From the first days of video games (or any other visual media) your eyes are the first things to be treated to what the form has to offer. Graphics have always been the measure to which the common gamer judged a game. Back in the day graphics mattered, but not all that much. All you needed was a visual representation of your character on screen A La Mega Man or Mario, and you were pleased. Your imagination pretty much took off from there (I barely recognized Toadstool to be a person). So with that in mind visual representation in the world of gaming has probably been a big thing since the days of PSX, Saturn, and N64 era.
Pros—there is a lot to be said by watching a visual tour de force. Seeing the perfect visual to match what you imagine in your head can be oh so satisfying. The proper graphics can take you to places you could only have hoped to dream of. Think back to GTA 3 when the city was sprawling with life. The cars in that game resembled real life vehicles. The people (although deformed by todays standards) were pretty ground breaking. Pop-up and texturing were acceptable because what the scope of the game was presenting to you the gamer. How about Super Mario Bros.? When you plugged in that new NES for the first time and you saw Mario and Luigi jump on their Goomba enemies with a satisfying squash you just knew you had arrived. The point is with the proper visuals you can escape real life and enjoy whatever quest, mission, or adventure presented. Motion capture, a thing that is still fairly new also lends credibility to graphics. Do you know what bad motion-capturing can do to a game? Think WWE Attitude where Stone Cold Steve Austin appeared to be a drunken bum stumbling to the ring. When done right it can lend so much to a game. When Madden football started using the process every tackle, block, and catch appeared that much more life like. As Solid Snake you felt along the walls of Shadow Moses or crawled through vents making things appear that much more real. Bottom line graphics are top selling point for about 80% of games these days.
Cons—With the positives out the way it can also be argued that graphics can take a back seat to an otherwise outstanding game. There are tons of examples to fit this bill. A “TRUE” gamer can dismiss graphics as long as gameplay, story, and certain other features pull a game together. In other cases graphics aren’t even the main point of the game and it can be wildly successful. Games like Tetris, early Pokemon games, Tecmo Bowl, and a few others were wildly popular despite graphics. Let’s talk about bad graphics period. When a game comes out gamers have a certain expectation. When those expectations aren’t filled consumers may feel duped. Texture problems; pop up, shading, collision detection, and plain old ugly design can out right ruin the experience. E.T. was an awful mess of a game. Who could stomach to look at any wrestling game in the 90’s? As of late Duke Nukem forever was horrible looking mess (to say the least). The point here is games can succeed or fail hinging on its graphics, but it has been proven that you don’t NEED good graphics to have a great game.
Although graphics are a large part of gaming the conclusion is that they aren’t the end all be all. Sure they bring the package of a far off land full circle, but gamers had just as much fun when Link looked like a fat elf as oppose to his often-cartoony princely look these days. Hell you can have a game not even be outrageously good looking; like Candy crush or Flappy Bird for gamers to be addicted and loving it. So in the end graphics aren’t all that important. Don’t get things twisted in this case cake taste great, but with the right frosting it can be exquisite. What’s your opinion? Are graphics a big selling or enjoyable point for you? Let me know! Until next time “If you can’t be GOOD be GOOD at it!!”