Death to Good Graphics!

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Fredrick2003:

ChromeAlchemist:

Fredrick2003:
I don't understand why everyone seems to be obsessed with game length.

Having longer hallways, unnecessary cut-scenes, and more of the same enemy in the same rooms doesn't make a game "better", nor does it imply more "value".

But having a variety of levels and missions, more options and improved game mechanics does make a game better and gives it more value for money.

Agreed, but it seems that all too often "professional" reviewers will only mention the length of the game, not what it entails.

For example, a first person shooter could be around 3 hours long, and they will say something along the lines of "for 3 hours, this game is not worth your $60".

On the other hand, they could be reviewing an RPG, and say something along the lines of "the main story clocks in at around 80 hours, so you are definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck". But... They don't point out that 60 of those hours are pointless grinding and 10 more are annoying minigames.

I guess I just want more specifics in my reviews in general, honestly.

No doubt 3 hours of quality is better than 10 hours of crap, I mean I finished CoD 4 in about 4 hours and it's still one of the best fps I've played in a while.

The fact that games are getting more expensive means that people want a much fuller game with a worthwhile length. At times a 3 hour game may as well be a 40/$60 demo. It becomes instant gratification that just wasn't worth the money in the end, kind of like fast food. To me, this must be why reviewers talk about game length the way they do.

If you bought a game priced at what it is now, and it lasted you two days, would you not feel cheated?

I think most ppl prefer innovative ideas and good value for money to JUST blinding graphics. A mix of the two is preferable.

"Yes, there are mainstream game reviewers out there who are obsessed with graphics and spend their non-gaming hours masturbating to the NVIDIA product catalog."

That made my day, the trouble is its so true its almost scary. There is nothing wrong with innovation - how can we get the mainstream developers to realise that. (Mirrors Edge was a step in the right direction, even though the game was pretty average. But at least it was trying to be something different.)

0p3rati0n:

Kiutu:
If it aint fun, it aint fun. Graphics do not MAKE games fun. They can only augment it, but graphics that augment fun usually are considered bad graphics.

then there would be more people buying Wiis >_>

Well graphic whores are still around and the Wii has alot of trashy games actually. Seems like wanna-be developers enjoy using the Wii as a system to experiment on and lots of garbage comes out of it. While browsing my local Gamestop I decided to see what Wii games were available out of curiosity. Alot of it were lame party games or odd...things. I would not call em games though.

ChromeAlchemist:

Fredrick2003:

ChromeAlchemist:

Fredrick2003:
I don't understand why everyone seems to be obsessed with game length.

Having longer hallways, unnecessary cut-scenes, and more of the same enemy in the same rooms doesn't make a game "better", nor does it imply more "value".

But having a variety of levels and missions, more options and improved game mechanics does make a game better and gives it more value for money.

Agreed, but it seems that all too often "professional" reviewers will only mention the length of the game, not what it entails.

For example, a first person shooter could be around 3 hours long, and they will say something along the lines of "for 3 hours, this game is not worth your $60".

On the other hand, they could be reviewing an RPG, and say something along the lines of "the main story clocks in at around 80 hours, so you are definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck". But... They don't point out that 60 of those hours are pointless grinding and 10 more are annoying minigames.

I guess I just want more specifics in my reviews in general, honestly.

No doubt 3 hours of quality is better than 10 hours of crap, I mean I finished CoD 4 in about 4 hours and it's still one of the best fps I've played in a while.

The fact that games are getting more expensive means that people want a much fuller game with a worthwhile length. At times a 3 hour game may as well be a 40/$60 demo. It becomes instant gratification that just wasn't worth the money in the end, kind of like fast food. To me, this must be why reviewers talk about game length the way they do.

If you bought a game priced at what it is now, and it lasted you two days, would you not feel cheated?

Well it really depends on the game. Many people (reviewers in particular, it seems) think that $90 was too much for Time Crisis 4 on Playstation 3. I love the Time Crisis series to death, and I have won my share of tournaments, and I can finish every game in the series on one credit. Time Crisis 4 was worth $90 to me, I don't care that it lasts "less than an hour".

Fredrick2003:
-snip-

That's fair, but for many people and reviewers, if a game (not using TC4 as an example, those games tend to have a great deal of lasting appeal) has replay value of two hours and isn't an arcade port, then it's not worth the money if it was full price at retail. I'm sure there are many people who would gladly fork over a large amount of money for a game that lasts a small amount of hours, but I think they would be in the minority, and reviewers cater to the majority first and foremost.

