Are games that focus on more advanced graphics and realism doomed to age poorly?

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#1 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

I see a lot of people drool over games for having high tech graphics and hightened levels of realism, but here's the thing. As gaming technology evolves so will graphics and added realism in games which means those games that were once considered technical marvels will no longer look or feel as impressive. Once we have future games to compare them to I think we will begin to further notice weak points in these games design. At worst they will fall into uncanny valley and at best I think they will look bland. Consider that people once thought Golden Eye was nice looking and realistic game but now it's considered one of the ugliest games of that era.

To contrast I think Yoshis Island is one of if not the best looking games on the SNES. It's an old game and it wasnt pushing graphical boundaries at all but it still looks very unique, and stylish. Windwaker is a 3d game that people still fawn over the visuals of. I also think it helps that these games have solid gameplay while personally a lot of these modern technical marvels feel like they have little substance as games and mostly rely on being technical achievements.

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#2 Edited by AJStyles (1073 posts) -

Anyone can make a great looking cartoony game. Not impressed by that trash any more. This isn’t 1995.

It takes no effort to make flat/no texture coloured squares everywhere.

Cel shaded graphics scream lazy and bland.

At least with more realistic and highly detailed games, you have more options to create some truly awesome stuff.

I think the only exception to this in the last decade is probably Cuphead because I don’t think we have ever seen that style of graphics in a video game before.

But give it a few more years and the clones will appear and cuphead won’t seem to cool anymore.

With realistic/ultra graphics, there is always room for improvement to look forward too.

Oh and Realistic games don’t age nearly as bad as you claim. That was a problem for N64 games like you mentioned. Those are 1st gen 3D Games and yeah, no fixing that ugly.

Anything with PS3 or above graphics will age just fine.

Some PS2 quality games still look good to this day.

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#3 Edited by BassMan (10648 posts) -

Most modern games that strive for realism look pretty good. Graphics tech has reached a point where it is more about refinement than huge leaps. I don't think modern games will look all that dated in the future because you can compare them to reality already. The old games with low polygon models, low res textures, lack of shaders, etc.. clearly didn't look very real at the time and have aged poorly.

Rendering technology will continue to advance, but I don't believe games like RDR2 will ever look 'bad' in the future because we already have reality as the benchmark. So, if it doesn't look bad compared to reality now, that is not going to change. Future games will be even more convincing and closer to that benchmark, but we are already at the point where there is not going to be any more major leaps. Like I said, it is all about refinement now.

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#4 Posted by Heirren (2323 posts) -

Yeah been sayin. Its the disjointed aspect. The humans just dont animate right. Uncharted 4 made some advancements amd theres some solid performance capture in it, but its still awkward, and make the strive for hyper realistic on the ps3 even more awkward.

On the other end of things you take a game like Metal Gear Solid 4, or go back further to Metal Gear Solid 2, and the human designs still hold up because theres the artist behind the design.

Even the original Metal Gear Solid still looks good, as do a lot of n64 games like Mario 64.

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#5 Edited by warmblur (2983 posts) -

Only the first the gen 3D games like mention on this thread before. There are so many ways and tricks to make old 3D games look better from AI machine learning to ray tracing.

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#6 Posted by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@warmblur:

Ai machine learning lmfao, no. That is one useless tech.

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#7 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@warmblur: Personally I think a lot of ps3 era games already look awkward.

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#8 Posted by Jag85 (13627 posts) -

GoldenEye wasn't really all that cutting-edge when you compare it to Sega Model 3 arcade games at the time. It was Sega Model 3 arcade games like Virtua Fighter 3, SCUD Race, Daytona 2, Get Bass, etc. which had the most cutting-edge graphics around 1996-1997.

Otherwise, I agree with your overall point. Great art design always ages better than technical marvels with bland art design. It's the art design that ultimately determines how well a game will age in the future. Though it's worth noting that it's possible to combine cutting-edge graphics with good art design, like with the Sega Model 3 arcade games I mentioned above which still look good to this day.

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#9 Edited by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@Jag85:

Agreed on Sega model 3 games still looking great. Even model 1 and 2 games still look good.

Still, more technical hardware doesnt mean the graphics will be better. It opens up the designers to more tools and potential, but just because designers of today have almost limitless polygons to work with does not mean a designer cant make a good, even better model with far less.

Im surprised the pc gamers on this forum, being so into the tech, are so quick to dismiss Sega.

