Appreciating Graphics

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , ,


A few days ago I was commenting on a game and stated that the graphics were very well done. I then went on to qualify my remark by saying that gameplay is the most important aspect, but if the graphics were well done, I felt I should mention them. The more I think about it, the more I’m annoyed that I qualified that at all. Why is it a bad thing to compliment graphics?

In my case, I’ve always been a gameplay first kind of guy, and have therefore created the image of someone that not only doesn’t pay attention to graphical presentation, but might even be put off by a game with better than usual graphical design. Essentially, my qualification was to avoid having someone call me hypocritical for decrying graphical performance, then praising it in a game I like. The problem is, I’m not that guy.

Okay, it is true that pretty graphics alone won’t win me over. Ryse looks gorgeous, but the gameplay I’ve seen is a major turn off to me. Why do we still have QTE in this generation? Has anyone every written a developer begging for more of these? No one I know likes these things even slightly! Ahem…but I digress.



As consoles have gotten more advanced, it almost seems like video game fans have been separated into two groups against our will. One group are the worshipers of crisp, amazing graphics, while the other group dismiss graphics out of hand and believe they add no value to a game. The problem with this is that it’s really not at all true. Yes, there are players that demand the most out of their graphics, but they also expect good gameplay to pull them into the world those graphics create. Conversely, those people that point back to the NES as proof that gameplay trumps all else, are still quick to note when a game looks fantastic. This is a debate that has almost become political. You’re only allowed to identify yourself as a Democrat or a Republican, so to speak, when in reality, there is a ton of gray area.

I’ll openly admit belonging to the latter group, those that would be looked upon as totally dismissing graphics. While it’s true that I don’t demand anything groundbreaking in the presentation of what I play, I do still appreciate it when a game just looks amazing. For example, when I first played Bioshock, I made my wife come in and watch the opening scenes because I was so impressed with what the developers had been able to do with the presentation of the game. Rapture was a tremendous joy to explore, and the graphical presentation made a huge difference in that. On the other side of the coin, NIER is often cited as having sub-par graphics, and was criticized in many a review for them, except I thought the graphics were fantastic. No, they weren’t Bioshock, but they were still detailed and stylistic.

One minute in, and I was immediately impressed.

One minute in, and I was immediately impressed.

I will not apologize for thinking the visuals of this game are fantastic.

I will not apologize for thinking the visuals of this game are fantastic.

This is what I mean when I say graphics aren’t as important as gameplay. I’m not saying they can be totally dismissed and everything should be 8 bit, I’m only saying that I don’t really consider them when I’m playing a game. They may add to my enjoyment of the game (Bioshock), but they never take away from my enjoyment (NIER). To me, with very few exceptions, graphics are just gravy. They enhance something I’m already enjoying. Many people would disagree with that statement, and that’s fine. It only means that their enjoyment is derived differently than mine. It’s not a right or a wrong, it’s just the way we play and perceive games that differs. In this situation, like so many others, there really is no such thing as black and white.

A full-fledged update might be more than just gravy.

A full-fledged update might be more than just gravy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s