All in all though, lasting appeal is important for gamers who can't afford all the AAA titles that come out in such quick succession (employed or not). Much of the time I would assume that it's important to know if this game is going to last you however long it takes for you to muster up some more money to buy the next title that appeals to you, or if it's going to last you two days and gives you little else to return, probably causing you to return it (in which case it might as well be a rental, which I guess lasting appeal could be the difference between that or a buy).

EDIT: Also have you played Portal? If so would you not feel cheated if it cost you however much a full price 360/PS3 game costs you after you had completed it after two or three hours/days?

ChromeAlchemist:

Fredrick2003:
-snip-

That's fair, but for many people and reviewers, if a game (not using TC4 as an example, those games tend to have a great deal of lasting appeal) has replay value of two hours and isn't an arcade port, then it's not worth the money if it was full price at retail. I'm sure there are many people who would gladly fork over a large amount of money for a game that lasts a small amount of hours, but I think they would be in the minority, and reviewers cater to the majority first and foremost.

All in all though, lasting appeal is important for gamers who can't afford all the AAA titles that come out in such quick succession (employed or not). Much of the time I would assume that it's important to know if this game is going to last you however long it takes for you to muster up some more money to buy the next title that appeals to you, or if it's going to last you two days and gives you little else to return, probably causing you to return it (in which case it might as well be a rental, which I guess lasting appeal could be the difference between that or a buy).

EDIT: Also have you played Portal? If so would you not feel cheated if it cost you however much a full price 360/PS3 game costs you after you had completed it after two or three hours/days?

Yeah I have played Portal, the thing with that game is after you figure everything out (which was admittedly pretty hard) it loses pretty much all replay value, which in my mind makes it a bad game. Replay-ability is very important to me, regardless of how "long" the game is.

Great discussion btw ;)

Fredrick2003:

ChromeAlchemist:

Fredrick2003:
-snip-

That's fair, but for many people and reviewers, if a game (not using TC4 as an example, those games tend to have a great deal of lasting appeal) has replay value of two hours and isn't an arcade port, then it's not worth the money if it was full price at retail. I'm sure there are many people who would gladly fork over a large amount of money for a game that lasts a small amount of hours, but I think they would be in the minority, and reviewers cater to the majority first and foremost.

All in all though, lasting appeal is important for gamers who can't afford all the AAA titles that come out in such quick succession (employed or not). Much of the time I would assume that it's important to know if this game is going to last you however long it takes for you to muster up some more money to buy the next title that appeals to you, or if it's going to last you two days and gives you little else to return, probably causing you to return it (in which case it might as well be a rental, which I guess lasting appeal could be the difference between that or a buy).

EDIT: Also have you played Portal? If so would you not feel cheated if it cost you however much a full price 360/PS3 game costs you after you had completed it after two or three hours/days?

Yeah I have played Portal, the thing with that game is after you figure everything out (which was admittedly pretty hard) it loses pretty much all replay value, which in my mind makes it a bad game. Replay-ability is very important to me, regardless of how "long" the game is.

Great discussion btw ;)

I agree! I feel we should get a badge for 'discussion that has gone on for more than three posts without flaming'.

Aha! I see, I basically always felt that Lasting Appeal and replay-ability were practically one in the same, basically Lasting Appeal being a combination of a good game length and replay-ability, but what I'm gathering here is you think otherwise, which is correct, good length doesn't mean good game especially if it's filled with crap, and a game could be two hours but those two hours could be packed with things you couldn't get in one play through, but maybe both should come into it, or at least that's what I think when I think of the word 'Lasting Appeal'.

Kiutu:

0p3rati0n:

Kiutu:
If it aint fun, it aint fun. Graphics do not MAKE games fun. They can only augment it, but graphics that augment fun usually are considered bad graphics.

then there would be more people buying Wiis >_>

Well graphic whores are still around and the Wii has alot of trashy games actually. Seems like wanna-be developers enjoy using the Wii as a system to experiment on and lots of garbage comes out of it. While browsing my local Gamestop I decided to see what Wii games were available out of curiosity. Alot of it were lame party games or odd...things. I would not call em games though.

