How Important Are Graphics?

A topic that I'm sure everybody has thought about at least once or twice. But really, how important are graphics to you when it comes to buying a game? Do they need to be cutting-edge? Do they just have to be presentable so that it doesn't look like it was made 2 years ago?
 
For me, it's the second one. I don't need flashy Final Fantasy XII-esque graphics to make me buy a game. Sure they're nice to have, but I'm perfectly okay with buying games with the graphical quality of Portal or Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing. I worry about the gameplay. You can have really good graphics and still have a terrible game. A good example would be the new game Sniper: Ghost Warrior, it looks pretty good, but in the end it's just a bad game with no substance.
  
I remember when I was around 9 years old and really wanted to buy Dragonball Z: Budokai for the Playstation 2. My friend had told me not to buy it because, "The graphics suck on that game, dude!". Turns out they didn't suck, but they weren't cutting-edge either. The game looked good enough and it played pretty well (I liked it, being a fan of DBZ and never having had played a fighter before) and when my friend came over and played it he bought it a month later. 
 
Another example was when I was talking to another friend about classic games, and I brought up the original Legend of Zelda, I got the response, "Dude, why do you like that game? The graphics are terrible." They might be terrible today, but it was made over 20 years ago during the 8-bit era. It still looks good enough to play regardless (it's not bad at all). 

What do you think? This wasn't meant to be a long blog, just one to raise a question or two.

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Posted by Thunderstarter

A topic that I'm sure everybody has thought about at least once or twice. But really, how important are graphics to you when it comes to buying a game? Do they need to be cutting-edge? Do they just have to be presentable so that it doesn't look like it was made 2 years ago?
 
For me, it's the second one. I don't need flashy Final Fantasy XII-esque graphics to make me buy a game. Sure they're nice to have, but I'm perfectly okay with buying games with the graphical quality of Portal or Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing. I worry about the gameplay. You can have really good graphics and still have a terrible game. A good example would be the new game Sniper: Ghost Warrior, it looks pretty good, but in the end it's just a bad game with no substance.
  
I remember when I was around 9 years old and really wanted to buy Dragonball Z: Budokai for the Playstation 2. My friend had told me not to buy it because, "The graphics suck on that game, dude!". Turns out they didn't suck, but they weren't cutting-edge either. The game looked good enough and it played pretty well (I liked it, being a fan of DBZ and never having had played a fighter before) and when my friend came over and played it he bought it a month later. 
 
Another example was when I was talking to another friend about classic games, and I brought up the original Legend of Zelda, I got the response, "Dude, why do you like that game? The graphics are terrible." They might be terrible today, but it was made over 20 years ago during the 8-bit era. It still looks good enough to play regardless (it's not bad at all). 

What do you think? This wasn't meant to be a long blog, just one to raise a question or two.

Posted by SpiralStairs

I like playing games with nice graphics like Uncharted 2, but it's not really important. I play more PS2 and DS than PS3, so that should show I really don't care too much about graphics.

Posted by Claude

I like graphics that make my penis seem bigger. Other than that, I don't care. I've played over 35 hours of a game I missed, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and I keep thinking how cool it looks. 
 
I do like to upgrade graphics when given a chance. Hell, who doesn't like their penis to seem bigger? Morrowind, Thief: The Dark Project, Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War all have received a  face lift on my PC, not cutting edge mind you, but enough. As for consoles, I don't care... How does it play? That's my question.

Posted by MatPaget

I liked this.
It actually reminds me of a lot of instances in my life where I was told "Dude, that game sucks, the graphics are awful" 
 
It seems to be how a lot of idiots choose what games are good or not, regardless of the gameplay.

Posted by Animasta

I like stylish graphics, TF2, SMT games, Okami etc

Posted by Thunderstarter

Note: I meant Final Fantasy 13, not 12, although 12 has very good graphics.
 
Stylish ones tend to be my favorite too, but all that matters to me is if a game plays well.

Posted by babblinmule

It depends on the gameplay for me, as games like modern warfare dont need good graphics because the gameplay makes up for it. 
 
And on a side note, this is a new experience for me - 9 years on the internet and this is the 1st time ive seen a duplicate of my current avatar. I dont know how i should be feeling....

Posted by ryanwho

My two most played systems are PC and DS. As someone who regularly juggled the technical pinnacle with the technical valley, I'm continually amused by when people shit on, say, the Wii because they play the xbox. Silver medal shitting on bronze, completely ignoring that gold is miles ahead. If a game is good enough, it doesn't matter how it looks but I will admit that if I game looks good enough, I will tolerate its shittyness for longer (example being ME2). I regularly see more impressive CGI in film so I don't get when people are completely blown away by how technically good a game looks. That's just me though.

Posted by iam3green

i think they need to be pretty to be good. i don't really care for graphics all that much. i just think they need to go with the graphic generation if you understand that. i don't want to see a game that looks like it can be on a ps2 on xbox 360.