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#10 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@Jag85: @Jag85: True Sega Arcade games generally were cutting edge. Galaxy Force looks mindblowing for 1988. I went with Golden eye since it's a game me and my classmates were into back in the day, and back then we generally saw it as cutting edge probably due to being less familiar with Arcade and PC games.

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#11 Posted by Jag85 (13627 posts) -

@heirren: Sega's arcade machines were beasts back in the '90s. They were light years ahead of both PC and consoles. Yet their arcade games also had great art design, with bright colours and designed assets. That's how cutting-edge graphics should be made.

To be fair, both PC and console gamers tend to overlook Sega's arcade machines. That's probably because Sega hasn't made proprietary high-end arcade hardware since the early 2000s.

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#12 Posted by npiet1 (2515 posts) -

A lot of early last gen games look horrible now, but there are a few that stand out which aren't to bad like crysis.

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#13 Posted by WitIsWisdom (5358 posts) -

Probably not so much anymore the last few years and certainly not now, but earlier 3d like on the n64? Most certainly.

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#14 Posted by freedomfreak (51268 posts) -

Yeah, Crysis hasn't aged well.

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#15 Posted by dimebag667 (1303 posts) -

I personally feel like we're already at the point where realistic graphics are yielding diminishing returns. Gameplay always trumps graphics for me, and it's been sacrificed on the altar of polygons for far too long.

I miss when a game made me feel like I was in another world and not just...here.

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#16 Edited by robert_sparkes (3311 posts) -

I tried to go back and play crisis 2 on PS3 it was just not happening. Gameplay is definitely most important in the aging process for me. From the top of my head I can go back and play MGS 1 which hasn't aged well graphically at any time and still enjoy it.

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#17 Posted by warmblur (2983 posts) -

@heirren said:

@warmblur:

Ai machine learning lmfao, no. That is one useless tech.

Troll harder

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#18 Edited by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

Critics praised Tekken 3's graphics realistic 3D graphics but called Street Fighter Alphas 2D cartoon visuals dated looking.

Who was time generous towards?

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#19 Posted by R4gn4r0k (31588 posts) -

@freedomfreak: Nonsense if I ever read it. Show me a 2007 game that aged better than Crysis.

Games with insanely good graphics manage to age really well. I'm playing through Dead Space, Age of Mythology and Doom 3. Games that had very progressive graphics in their day. And they still manage to hold up today.

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#20 Posted by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k: That's a good point. Dead Space (along with Metal Gear Solid 2) are good examples of games with some objectively low textures, even for that time frame, that just got around it with exceptional presentation.

I mean, I remember watching this on a shitty 28k modem on a brick mac in class with its terrible quicktime player and it still looks good.

Loading Video...

Meanwhile, even up until Splinter Cell 3 in 2004 (which itself had far superior in-game graphics), it used shitty pre-rendered crap. Same with parts of Double Agent, awful looking intro that's positively embarrassing compared to Metal Gear Solid 2's which came half a decade earlier.

Loading Video...

When we are talking PS1 era, most in-engine stuff would look like shit with a goof reason to use FMVs. But games that used the technoligy and talent of PS2+ hardware like MGS2 looked amazing while Ubisoft remained very behind the curb in that regard.

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#21 Edited by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@warmblur said:
@heirren said:

@warmblur:

Ai machine learning lmfao, no. That is one useless tech.

Troll harder

It really is. When is it useful?

@uninspiredcup:

Tekken 3 is a game that still looks pretty good. Mgs2 as well, as i also pointed out.

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#22 Posted by Ant_17 (12862 posts) -

That died when indie games started existing.

Now ugly PS1 games are pretty.

Deadly Premenition is a cult classic that from day 1 looked like trash.

Dated doesn't exist anymore.

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#23 Posted by warmblur (2983 posts) -

@heirren said:
@warmblur said:
@heirren said:

@warmblur:

Ai machine learning lmfao, no. That is one useless tech.

Troll harder

It really is. When is it useful?

https://www.logikk.com/articles/machine-learning-in-game-development/

Loading Video...
Loading Video...

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#24 Edited by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@warmblur:

Im not seeing how machine learning is a prime factor in all those. Some, perhaps. Ai goes without saying but that has been going on for ages.

When i think machine learning i think Amazon recommending products i never considered buying, or talking to bots as customer service. I think way down the road as games evolve more into a vr theatrical type experience is when those buzz words will occur.

