. I seriously got nervous. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that experience, it was incredible.

Would I have been immersed just as much in an older looking game? Maybe, as long as the music and sound effects were just as good and the way the game took me through all these actions still happened, but the graphics sure do help make it an even more incredible experience.

And as I’ve said before, if I have a choice between a game that has worse graphics or better graphics but offers the same experience, there’s no competition, graphics win. I’ll still play them both tho. =)

If Graphics Didn’t Matter…

Even the developers wouldn’t bother improving them. I mean come on now. Over all these years of playing video games if graphics didn’t matter they wouldn’t have gone through this amazing evolution over time. This is art, and its beautiful. I wish you would appreciate it more.

Game on! =)

My Deep Passion For Video Games


“That Game Sucks”

I often end up in arguments with people over video games. Mostly over whether or not they “suck.” This is something I find myself getting into more often than I’d like. I didn’t realize what was happening, I never understood why I kept finding myself in this predicament, why everyone wanted to argue with me or of course vice versa.

I know I’m a stubborn person, or can be anyways, but I was still very confused. After years and years of this kind of interaction with fellow gamers I think I’ve finally come to a small understanding, I hope so anyways.

Self Discovery?

My problem is I love video games. lol It’s silly but that’s what it is. I don’t just play a game and immediately hate it. And if I do, that is an incredibly rare occasion. Of course there are things I might not like about a game. Maybe the controls are bad, maybe the graphics aren’t as impressive as I think they should be, maybe a level was tedious and boring, maybe the story is bland. There are many things I might not like about a game, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it for the good things it has and loving it for it.

Fanboy

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a “fanboy” just for saying how much I enjoy a game, a console, or a service. What makes me laugh every time is that often it’s coming from the same people who know that I say “I love this game” to almost every game they mention. Yet the only time they insist on calling me a “fanboy” is when it’s about something they don’t like in particular.

Yes, I am indeed a fanboy. I’m a fan of everything involving the video game world. Some things I like less than others, that’s usually all it is. Some games I have absolutely no interest in, not because it sucks, I just simply have no interest in it at the time. My preferred game tastes do change from time to time. That doesn’t mean I always refrain from saying “that sucks.” lol It does happen sometimes. Usually if I say “that sucks,” I’ll tend to follow it up with “compared to…”

I enjoy puzzle games and social games but those are the last types of games I will ever play, and I mean dead last. I won’t play those unless I’m incredibly bored, have absolutely no way to access a different type of game or possibly see one that looks a little bit more interesting and I’ll give it a chance. Or maybe on another rare occasion if a good friend I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time wants to play. And possibly an even rarer occasion of actually being in the mood. =p

The Casual Gamer

That said, I do not consider puzzle games and social games “real” games. These are casual pastimes. People seem to get offended when I or other gamers make this kind of reference. I’m not attempting to insult you if casual games are your thing. That is wonderful! That doesn’t make you a “gamer” in my eyes. A gamer isn’t somebody that only plays Farmville or Angry Birds, I’m sorry. Now, if you play games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and then Farmville, I will consider you a gamer. =p I do not mean this as an insult. Of course, that is just how I see it.

Already Done Before: So What?

This is something that never bothers me. People are always insisting on “innovation” which is practically impossible. They complain about sequels being “more of the same.” I do not understand this. Of course its more of the same, it’s what we loved about it in the first place. It’s a sequel, do people really expect a hack and slash game to turn into a first-person shooter or something? There’s nothing wrong with hybrids of course.

Every time I see gamers making ridiculous demands, they almost never offer up suggestions and if they do, they’re usually absolutely terrible and the developer might as well make a completely different game. I’m often shocked when I see a public suggestion that’s actually decent.

I don’t mind that sequels are similar to the previous games. That’s why I like them, new story, almost always improved graphics, some new elements, upgraded UI’s and controls, I mean that’s what it’s all about. It’s not the same game. I can’t tell you how mad I get when people say “it’s more of the same.” Gameplay yes, but the story is completely new and usually offers more insight into the characters, a continued story that we wanted anyways because we didn’t want the game to end. I mean it completely confuses me how weird gamers can be. Demanding things that make no sense and crying if they do get exactly what they asked for.

I am not saying I don’t like innovation. I also don’t blame gamers for wanting it. I just think they are often unrealistic in their demands.
Multiple games in the same genre too similar? I can understand that complaint. I just enjoy them for the new characters and different takes on the story and of course different or better graphics style.

It’s Time To Try And Turn My Hobby Into My Dream Life

After finally deciding to follow many of my friends advice over many years, I’ve already started writing what I think about my experiences while having played particular video games. It’s way more fun than I had expected. I’m a “noob” but I can already tell I’ve gotten better. Thanks to some game sites (like GameSkinny) editors and my sister I’ve gotten tons of advice and help on how to write better. I look forward to learning more and getting better. Now that I’ve started I have absolutely no intention of stopping. Video games have been my life, and I can finally try and give a little bit back even if it’s only in the form of more detailed feedback than “this game rocks!” =)

I read an article that made me realize me how bias I am. It’s not on purpose ok? lol I promise when and if I give a score rating I will try to be more impartial to a fair score. That may take me awhile though, and many more practice runs before I finally have a better idea on how to score a game more reasonably. That being said, I like saying how I feel about a game. I don’t care if others won’t give a game a 10 when I will, it’s my 10, not theirs. =p

I hope you enjoy my “reviews” and if you find the time please comment! Please give me feedback!