Posted by powicewobots

I have mixed feelings when it comes to graphics. On one hand, I think that some of the stuff that can be created nowadays is visually stunning, but I also lament the fact that developers seem to concentrate more on aesthetics than making a game fun to play. I think that the balance is a bit too one-sided towards finely polished graphics. Some of the modern games that come out are effectively interactive movies.

Posted by Marz

For simulations you want to get closer to reality in fidelity as you can so that you feel like your in the game.  But overall it doesn't mean too much to me, i still play old NES games once in awhile.

Posted by Burns098356GX

I dont want to play a game that looks like shit, but as long as the gameplay, envirionments, characters and plot is interesting, I can get past some laxed graphics. 
@Marz: Agree. GT5 is defiantly going to rock in that department.

Edited by BeachThunder

The most important thing for me is how good the graphics are artistically, not technically.

Posted by AlwaysAngry

Graphics = gamplay. That's really all there is to it. If you say graphics don't mean anything, then you're either lying, or just stupid.

Posted by Thunderstarter

@BeachThunder: So I'm guessing you'd prefer games like Okami or the upcoming Marvel VS Capcom 3.
 
@AlwaysAngry: Considering you're the first person to say that...
 
Look, bad graphics CAN be an indicator of bad gameplay. But not always. Star Wars: The Old Republic is purposely not going to have cutting-edge graphics so that more people's computers can handle it, but from all of the previews I've read the game plays wonderfully. Many people would say Wii titles are graphically inferior to Xbox360/PS3 titles, but that doesn't make the (non-shovelware) games any worse.  Crysis had wonderful graphics, but required such a high-end PC to play smoothly and on on top of that had so many bugs and framerate issues due to the graphics it simply wasn't that good of game anymore. 
 
I'm not lying. I'll buy a game with standard graphics and fall in love with it if it's got solid gameplay. I spend most of my time on my DS, and I don't expect much from the system graphically, but it's still a great system for games. Not only that, but I'll play a game on the PSP such as GTA: Liberty City Stories and will hate it because the controls are bad. Crackdown 2 has good graphics but is rubbish because it's more of the same gameplay of the original but with lots of bugs. Mercenaries 2 is another example of such things. Graphics do not equal gameplay.

Posted by Bones8677

I only play games that have lots of graphics. The more graphics a game has, the better.
 
In all seriousness, I value good art design over graphics. I can handle some slight jankyness in the resolution so long as what I'm looking at is creative.

Posted by habster3
Posted by zyn

Graphics are important but Gameplay is king.

Posted by Glak

Graphics are important, but they don't have to be super realistic
If you have a nice style to your game then I like it
Although gameplay is more imporant, graphics should not be ignored

Edited by NathHaw
Edited by Jasta

As long as a game plays well and its actually FUN then the graphics shouldint mean all that much.

Well thats how it should be anyway... =P

Posted by ZanzibarBreeze

Graphics are not important to me in the slightest. I would gladly play as fluid a game as Uncharted 2 even if it had PlayStation-era (32-bit) graphics.

Posted by JoelTGM

It just has to look good one way or another.  If the game tries to immerse me in a fantasy world, but the textures are muddy and the whole thing looks low budget, it won't be very successful in immersing me.  With arcade games the graphics don't matter so much, but at the very least it should still look sharp.  It depends on the kind of game.

Edited by teh_pwnzorer

If the framerate sucks -- to the point of the game becoming a slide-show -- or there is a lot of screen tearing, none of you "graphics doesn't matter" people will enjoy the game.  Also, none of you would play the latest games at 320x240, if you could avoid it.  Of course the art design and technical aspects matter--they matter enough to be judged by all major and minor game reviewers. 

Posted by Shadow

Simply put, the prettier a game is, the more I can excuse all the other stuff.

Posted by FlamingHobo

No matter how many people will say differently graphics will always matter. I can play games that were made in 1998 and enjoy them as equally as a game that was released in 2010. However, I refuse to play games that haven't aged well in terms of visual style as well as gameplay.

Posted by LiquidPrince

Graphics matter. Artistic design can counterbalance bad graphics though.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

Well it's really a balancing issue.  I know graphics can't be the one thing a developer concentrates on but at the same time there's got to be a level of acceptable graphics for this generation of games. If I'm playing a game for a couple of hours atleast give me something good to look at, I don't want muddy textures or boring character models whose mouth movement looks like a ventriliquist doll talking. Monotonous level design is also something I don't appreciate like a game purely of snow.
Posted by Detrian

Depending on the style shabby graphics are okay if they look like something that came out in the past decade (2d games) or the last 5 years (for 3D). Bad gameplay on the other hand is always insufferable.

Posted by SuperfluousMoniker

Good graphics are a plus, but I'll play anything. Growing up with NES games, seeing graphics slowly getting better, then become dramatically uglier during the early 3d era and slowly get better again probably tempered that opinion. Coming from that perspective, nothing looks 'bad' any more; it's all varying degrees of acceptable, great and awesome.

Posted by doublezeroduck

How good or bad the game controls is first then the story and then the graphics. 

Posted by DuhQbnSiLo

Look at world of warcraft... its gameplay and depth that count..