Nvidia needs to please investors. Their stock dropped about 300% from this time last year, i believe, so of course theyre going to throw around buzz words.

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#25 Posted by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

I never believed this crap. Crysis doesn't look worse now than it did fifteen years ago. Neither does Super Mario 64. If you couldn't see the flaws back then, there is something wrong with your brain.

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#26 Posted by judaspete (3129 posts) -

I think moder games look genuinely good now, but have to agree with the OP when it comes to facial animation. "Realistic" facial animations look creepy right now. I actually prefer games from last gen in this regard, where they were still cartoony enough not to trick your brain for a second. It's that split second of dissonance that makes them weird now.

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#27 Posted by Jag85 (13627 posts) -

@uninspiredcup said:

@R4gn4r0k: That's a good point. Dead Space (along with Metal Gear Solid 2) are good examples of games with some objectively low textures, even for that time frame, that just got around it with exceptional presentation.

I mean, I remember watching this on a shitty 28k modem on a brick mac in class with its terrible quicktime player and it still looks good.

The PS2 hardware had the weakest texture quality of that generation (worse than the Dreamcast). Despite this, MGS2 was a brilliant showcase of the PS2's biggest technical advantage over the competition: the physics and partial effects. Even the Xbox and GameCube couldn't quite pull off the groundbreaking physics and particle effects showcased by MGS2 on the PS2.

As for presentation, that goes back to my original point: art design. That's what ages well. Metal Gear Solid 2 still looks good today because it had solid art design.

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#28 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@ezekiel43: Super Mario 64 was never realistic looking. It's very cartoony and abstract.

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#29 Posted by BaelNergal (570 posts) -

Cartoony games tend to age better, from what I've seen. Those and the old arcade games are the ones without a diminishing demand for rerelease, while most games that strive for hyperrealism tend to very quickly slide into Uncanny Valley and then too-awkward-to-play for many.

Take CoD: Modern Warfare. It isn't getting a remake just because Activision likes money; it's getting one because the game still has player demand, but there are a lot of players who find even the remaster to be too dated. And that game has not aged anywhere near as badly as a game like Goldeneye.

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#30 Posted by R4gn4r0k (31588 posts) -

@uninspiredcup: Oh yeah, I'm not a big fan of FMV's either. When they are encoded in 480p they just look horrible today. In engine videos that get upscaled to modern resolutions hold up way better.

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#31 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k: I thought the FMVs in Abes Odyssey and Exodus have aged very well personally.

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#32 Posted by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@doomnukem3d said:

@R4gn4r0k: I thought the FMVs in Abes Odyssey and Exodus have aged very well personally.

They are, but that's the exception.

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#33 Posted by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

@doomnukem3d said:

@ezekiel43: Super Mario 64 was never realistic looking. It's very cartoony and abstract.

Cartoon games and realistic games age the same.

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#34 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@ezekiel43: ok I misread but your other game you used as your point was much newer. Goldeneye is closer to Mario 64 and hasnt aged near as well.

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#35 Posted by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

@doomnukem3d said:

@ezekiel43: ok I misread but your other game you used as your point was much newer. Goldeneye is closer to Mario 64 and hasnt aged near as well.

GoldenEye used to look realistic to you? Or impressive? Come on, stop kidding yourself. The game never "aged." The simplicity of its graphics was always very apparent.

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#36 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

@ezekiel43: It looked realistic and impressive to me when I was in 3rd grade :p

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#37 Posted by Jag85 (13627 posts) -

@ezekiel43: It's all a matter of perspective. If GoldenEye was the best graphics you had seen, then it was going to look the most "realistic". But if you had seen Sega Model 3 arcade games back then, then those would've been your benchmark of "realistic" and GoldenEye wouldn't have looked so "realistic" anymore.

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#38 Edited by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@ezekiel43 said:

Cartoon games and realistic games age the same.

Nope. Stylized games omit detail, simplify form and manipulate it. Far better suited for limited technology and generally ages better, especially in 2D.

Japanese games in particular age well thanks to their stellar anime work, featuring some of the most talented artists around - people like Akira Toriyama.

A good comparison is digitized sprites Mortal Kombat compared to hand-drawn SNK or Capcom titles.

Mortal Kombat looks like (and has always played like) janky shit, while these remain timeless in quality.

