#1 Posted by MonkeyMitcho (115 posts) -

I was thinking while i was playing Uncharted 3 "Damn this looks really good" Then that got me thinking that i don't really appreciate graphics in video games, let me lay it out for you.

Uncharted 2 and 3: The only reason i played through these games was for the characters and fun combat.

Rayman Origins: This game looked look a platformer with some nice art but i think i'll take a pass

Limbo: Bought this game because of all the kerfuffle. Worst $15 i ever spent. (My hate for puzzle platformers didn't help)

ANYWAYS. My question is:

Is there something wrong with me? Does anybody else share the same perspective?

#2 Posted by mosespippy (4106 posts) -

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at. As far as I know all those games are function as intended and look great. Are you saying that the art style of Limbo and Rayman made you're opinion of those games lesser than the comparative impact on your opinion of the art style in Uncharted? Why did you buy Limbo if you don't like puzzle platformers?

#3 Posted by notdavid (836 posts) -

I like things that look good. It's an inherent human trait to find aesthetically beautiful things pleasant to look at. So you're weird.

#4 Posted by Patman99 (1573 posts) -

Both Rayman Origins and Limbo were loved for more than their graphics. The gameplay in both were pretty damn superb. Their unique art design was just a bonus.

I dont play games for graphics but having appealing graphics is a bonus. Hell, I put tons of hours into Mount and Blade and that game looks like it came from the late 90s.

#5 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

Nope. I love looking at cool shit. Games included. Graphics may not be more important than gameplay, but it is still important.

#6 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

I don't care about the graphics for a game(Dwarf Fortress is awesome) but stuff like Trine 2 is beautiful to look at so that didn't hurt the experience with the game.  

#7 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19321 posts) -

You can appreciate a game's art without appreciating other aspects of it. If you can't do that then yes, there is something wrong with you.

#8 Posted by YI_Orange (1141 posts) -

I don't think anyone plays games just for graphics. I love great looking things, but it's not enough to form an opinion on.

#9 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@YI_Orange said:

I don't think anyone plays games just for graphics. I love great looking things, but it's not enough to form an opinion on.

A member of the giant bomb staff does this exact thing. So I guess it is possible.

#10 Posted by Mastercheesey (219 posts) -

Maybe there is nothing wrong with you but It sucks that you couldn't enjoy Rayman and Limbo because those are both great games.

#11 Posted by Insectecutor (1186 posts) -

@notdavid said:

I like things that look good. It's an inherent human trait to find aesthetically beautiful things pleasant to look at. So you're weird.

Playing cards have shitty graphics. Games don't depend on aesthetics. If the game sucks it doesn't matter how good it looks, and vice versa.

#12 Posted by YI_Orange (1141 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@YI_Orange said:

I don't think anyone plays games just for graphics. I love great looking things, but it's not enough to form an opinion on.

A member of the giant bomb staff does this exact thing. So I guess it is possible.

I assume you're talking about Brad, and I disagree. But he's not the only one who loved Limbo and Dust. Aesthetics add to an experience and are worth talking about, but thinking someone bases their entire opinion on it is foolish. Or if you're right, that person is very foolish.

#13 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

You can appreciate a game's art without appreciating other aspects of it. If you can't do that then yes, there is something wrong with you.

The problem I have with this statement is that I view the whole game as the "art", and I think games themselves are art. If the only thing you have to say with your work is "We have really good tech" than don't bother making a game. Simply having beautiful graphics isn't a statement worth expressing and when the entire point of your work is that your graphics department did a damn fine job than your artistic effort is wasted. It's sort of like listening to really well produced music when the only part of the song you appreciate is the production. Nice tech demo and all but I'd rather listen to a billion Death Grips before suffering through another Lil Wayne.

#14 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@YI_Orange: I only meant he manages to form an opinion based purely on graphics very, very often. Not that he plays for the graphics.

#15 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19321 posts) -

@A_Talking_Donkey said:

The problem I have with this statement is that I view the whole game as the "art", and I think games themselves are art. If the only thing you have to say with your work is "We have really good tech" than don't bother making a game. Simply having beautiful graphics isn't a statement worth expressing and when the entire point of your work is that your graphics department did a damn fine job than your artistic effort is wasted. It's sort of like listening to really well produced music when the only part of the song you appreciate is the production. Nice tech demo and all but I'd rather listen to a billion Death Grips before suffering through another Lil Wayne.

...Okay? But how does my statement conflict with what you're stating?

#16 Posted by laserbolts (5317 posts) -

I'm not sure what you are asking here I'm sorry.

#17 Posted by kgb0515 (411 posts) -

I get what the OP is trying to say, but I'm not sure the games presented are the best representation possible for this argument. When I think of Rayman and Limbo, I agree that they look very nice, but they aren't really graphically driven. If anything, I would say they are intentionally simplistic. Graphics don't make a game, but I'll be damned if I didn't want to jump all over previews of The Last of Us, just because that game looks so freaking amazing. Makes me wish that the PS3 could push more detailed textures, but I'm sure I won't even notice while I'm playing.

