A very common argument for why a game is amazing or why a system is better is graphics. "good" graphics are very pleasing to the trained eye and many a time i found myself wanting to buy a game only because of the fact that the graphics were so sexy.
before i go any further, id like to say i am a ps3 owner. i know little about games for other systems, so i will mainly use ps3 games as examples but not to tout sonys 500$ horn.i enjoy my
system greatly and i have no hate for the other systems and i will not say anything biased in this.
so why so graphics sell? has the gaming industry really become so blown out of proportion that developers have to spend an entire year making ONE game just so it can look up to par with the current generation? insomniac makes great games, ratchet and clank was there first big title, and resistance was a good launch title, but they make about one game a year now, actually, less than that. developers shouldn't have to spend that much time on graphics. i don't care how good it ends up looking. graphics are nice, and they sell games, but they aren't what make a game good. this is proven with gamespot's new scoring system. for the most part, they have been relentless on ignoring really "good" graphics and only looking at the gameplay and features of the game. being a ps3 owner it has been quite frustraiting watching seemingly "good" games get seemingly "low" scores, but they are not being biased, they are just ignoring what is arguable the ps3's best feature. that being said, i don't think that gamespot is biased towards the 360, i think they are biased towards fps games.
anyway, why do dev's spend enormous amounts of time on "tightening up the graphics" instead of making multiple great games that are a little grainy every year? i wouldnt mind 2 r&c games every year or halo being a 20 volume series instead of 3 spread over the life of 2 systems and 6 years. many believe graphics will only get better too, that by next year we will look back and laugh at certain games graphics in comparison. i disagree.
though the update in graphics between last gen and this gen is severely noticable, think about how much less noticable it is then when the nintendo 64 came out. before that there werent even 3d envirnoments, and story lines consisted of reading text and picture of peoples faces. nintendo 64 was a huge leap in graphic power, yet it was only 32 bits higher than the previous snes graphics power.
the difference between this gen and last gen is probably at least 1000 bits, i take that back, the difference probably cant even be measured in bits anymore. yet how much of a difference is there honestly? i remember being so uber impressed when gamecube came out, because it looks so real. i thought wow, i didnt think it could get any better. i remember seeing playstation 3 graphics for the first time and thinking wow, i dont think it can get any better. i fear that it honestly cannot this time though. lets take an objective look at the evolution of graphics. the original nintendo entertainment system was 16 bit graphics. (bare with me, i did 0 research on this subject but ill get the point across)
super nintendo has about 32.
nintendo 64 had 64 bit (i bet some of you just realized the significance of the number 64. i lol at you)
playstation had 60, but nobody could really tell.
gamecube and ps2 had 256 bits while xbox had probably slightly more knowing microsoft, but im not sure.
wow, the number increased almost 5fold, but was anything new really introduced other than more details? not really. mayb more disc space but thats irrelevant.
the graphics of xbox 360 and ps3 are (lets face it ) about equal. the graphic power went up so much from last gen i doubt it can be measured in bits accurately therefore i cannot produce an estimated number for you. but it went up exponentially as usual (i.e. x2 x2 x2 x5 x>5).
how much better are the graphics than the last gen? to be honest, in the ways noticeable not much. but yet it is still impressive to once again see an increase in detail, even though the theoretical difference is minimal.
lets pick on the wii for a minute. sorry i lied. everyone who refuses to buy a wii uses the power of it as there reasoning, yet look at games like mario galaxy and metroid prime: corruption. i know many of you will stop reading after i say this, but those games proved the wii is almost up to par. when watching metroid prime 3 at my friends house, i felt like i was watching next gen, and for the first time at his house i knew wii was next gen truely. but those of us who wont buy a wii are right, the power difference is extreme, so why can such a weak system produce such visuals?
heres my point, because though the power increases exponentially, the visual difference decreases exponentially.
yes the graphics of halo 3 are a lot better than the graphics of halo 1 or 2, but think how much more impressive halo 1's graphics are compared to the original fps goldeneye. which difference is greater? hopefully you all realize it is the latter. the power merely increased 5fold from nintendo 64 to xbox, while xbox to xbox360 was probably somewhere in the range of 10 or 20fold increase in power.
Why do graphics sell games when we are forever approaching the very near limits of graphical power? look back at some n64 reviews here on gamespot, you'll get a good laugh on how they highly praise the graphics of some of the killer apps. graphics can only be impressive for a time, and i think that time in this generation has passed. developers need to make more games for their systems instead of 1 good one. they can make more money and make way more profit. a game should sell based on gameplay, content, and in my opinion uniqueness. praising graphics on any system is obsolete compared to direct x10 on windows vista, and even that fails to impress me.
i wish consumers would stop admiring huge interactive game worlds with refined details down to every last crack in the wall, and start praising games for good or unique game play (yes, this is a direct and blatant bash on all fps titles. i hate all fps because no matter how you make it, it plays and feels the same every time.). Lair and heavenly sword are the perfect 2 examples to use for this theory, factor five and ninja theory spent over a year tuning their graphics and making everything look natural and realistic, yet to be honest neither game is that great, in fact lair is a terible game. if they had spent as much time tuning the feeling of the sixaxis steering as they did on making the water and fire look realistic, that would have been a killer app and a very unique experience.
dont let your eyes give your money away, feel a game before you buy it.