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#39 Edited by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@ezekiel43: It's all a matter of perspective. If GoldenEye was the best graphics you had seen, then it was going to look the most "realistic". But if you had seen Sega Model 3 arcade games back then, then those would've been your benchmark of "realistic" and GoldenEye wouldn't have looked so "realistic" anymore.

But GoldenEye never looked realistic to you, unless you were a moron or had 240p vision in '97. It doesn't look any shittier now than it did twenty years ago. My benchmark of realistic is reality. If you can't enjoy the visuals of a good looking game aiming for realism ten years later, then I pity you.

@uninspiredcup: That's a lot of effort to say nothing. Mortal Kombat always looked like janky shit.

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#40 Edited by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@ezekiel43 said:
@Jag85 said:

@ezekiel43: It's all a matter of perspective. If GoldenEye was the best graphics you had seen, then it was going to look the most "realistic". But if you had seen Sega Model 3 arcade games back then, then those would've been your benchmark of "realistic" and GoldenEye wouldn't have looked so "realistic" anymore.

But GoldenEye never looked realistic to you, unless you were a moron or had 240p vision in '97. It doesn't look any shittier now than it did twenty years ago. My benchmark of realistic is reality.

@uninspiredcup: That's a lot of effort to say nothing. Mortal Kombat always looked like "janky shit."

I literally just distributed the fundamentals of good art to you. If you don't get it, that's your fault, not mine.

In fact, this post, if any comes across as "nothing" as you're effectively ignoring everything else to purely focus on the personal opinion to dismiss it. Which seems to be a reoccurring theme with any dissenting opinion in regards to this subject.

Here, read literally the first paragraphs of this. And look at the following image.

You see how that girls face uses as little lines as possible with no sharp edges other than the (not reality) sharp cube like planes of her hair? Using deliberately simplified tones of whites whiter and darks darker? Where he's using line in one direction to direct the viewer eye at a specific up/right angle?

The person who drew that wasn't copying reality, he was manipulating it to produce a more appealing image.

This is what anime, American comic books, all sorts of shit do because replicating reality, isn't as appealing. Superheros are 9 foot tall, woman have hips impossible. Everyone has eye-whites whiter than reality. Woman faces have almost no features beyond a few lines. Mens faces emphasize hard planes by being as sharp and angular as possible.

Again, this isn't complicated. Any college art student or someone who's read a basic book will know this so, i'm genuinely baffled as to how someone so vocal on the subject can be so mystified by it.

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#41 Edited by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

Mortal Kombat still looks great. It reminds me of John Carpenter a bit, the overall look. Very creative and the stage designs are something ive always been a fan of. By MK3 the stage desings were very alive and everything really melded with the characters amd animation. Mk3--gotta love the combos in that one.

Thats good work

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#42 Edited by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@heirren said:

@uninspiredcup:

Mortal Kombat still looks great. It reminds me of John Carpenter a bit, the overall look. Very creative and the stage designs are something ive always been a fan of. By MK3 the stage desings were very alive and everything really melded with the characters amd animation. Mk3--gotta love the combos in that one.

Digitized sprites with real actors in games like Pit fighter and MK were dropped relatively briefly because they aged poorly and better options where available. Hand-drawn art, even after 3D became the norm persisted long after and still continues (and looks great) to this day. A good example being Skullgirls.

-

I never liked MK, I think it mainly got where it was because of controversy as a substitute for poor gameplay. I went back and played it a few months back to see if it was nostalgia goggles and it really was.

Games like KOF98, Street Fighter II, Last Samurai etc... hold up and are still played at tournaments. In fact, SFIIHD ended up being one of my most played Switch games over BOTW and Mario: Odyssey.

Even when NR took over it still wasn't good imo.

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#43 Edited by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

@uninspiredcup: Congrats on making yourself look intellectual while completely ignoring the subject. It's not about which looks better or about stylized reality, it's about graphics aiming for realism looking worse with time, which is made up. How do they look worse five years later? Explain! You can't find visual flaws in the latest Battlefield right now? Stop bullshitting yourself. Those flaws won't magically start appearing with time.

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#44 Posted by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

Im not drawing comparison to those games, im saying the campiness fits MK. They still look good, especially mk3.

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#45 Posted by uninspiredcup (34938 posts) -

@heirren said:

@uninspiredcup:

Im not drawing comparison to those games, im saying the campiness fits MK. They still look good, especially mk3.