Eh I guess. I still like Wii though. XBox is ok in my eyes. I don't like it because it's Microsoft and their products are always s***. It was their only product that they put time and effort into it. But with is getting the RROD easily they didn't put full effort into it. PS3 is ok as well but it just has crap on it. The games for Wii might be crap (most) but they're unique (and that's in a good way).

You forget the nature of businessmen; they won't make the game cheaper, they'll give you more of the same and pocket the extra cash and draw out the graphical 'pauses' and will end up hampering graphical advancements

you're screwed either way in the long run because people are idiots.

I think Seamus's point about the PS2 is a very good one. The PS2 has good games coming out for it even now and the graphics have moved on immensely compared to the launch titles. It's like the old one about how silent films were just coming into their prime around 1928 (with films like "Sunrise" and the Soviet films), and then sound came along and everything became very stilted again. Technological advances often stifle creativity.

Extravaganza:
I'm going to have to agree. Some games are still great and have great graphics.
But some games i feel like the put more time into the graphics rather than the gameplay
(Killzone 2, and Resident Evil 5) *They just happen to be shooters*
But i still play Starcraft.

thats starcraft though, SC was made with only hairline flaws left to be repaired. i agree, graphics are pointless, as they only augment the ability for you to stare at the game longer (unless its something like Shit3 or Mirror's edge where the bloom is blinding to the point of near unplayable) current games have very poor gameplay in exchange for high quality graphics. look at WoW, possible the biggest single game on earth for a few more months until SC2 comes out. it has graphics that are basically par with 2002 quality, and yet if you are competent and give yourself 2 reasons to play it (such as a level objective and each character you play a distinctive personality) it becomes so immersive that you are drowning in the story and role-playing. the game isnt addictive, the objectives and need to fulfill them, along with the amount of roleplaying potential is what has made WoW legendary. MMOs in general rarely are given such a broad a scope as WoW for shear number of objectives you can set for yourself and your [insert any number of personality traits here] night elf and you will soon notice that you just spent $180 on possibly the greatest time of your life with any video-game

You know, it has been so long since I have actually ENJOYED a game. The last time I can say I enjoyed it was on my N64 or Gamecube. If people still made games for these we could be enjoying cheap games but with more content for our bucks. "Sigh" I miss the old days.

lousyshot55:
You know, it has been so long since I have actually ENJOYED a game. The last time I can say I enjoyed it was on my N64 or Gamecube. If people still made games for these we could be enjoying cheap games but with more content for our bucks. "Sigh" I miss the old days.

thats why i wish i could re-write history so i could turn the entire staff of bungie into nuclear glass. ever since Halo came out gaming has taken a left turn at the 3 way intersection of good, bad, and published lanes.

Yes, yes, yes. Although, as some have pointed out, some games having beautiful graphics does add to the experience, many dev teams should have put the time and money into gameplay rather than graphics. Look at UT3. Yes it's very pretty, but so was UT2004 and that one had a good amount of gameplay. :) I do think games like Crysis would lose something with worse graphics. Meaning it would be detrimental to atmosphere and gameplay... I just can't figure out why I think that. :P Help, anyone? Oh, and Farcry 2's beautiful fire is awesome, but they take advantage of that by giving you flare guns and flamethrowers. So I think the idea of setting a par for a number of years is awesome, but I still would like to see a few developers pushing the edge. (After all, someone has to set the bar for the next 8 year increment.)

I couldn't disagree more.

This is like watching films and requesting the "death of good photography" (which some people have done, by the way) because it raises costs. Sure, high cost and technological competition lead to a more commercial environment, but something Hollywood learned a few years ago and games are learning right now is that this environment also creates something pretty cool:

The indie circuit.

When movies passed the hundred million mark, movies in the five to ten million mark started popping up and being both profitable and popular. Now, like in the old Miramax days, the window of digital distribution has opened the door to indie devs in a way the industry hadn't seen since before the NES. Cheap, small, experimental games are now viable as an industry precisely because the mainstream has become a matter of huge blockbuster games.

That isn't bad, and it certainly beats requesting some sort of voluntary lobotomy to keep games within the ranges nostalgia dictates rather than trying to push them forward.

But there's something else I honestly dislike in this train of thought: In movies, some people deny the visual aspect of the art and craft to claim storytelling and acting are the core of the experience. In games, it's gameplay.

