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How Important Are Graphics Really?

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This is something I have been debating with a lot of people about including myself (ever since I got a Wii) and I honestly I want to here some varied opioions on this issue.

In my opinion, graphics now-a-days don't seem too important for one major reason, How much better are they gonna actually get. X-box 360, PC, and PS3 games look really good now but lets say they get almost or even possibly photo realistic in the later years. What happens then? Let's say with the next gen consoles (X-box 540, PS4) that you would not be able to tell the difference between something real in front of you and the in-game graphics. What happens then? You can't look more realistic than real. In fact this study I read about IGN said that the human eye could not tell the difference between 1080p resoultion and anything higher than 1080p. Basically anything higher than 1080p would not really look better than 1080p to our eyes. That is why I like the Wii because I think it is taking the true next step in gaming, and that is changing the way we actually play games. I'm not saying anything bad about the other systems but honestly what are they going to do when they can't make there games look any better than what is already in front of you.

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So Not only dose this topic end up in the Wii, PS3 and Xbox306 thread, it gets it own...

I think I can safely say yeha there important, no there not every thing.

Yes game play is important, no its not everything.

I think that the general agreement here is that there needs to be a balance. (correct me if I am wrong.)

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Dude. Grammar. Spelling. Please.

So not only does this topic end up in the Wii, PS3 and Xbox306 threads, it gets it own...

I think I can safely say, yeah, they're important, no they're not everything.

Yes, game play is important, no, it's not everything.

I think that the general agreement here is that there needs to be a balance. (correct me if I am wrong.)

Fixéd.

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So Not only dose this topic end up in the Wii, PS3 and Xbox306 thread, it gets it own...

I think I can safely say yeha there important, no there not every thing.

Yes game play is important, no its not everything.

I think that the general agreement here is that there needs to be a balance. (correct me if I am wrong.)

Sorry I wasn't aware that this has been posted before and I really did try looking for a topic like this before I started this one.

And I completely agree that there should be a balance between the two.

I guess my real question is how important are graphics now that they almost photorealistic. How much better can they really get before you can't tell the difference anymore.

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In this day and age, graphics are important now that 3D technology has developed tremeandously in the last ten years. Though ultimately, I think that now with the new consoles on the market and pretty much all games have good graphics, games can't just rely on beauty of graphics alone to make a game sell. Once they get the content down, then that's what sets a good game apart from a mediocre game.

Basically, good graphics are pretty much part of the required ingredients for a game, and not just more flavoring on the cake like it once was.

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Graphics is just important insofar as not looking out of place for the style the game presents itself as.

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I rather see the AI pushed to the max before graphics.

A point needing more emphasis.

Ever played a Medal of Honor game? The AI is terrible. *shudder*

Boss fights with really obvious patterns should be a thing of yesteryear by now.

As for graphics; depending on the game, they need to suit the style. Adventure and fps games need a greater level of immersion; part of this is graphics (Oblivion, HL2, FEAR, Project Offset, Assasin's Creed and the like), but other things need to change, such as the age-old 'health bar' and HUD (With the exception of games like Metroid Prime, in which the HUD further increases the immersion).

Puzzle games don't really need to look any better than they already do, imo. They're often based on abstract ideas, and utilise simple graphics, primary and secondary colours.. that's about it. You can only make Tetris or Bejewlled look so good, y'know?

Most current rts games have a good graphical standard, and something that needs to be worked on in this genre is efficiency of the game engine, rather than graphics or AI (AI in rts has been good for quite a while imo). It sucks to have several hundred units on-screen, only to lag out/framerate/whatever.

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They're only important to keep things from getting stale visually, and for leaving room for some genius to say "I have a completely unique vision for a game that can only be implemented with the XBox360's power". Sure you can go back and enjoy old games, and even enjoy the graphics, because they are unique to the game.

Now, there is such a thing called a difference in art styles, which can be achieved on the same system. So in this sense it's not really necessary to achieve a boost in processing power or whatever, unless someone has a vision for a gameplay that requires system power not available to the public yet.

I enjoy Xenogears a lot even though the graphics are pretty horrendous (I never even noticed/cared, until someone played it a few years later than me and pointed it out; and even now I can still enjoy it, mainly because of the story). But let's say they boosted the graphics to look at special and 3d. Congratulations, you're playing the same exact game except you're focusing on the graphics, leaving less budget for the other aspects of the game.

Budget is a key factor in this whole discussion, actually. If a company has a huge amount of money, let them use it on all aspects of a game. FF12 is a pretty well-rounded game. Xenosaga, while visually stunning and directed really well movie-wise (yet the rest of the game is not really much of a "game"), made its sequels fall short. (The director of Xenosaga I reaally overspent his budget, which made him have to take a back seat for the next game. I think he had a larger role in the third game, but still neither sequel were). I'm going on a bit of a tangent, but it also brings up the point that it really depends on the person playing the games. I happen to love Xenosaga I. I wouldn't have liked it as much if was on the SNES. People play games for different reasons, no matter how many people say ONLY GAMEPLAY MATTERS.

I think Metroid Prime achieves a good purpose that involves a stunning level of detail and 3-d-ness, while still making the gameplay enjoyable. But let's say you downgraded the graphics down to the level of Super Metroid. Congratulations, you're just playing Super Metroid again with different level designs, and leaving less mobility which makes the game as a whole unique.

One thing's for certain: as soon as the limit is reached, we'll see more innovation, which goes back to my 2nd paragraph.

I just made all this up without thinking beforehand except for reflections on my past experiences, so yay.