Some of the backgrounds look ok'ish for the most part (nowhere near the quality of SNK) but the actual in-game models and animations are poo compared to their senpai counterparts.

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#46 Posted by Heirren (2323 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

Again i think it fits and they accomplished what they were going for. The animation in mk3 has its own look to it. It has character, like NBA Jam.

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#47 Posted by Speeny (1960 posts) -

Great question. Me personally, I don't know. Only because graphics have never really mattered to me.

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#48 Edited by Jag85 (13627 posts) -

@ezekiel43 said:
@Jag85 said:

@ezekiel43: It's all a matter of perspective. If GoldenEye was the best graphics you had seen, then it was going to look the most "realistic". But if you had seen Sega Model 3 arcade games back then, then those would've been your benchmark of "realistic" and GoldenEye wouldn't have looked so "realistic" anymore.

But GoldenEye never looked realistic to you, unless you were a moron or had 240p vision in '97. It doesn't look any shittier now than it did twenty years ago. My benchmark of realistic is reality. If you can't enjoy the visuals of a good looking game aiming for realism ten years later, then I pity you.

@uninspiredcup: That's a lot of effort to say nothing. Mortal Kombat always looked like janky shit.

Nope. GoldenEye looks objectively worse today than it did 20 years ago. Back in '97, everyone played GoldenEye on native analog 240p CRT televisions. Today, most people can only play it on digital HD LCD displays. That makes a huge difference to the quality of the image. On an analog 240p CRT display, there were no scaling issues, the scanlines and phosphors masked the flaws, the phosphors created a type of bloom lighting effect, and the overall image was smoother but slightly blurry.

The end result was that GoldenEye looked much more "realistic" on a '90s CRT TV than it does today on a HD LCD display. The game was designed for analog CRT display technology. A lot of PS1/N64 games look horrible today because we're looking at them with digital LCD in a digital age, rather than with analog CRT as gamers saw them back in the '90s.

And like I said, I didn't think GoldenEye's graphics were all that great back then. I had been to the arcades and seen the Sega Model 3, which blew PC and console games out of the water. That was my benchmark back then. But for console gamers, GoldenEye was the benchmark.

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#49 Edited by Ezekiel43 (1788 posts) -

@Jag85 said:
@ezekiel43 said:
@Jag85 said:

@ezekiel43: It's all a matter of perspective. If GoldenEye was the best graphics you had seen, then it was going to look the most "realistic". But if you had seen Sega Model 3 arcade games back then, then those would've been your benchmark of "realistic" and GoldenEye wouldn't have looked so "realistic" anymore.

But GoldenEye never looked realistic to you, unless you were a moron or had 240p vision in '97. It doesn't look any shittier now than it did twenty years ago. My benchmark of realistic is reality. If you can't enjoy the visuals of a good looking game aiming for realism ten years later, then I pity you.

@uninspiredcup: That's a lot of effort to say nothing. Mortal Kombat always looked like janky shit.

Nope. GoldenEye looks objectively worse today than it did 20 years ago. Back in '97, everyone played GoldenEye on native analog 240p CRT televisions. Today, most people can only play it on digital HD LCD displays. That makes a huge difference to the quality of the image. On an analog 240p CRT display, there were no scaling issues, the scanlines and phosphors masked the flaws, the phosphors created a type of bloom lighting effect, and the overall image was smoother but slightly blurry.

The end result was that GoldenEye looked much more "realistic" on a '90s CRT TV than it does today on a HD LCD display. The game was designed for analog CRT display technology. A lot of PS1/N64 games look horrible today because we're looking at them with digital LCD in a digital age, rather than with analog CRT as gamers saw them back in the '90s.

And like I said, I didn't think GoldenEye's graphics were all that great back then. I had been to the arcades and seen the Sega Model 3, which blew PC and console games out of the water. That was my benchmark back then. But for console gamers, GoldenEye was the benchmark.

I always found this argument completely baseless. I'd rather play Banjo Kazooie in 1920x1440 than in 240i. The flaws are always apparent, whether you're looking at it in HD or through another layer of blurriness. I'd rather have the clarity, so that I can see the flaws AND beauty perfectly. Even if it was true, you can still buy CRT TVs or try to mimick the look.

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#50 Posted by DoomNukem3D (396 posts) -

I kind of like the janky look of MK, but Narc probably looks a lot smoother.