I agree that gameplay is the fundamental side of the art in that it is what separates games from movies and other art forms, but deniying the artistry in the presentation side, and denying that going high-tech can be as much or more of an artistic endeavour as keeping it small, abstract or retro, makes my blood boil.

I'm a bit undecided on the issue. I understand that graphics are not the most important thing in a game, but they do help.

For example will be the contrast between the graphics in Oblivion and Morrowind. Oblivion has the better graphics but i find that i enjoy Morrowind more because i find it a more enjoyable game. On the other hand i find that when playing a shooter i prefer games that are more graphically advanced so to say. Specifically i like Killzone 2. Why? I find it easier to get into.

The point i think i'm trying to make is that graphics help but they don't make the game. But i certainly don't believe we should go backwards in our standards for graphics. No matter what anyone tells me MMORPG's all look like smoothed out Lego to me.

So motherfucking true.

lousyshot55:
You know, it has been so long since I have actually ENJOYED a game. The last time I can say I enjoyed it was on my N64 or Gamecube. If people still made games for these we could be enjoying cheap games but with more content for our bucks. "Sigh" I miss the old days.

Get Doom 3 and the Valve Multiplayer Pack.

(both are available on steam)

I don't care how marvelous your game looks. If it takes so much resources my PC can't play it I'm not touching it.

In terms of great games without great graphics, I think anything by NIS takes the cake.

Their games are able to sell despite having sprite based graphics, and make up for it with solid gameplay and a good humourous story.

Personally, with all the effort it takes to keep with the latest generation of games, I'm spending more time and having more fun just filling in the holes in my gaming career with old games on emulator.

Single player games, specially FPSs, have gotten shorter to be honest, to be honest i dont mind the trend of bigger/better graphics. Specially Strategy: after years of Warcraft 3, when Relic upped the standards with Dawn of War and Company of Heros, I was VERY pleased. But Unreal Tournament 3 was all about the eye candy and detailed environements, but the core game wasn't that good from what we had back when UT99 first came out. UT99 still is the best UT ever IMO, which is a shame.

This is actually part of the reason Microsoft Games essentially decided "Screw it. We're not going to make an Xbox 720. Leave it as it is unless there's a major need."
I'm actually hoping this console generation doesn't advance at all. If ten years from now we're still on the same three to four consoles (OnLive) I'll be happy.
Even better is if they can take steps back and try to make games look visually decent, though sparse. Going for slightly less realistic artstyles could really help. And I certainly don't think it'd be impossible for the next big tactical shooter to have Darwinians as characters.

Unkillable Cat:
About time someone in the media came round o this way of thinking, couldn't agree more!

Shamus is preaching to the choir... the real question is: will the industry get out of this prisoner's dilemma in time or will it suffer damage until it collectively collapses under its own weight?

Games are getting shorter? I haven't bothered playing the Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3, and most other FPS and RPGs on the PC because they take 40-80hrs to complete.

Mind you, it's not 40-80hrs of gameplay but grinding, but still, I'd rather pay 39.99 for 10 hours of relentless fun i.e. Psychonauts, than the same amount of 40hr grinding.

I was surprised when people said "Godhand was great, even though the graphics were shit". How are the graphics bad, exactly? The character designs are cool, it runs at a high framerate, the environments are varied and interesting, and the animation fluid and believable.

I think the proper statement would be "Godhand's graphics are not cutting-edge".

I like realistically inclined graphics - But thats mainly because i dislike most other kinds.

I think developers are taking a graphical time out. The current gen systems are about 5 or 6 years old at this point and if you go back and do the math. thats the average time between console generations. But all the major companies have stated they have no intention of coming out with a new generation of games anytime soon. It looks like there sticking things out until they see a return on the current gen systems...which is fine with me.

So it would seem you have a point and developers are agreeing with you.

@ Shamus Young: to make a long story short: amen to that

@ Credge: pretty much the same over here; i play lots of "indie" games for the pc (*cough* steam *cough), or i play games (that actually deserve the name, rather than "eye-candy" or "graphic-demo" or "60$-beta-test") for handhelds (mostly nds) - why? because they are actually all about the gameplay, NOT the graphics; games are not things invented to test the limits of GPUs. a benchmark absolutely does the job.

I'm not a hardcore gamer (one of those who fall in the middle between "casual" and "hardcore", but that's another topic for another time), but isn't what you suggest more or less what indie game companies do? Focussing on innovation rather then ever-so-slightly-prettier graphics?

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