#18 Edited by ProfessorEss (7309 posts) -

If two games are equal in every aspect but one looks better I'll prefer that looks better.

#19 Posted by Ninja_Welshman (485 posts) -

Graphics are nice but as long as they are fit for function them I'm good.

#20 Posted by MonkeyMitcho (115 posts) -

Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to buy flower and see how much I hate it.

#21 Edited by warxsnake (2645 posts) -

As a dev, seeing other games and how they run in real time, especially right now with extremely limited console resources, it still impresses me knowing what went into it.  
Especially the open worlds, when an open world like Sleeping Dogs looks good, that's impressive; I'm less impressed by corridor shooters like COD or Crysis, or games like Uncharted since they can cram more in for free by closing off the world, and have way less constraints than an open world, and every section you visit in a game like Uncharted is catered for a single type of playthrough, a single way of playing, so there's lots of "cheats and tricks" that other more open games can't afford. 

#22 Posted by AlisterCat (5522 posts) -

I play games for the visual experience. I am a visual person. Not everyone is.

#23 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

Good looking stuff is always nice but it's the game that comes first.

#24 Posted by believer258 (11776 posts) -

@A_Talking_Donkey said:

@FluxWaveZ said:

You can appreciate a game's art without appreciating other aspects of it. If you can't do that then yes, there is something wrong with you.

The problem I have with this statement is that I view the whole game as the "art", and I think games themselves are art. If the only thing you have to say with your work is "We have really good tech" than don't bother making a game. Simply having beautiful graphics isn't a statement worth expressing and when the entire point of your work is that your graphics department did a damn fine job than your artistic effort is wasted. It's sort of like listening to really well produced music when the only part of the song you appreciate is the production. Nice tech demo and all but I'd rather listen to a billion Death Grips before suffering through another Lil Wayne.

Good graphics can undeniably improve a game. Crysis's mechanics and gameplay are wonderful but if that game were ugly, then it would be cheapened to the point of being irrelevant. The graphics are hardly the entire point of that game but they are a very good reason to play it in the first place because despite being five years old it's still gorgeous.

My point, here, is that creating something that's just pretty to look at can be an art in and of itself, and that is definitely a part of games and your comment cheapens that somewhat. One of the best things about Just Cause 2, to me, is taking an airplane to a corner of the map, flying it as high as possible, and then getting out and admiring the surroundings. For such a violent game, that is such a wondrous sight to behold. Something similar holds true for Skyrim.

Yes, making something visually beautiful that you can interact with is, indeed, part of games as art, and you can definitely appreciate the technical and artistic aspects of a game without liking the rest of it. Battlefield 3, for instance, houses some fantastic graphics and great technology (in more than just graphics - networking here is also important to the game), and that's easily admirable, but you might not enjoy military shooters.

On the topic of graphics and technology in general, a lot of what we see in games these days is made possible by better technology and graphics. Imagine if no one had ever pushed technology or graphics - we would still be looking at incredibly basic and simple games. The technological and graphical push is necessary to evolve and make games grow, and the technology that makes a game run as well as how it looks are both very important to a game, almost as important as gameplay itself and just as important as story.

#25 Posted by Scrawnto (2440 posts) -

I play video games for so many different reasons. Video games have tons of components, and each is valued differently from person to person. There is nothing wrong with that. Video games encompass sound design, writing, acting, visual art, technical art (this is your particle effects, shaders, etc.), game design (mechanics, verbs, nouns, and rules), and simply software that ties all of these together. I appreciate pretty much all of them, especially having played around in just about all of those areas of game development at one time or another. Most people look at me like I'm crazy when I say that a game and the software that implements the game are different things, and I can like the first while hating the second. Some examples of these divides: I think the software of Diablo III is pretty bogus. Network lag in a single player game is terrible. I really like the game in Diablo III though. I also happen to like the art, especially the technical/effects art Dark Souls is an even better game, but still a sub-par piece of software, and the graphics are only so-so. Crysis is an incredible technical achievement, but the style is lacking, and the game design is middling. Dwarf Fortress is an fantastic piece of game design, which I can appreciate despite an utterly terrible UI and visual representation. I enjoy all of these things, but I think it should be obvious that I enjoy them for very different reasons.

Many people have trouble distinguishing the various aspects games as individual pieces of the package that they buy. Again, there's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but it bothers me that some people will throw an entire company under the bus when they take issue with one aspect. When people say, "Screw BioWare after that Mass Effect 3 bullshit," I can't help but feel for the person who just set up the lighting. It's not that person's fault, or the fault of the person who made gun sound effects, or the person who set up enemy spawn points in multiplayer, etc. So I can't bring myself to wish for a game company to fail just because I didn't like one aspect of a game.

Anyway, I've digressed. So you just have a more attuned appreciation of the game part of video games. That's cool, I guess.