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I think we are all forgetting one key thing. People require a certain graphical beauty to emerge from a game to be interested in it. I'm not talking about gamers here, just regular people.

In my video classes, they teah us that the more realistic and flowing the scene, the more drawn into the experience the user will be. Amateur videos on youtube do not capture this as well as a major motion picture because of stupid things like color correction, camera placement, editing techniques, and such. A high budget film does it's best to immerse the audience in the world created by the film.

Video games appeal to the masses because people can see and hear what's going on, and then they realize that they are not just watching it, they are part of it! Non-gamers will look at the NES metroid and say "What the hell is that little orange and red blob shooting those pellets?" Non-gamers look at Metroid Prime and say "Did you see that purple dragon? Shoot him!"

Its not just gamers anymore, the general public is involved now, and they are expecting the games that we as gamers claim as "epic and exciting" to actually be that way. There's nothing epic about a little peach and green blob whacking another red blob with a brown stick. What is that same scene now? Its a dashing young knight clad in green tunic heroically battling a menacing sorceror/beast.

To us, both are just Link and Ganon fighting.

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Graphics have ALWAYS been a major selling point. In the 80s the Spectrum/Intellivision (Can't remember which) boasted about having cartoon-like quality instead of the blocky Atari standard.

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I think that the ability to process higher polygon counts is important to a certain degree. It allows for developeres to have more freedom to do what they want with a game and not hinder the gaming experience. It is important that the environment be immersive. But this doesn't always mean better graphics = better game. In order for a game to be breath taking, a number of factors need to be considered such as graphics, sound, story, and gameplay. No single one of these factors decides the immersive quality of a game.

It should be noted that as human beings, we tend to be more connect more to the physical, such as the visuals and audio of a game. Therefore, the graphics and sound have a stronger influence. But I guess this is kind of off topic.

I guess the question you want to ask is how good is good enough, graphically? It really is a qualitative answer. Some say that simulating real life is the ultimate goal graphically. In this way, the gamer can relate to the game the most and be able to draw out more sensations from it. But this is more of a sense of virtualization. This is the aspect of gaming that is fantasy, being able to do something in a controlled environment rather than in real life which prohibits you to do so. I guess, very loosely, it's hedonistic.

Though this simulation of real life is a mode or style a game may take on, it is irrevelant to the definition of a game. A game is really defined some environment which is placed under certain conditions and has some sort of goal in the end. How these get portrayed is totally different from game to game. I personally find pleasure in conquering what these conditions are in order to complete the goal.

The line where graphics are good enough might be where our physical hardware, our eyes, can no longer distinguish between some number of polygons and another. This would probably sate the most adamant debater.

But as a factor in a game, graphics bring only a visual interface. The philosophy of the game has to be reevaluated to determine its importance.

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IMO, little if any.

Yes, its the "I only care about gameplay" argument, which is true. But I grew up playing Galaga and Donkey Kong, and damned if I didn't have fun doing it. Probably just as much fun as I have with a game now.

Also, the line is being blurred between the generations. I mean, a jump from the 8-bit to 16-bit was pretty noticeable, but really... I can't tell a whole lot of difference from the PS2/Cube/Xbox generation to the PS3/Wii/360 generation. I suspect the next jump will be even smaller, graphically.

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I will speak from the experience of playing Oblivion, jumping from an X800 (beastly in its time) to an 8800GTX (holy-fuck-beastly).

I loved Oblivion with just the X800.

Now, it's godly.

Decide for yourself

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I honestly don't care all that much about graphics. I've played Portrait of Ruin much longer than I have Oblivion. I'm not going to pretend that sweet graphics are pretty damn awesome though. Got my PC ready to go for Crysis, now it's just a matter of waiting for it to come out.

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Graphics are a lesser selling point.

It's been said a million times; gameplay is a lot more important. Visuals are a part of gameplay, but they are certainly not as important as the last few generations of gaming has held them to be.

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I care about the graphics quality of games. It adds to the enveloping experience and it's more fun for me to have eyecandy to look at - that's all there is to it.

It only really irks me though if people aren't using the POTENTIAL graphics power available on a given system - I don't really care if X system is capable of better graphics than Y system. But that's part of why I don't usually care for the first "wave" of games to come out with a system because they all essentially look like the previous generation. I'll only get a first wave game if it's really, really good.

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Course they are. King Kong wouldn't nearly have been as kick arse if I didn't actually think I was there. Heck, I was sweating on my 17' LCD, so I can't wait to pick it up cheap for 360 down the line.

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Graphics are really important. They're called video games for a reason. Bad graphics (art direction, technical implementation, etc.) can really ruin the experience a game delivers.

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Oh yay, this argument again.

Frankly, I consider graphics very important in a game, properly used they help to suspend disbelief, immerse the player in the game and allow more beautifull and realistic environments (for example: Farcy, and it's successor Crysis).

Whether or not graphics are more important than gameplay is a stupid debate really. Games are enjoyed because they're interactive, and the interaction is enjoyed because it's (hopefully) designed well. The graphics of a game are there to lure and immerse the player in the game world.

Even if/when we reach the capability for video/photorealistic graphics (we are not there by far) such power will allow for more visual styles, effects and sheer possibilities than normally possible.

So while there's always an obvious balance that has to be maintained among the various elements when developing a game, better graphics will always benefit games.

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I say/quote this every time this thread comes up.

"Good graphics can't save a bad game. But they can take a good game and turn it into a great one."

I've never heard it summed up better than that.

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