Posted by lilman1101

I do think Graphics matter, but not as much as the gameplay.

Edited by HitmanAgent47

Well graphics aren't really all that great these days on other platforms besides the pc. If you don't like good technical or realistic graphics, then maybe keep playing cartoony games with art design. Better yet, go play semi realistic, high polygon, low normal mapping, low rez textured games.  

Edited by Geno

I go by the general mantra [Gameplay + Presentation] > Gameplay > Presentation. We primarily derive our game experiences through our eyes and ears, so whether we like it or not audiovisual elements will affect our game experience. If we can go to a museum and appreciate art or to a concert hall and appreciate music, then that perception doesn't somehow turn off when we play games; a good presentation will complement almost anything. There are so many quality games out there that are fun, innovative and have great presentation, it seems to me a waste of time to play anything other than such unless they really, really make up for it in other areas. Notable exceptions to the rule are games like Mount and Blade or various other indie titles. But generally I "expect" a game to have great presentation by default to go along with its other features, so anything lacking is put lower on my priority list, if at all. 

Edited by Lawrens

Graphics goes hand to hand with the game I'm playing but as long as it doesn't look like a pile of garbage, it's ok, I've never really played a really good game with really really shitty artistic designs, usually if they were able to develop a playable game, the art is up to par and at least decent instead of amateur shit.

As for how important the graphics actually are, this is usually my priority: Art direction > animations > acting > technical graphics.

The only technical aspect that should be top priority is the framerate and resolution, which is really the standard.

However, while I think graphics are important, gameplay should be on a higher priority, I won't buy something that plays like shit and look awesome, you'll have to pay me. However, there are exceptions depend on the genre.

Posted by TheSeductiveMoose

Graphics always counts for something, however I find gameplay and story much more important.

Posted by Hitchenson

Art style > Graphics, for me.

Posted by Icemael

Graphics matter. How much? 
 
More than story and about as much as sound, but less than mechanics and level design.

Posted by masterpaperlink

less than style

Posted by Clembo

If by graphics you mean raw quality of visuals, resolution and frame rate then yes, these things are important.  Playing a game that looks like ass is harder than playing the same game that looks better.  Higher res and nice visuals can make a game much more immersive and, in adventure games, this is an important goal that the gameplay is trying to capture.  A low frame rate can actually impede fast paced gameplay.
 
Some games don't need to even be polygonal or require a beast machine to look great.  Aesthetics is one thing but sometimes it just makes sense to make a game look a certain way.
 
Graphical design is as much an important part of the game as deciding how the game is structured.  Get it wrong and you could be changing gameplay features to fit in with your presentation.  Graphics aren't the filter, they are the medium, don't underestimate them (it, him, her).

Posted by Ramyun

The graphics don't have to be absolutely amazing, but the art style must hold up to keep me interested in it because of course there has to be that visual satisfaction to whatever you are doing. If it looks absolutely terrible and bland with no personality, then I would get sick of it quick.

Posted by Tennmuerti

gameplay > art style > graphics
 
Not saying that graphics are unimportant but they just matter less then other factors in a game to me.

Posted by Tigernose

For me I like graphics to be good, but I don't mind if they're not cutting edge realistic sort. However, if they're Wii quality, they're bad. In fact, I don't like playing any game that looks bad for its time. I've got a certain level, and the awfulness of the graphics can't go over that. However, old games I love because the standard was really low. New games with graphics, I can't stand....

Posted by linksfood

i do prefer my graphics to be good, if two games i like the same but i  can only get one, i get the one with better graphics, if i like gameplay more, though, i'm going with that. i mean, i play n64 games still, but i do like it to at least be pleasing to the eye, i don't want it to go for realistic but look like crap, you can't fail with fantasy!

Posted by Anteater

Nah,they just have to be presentable

Edited by Lawrens

I think there's a certain subjectivity in graphics and style, I don't mind playing 8bit games and I could even appreciate some of the graphics in the 16bit era and prefer them over some 3d games, so I do have a standard in graphics and art, but not completely objective like better textures, higher resolutions and other technical stuff. 

That being said, my standard is really low, as long as the game looks natural with decent animations (regardless of it being low budget or not), it's fine with me, I find that most of the games I do enjoy does a great job in that aspect, I think animation, control and timing goes hand to hand, which makes the general "feel" of the game, then beyond that, it's all AIs, gameplay. So as long as they get those things right, the game's graphics being stuck in the ps2 era doesn't bother me at all. An example would be fighting games, even though I'm not a big fan of the genre, it doesn't have to offer god of war 3 graphics, and they'd be pretty enjoyable for me.

Posted by Crocio

ASCII graphics are acceptable.

Posted by UltramanJ

 Graphics matter to me, just as gameplay does, strong sound, concept, and atmosphere that pulls me in. I like the whole package, as all aspects are important.
Posted by AdvanceStrat

The way I see it, graphics are a bonus.  If you got a game that looks great, and plays like crap, it won't last long.  Plays great, doesn't look great?  Still has a chance to last a while.  Great gameplay AND graphics?  Awesome.
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