#26 Posted by TobbRobb (4590 posts) -

I'll stand by loving Prince Of Persia 2008, purely because of the look. It's not a bad game, but it's not good either. Won't stop me from absolutely loving every beautiful second of it.

Art and animation is often a make or break for me. I don't care much at all for "realistic" graphics, be they good or bad. But I'll be all over anything with a unique or pretty style, especially ones with a lot of color. I have no problem completely ditching a potentially great game if it LOOKS unappealing to me.

That said, gameplay is always a large factor. Wet looked pretty cool at points, didn't make it less of a shitty game.

#27 Edited by Alkaiser (358 posts) -

Personally, I enjoy when a game has an interesting visual design, regardless of the level of tech. It doesn't really matter to me how technically impressive the graphics of a game are if it doesn't have any style to it which is probably why most games that go for realistic-looking graphics hold very little interest to me. I remember I had a coworker go apeshit on me about a trailer for Battlefield 3 and all I could say was "Well, it looks like it cost a lot to make so I guess that's good? It kinda looks like every game of its type." He looked at me as if I had grown a second head.

#28 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

So basically your eyes don't enjoy charming paintings, movies with stunning visuals and so forth..?

Well, you don't have to, but it's as if you don't enjoy music that sounds great. Or a nice blowjob.

#29 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

Different games are different sorts of things. Some games are meant to be primarily visual experiences, and the gameplay is more shallow. Other games focus on gameplay and simplify graphics. Most games try for a balance between the two, and generally don't excel at either, but are still great experiences. So, depending on what kind of game it is, graphics might mean everything or nothing or somewhere in between.
 
In general, though, the best games are both beautiful and have excellent, deep, engaging gameplay with high replay value. But that doesn't mean a beautiful but shallow game or an engaging but ugly game can't each be great in their own way. Expecting all games to have the same priorities strikes me as silly. We don't have the same expectations for television shows, movies, books, or music--why should games as an entertainment medium be any different?

#30 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

It seems like a lot of the posts in this thread are conflating graphics and aesthetics, they're not the same thing. A game can be visually striking with super low res graphics and super high end graphics can still be dull and boring to look at. I agree with believe258 that someone has to push graphical boundaries in order to keep visuals innovative, but at the same time that doesn't mean those that do necessarily have a good game to go with it. They're important, but sometimes being important doesn't make a thing great. Many would disagree with me but I'd cite Final Fantasy 7 as an example of an innovative game that was super important in a lot of ways but also lacking in actual depth. Unrelatable characters with shallow personalities with a hokey weeaboo anime story, tedious gameplay (though not too much actual grind I guess) and an all around sense of pretentious self-wank from every design aspect. It sure was pretty though and that alone makes it a noteworthy part of gaming history. I'm glad that Final Fantasy 7 exists because it broke ground that a lot of games I'd come to love would use, and in a way I'm also glad I had the opportunity to experience it when it was still fresh so that I'd have a sense of appreciation for it. It still doesn't mean having better graphics than your competition will make your game better though. Given two games of equal sound design, story, control, difficulty, and identical gameplay, with one being more graphically strong than the other I'd take the one that is more aesthetically pleasing regardless of which one that is. If they weren't of equal difficulty I'd almost always take the more challenging game regardless of graphics. Really, graphics is the last thing I care about when I'm playing a game. They're more of a nice bonus than a reason to choose a game over another.

#31 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I think "graphics" can be a misnomer.

THe single most important thing to me, in a videogame, is interactivity. I want to be able to interact with the world. THe more I can, the more I'm probably going to enjoy the game. So "graphics" can sometimes completely win me over. Take WaveRace Blue Storm for example, where the wave physics in the game completely and dynamically change the race from second to second.

But as far as, like, "pretty" graphics, I couldn't care less. I hate most Unreal Engine games because they mostly tend to lack interactivity. (As compared to say, Source)

#32 Posted by HydraHam (1338 posts) -

I can appreciate graphics and art style but in the end it's the actual game itself that appeals to me. The story, the interactions, the gameplay etc. Graphics is the last thing on my mind when it comes to gaming and it's why i don't own a big gaming PC nor care to own one. I am fine with my "dumbed down" graphics.

#33 Edited by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Some games are made better by their graphics. I would not like Final Fantasy 13 as much as I do if it were not so dang gorgeous.

Sometimes a meh game can be made enjoyable by quality aesthetics. For instance Afro Samurai. Great art and music, gameplay itself is alright but I still had fun with it and the mediocre combat was easier to swallow when the enviroments looked great and the soundtrack alive and fitting. Aesthetics alone can't made a game great, but they certainly play a factor.

#34 Posted by Inkerman (1451 posts) -

I think I notice physics more than I notice graphics. For example I regard LBP as having very good graphics, but that's because I like the style as well, plus the physics in it was very smooth. I also remember being completely blown away the first time I played Half Life 2, mostly because of Source physics.