Why primitive, older graphics are better than modern graphics.

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double post, just ignore.

I'm playing Xenogears right now, so I'm going to have to disagree. :-/ That is one fugly game.

Yopaz:

Blood Brain Barrier:
Is this just too far over people's heads? Maybe I should post a "why Obsidian is better than Bioware thread" or "why JRPGs suck"

I don't think this is far over people's heads. It might be simply that your post is poorly put and you only mention one genre as an example and say that older graphics is better than modern.

Take a look at several old RPG games, there are plenty that wont let you live out the story the way you want it. There's lots of linear storytelling where your character got one personality and you got no impact on it. This is actually something modern games often try to implement with a varying degree of success. Immersion and graphics doesn't necessarily live in different worlds. The game design is more important than graphics. Really, I can't tell if you're trying to troll people here.

This is the best thing I've heard on this thread. Bad graphics don't mean good gameplay, nor do good graphics. There's a time and place for everything.

Lugbzurg:
Games are becoming shorter and LESS expansive, mostly due to more attention to the graphics. (This has been brought up in cases involving certain games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution..

Don't you mean MORE expensive.

Dr. McD:

Lugbzurg:
Games are becoming shorter and LESS expansive, mostly due to more attention to the graphics. (This has been brought up in cases involving certain games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution..

Don't you mean MORE expensive.

Well, HR was not nearly as expansive as the first one, now was it.

No? I mean sometimes I think the art style of older games was better at times. I'm playing Vectorman 2 right now, and I can get just as immersed in it as well as let's say... Oblivion. Two seperate games, genres, and generations. There is no right answer in my opinion.

I still play games from when I was a kid and can still use my imagination just as well. I had no idea when we turned the graphic options to "ultra high" that immediatly turns your imagination to "off." I always try to put myself in the shoes of the hero and fill in the fine detail with my imagaination whether it's 8bit or not.

image

Sorry but if want to imagine myself being something I'm not I'll go write some self-insert fanfiction or something.

Vegosiux:

Dr. McD:

Lugbzurg:
Games are becoming shorter and LESS expansive, mostly due to more attention to the graphics. (This has been brought up in cases involving certain games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution..

Don't you mean MORE expensive.

Well, HR was not nearly as expansive as the first one, now was it.

Sorry, I thought you typed EXPENSIVE. But yeah, they've become less expansive, although Obsidian could probably do a good job if given a good sandbox engine to work with, they did a very impressive job with Fallout: New Vegas (I consider the gamebyro engine more like one big glitch than an actual engine).

Blood Brain Barrier:

lacktheknack:

Blood Brain Barrier:
Is this just too far over people's heads? Maybe I should post a "why Obsidian is better than Bioware thread" or "why JRPGs suck"

No, your point just sucks.

I simply prefer better graphics (because they're better), and I never play "myself" in a game. Why play myself when I could be somebody else? That's why I play games.

Also, any RPG worth its salt has character customization, so that point is moot. If you want to play yourself in a story-driven third-person game, I think you misunderstand what "story-driven" entails.

Also, where do you get off proclaiming that old graphics are inherently better than new ones, give us ONE (flawed) POINT to your argument, then accuse US of being shallow? [beleaguered sigh]

Where do YOU get off telling us better graphics are better?

If you read the OP properly, you'd realise I never said one plays oneself in a game, but that one can more accurately portray one's desired character in a game with simplified graphics.

It's still one point that doesn't remotely justify an absolute statement any more than "Vanilla is better than chocolate because white is a purer color".

Also, as I said, any RPG worth its salt has character customization. This renders your point moot.

And I get off telling you that better graphics are "better"... because they're called "better" graphics. When I say "because they're better", I was referring to the "better' part of "better graphics". That better?

DigitalAtlas:
>Any RPG worth its salt has character customization

Brb, throwing out all my Persona, Final Fantasy, Tales, Chrono, Lunar and Xeno games

Guilty of blanket statement. Sorry.

Blood Brain Barrier:

lacktheknack:

Blood Brain Barrier:
Is this just too far over people's heads? Maybe I should post a "why Obsidian is better than Bioware thread" or "why JRPGs suck"

No, your point just sucks.

I simply prefer better graphics (because they're better), and I never play "myself" in a game. Why play myself when I could be somebody else? That's why I play games.

Also, any RPG worth its salt has character customization, so that point is moot. If you want to play yourself in a story-driven third-person game, I think you misunderstand what "story-driven" entails.

Also, where do you get off proclaiming that old graphics are inherently better than new ones, give us ONE (flawed) POINT to your argument, then accuse US of being shallow? [beleaguered sigh]

Where do YOU get off telling us better graphics are better?

If you read the OP properly, you'd realise I never said one plays oneself in a game, but that one can more accurately portray one's desired character in a game with simplified graphics.

Where do you get off telling us that simplified graphics are better? Or acting so goddang superior to everyone who doesn't share your opinions?

Don't know about you but I think that the graphics from the "Ratchet and Clank" series are among the best that has come out in quite awhile.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Games went from very low resolution to very high. In low resolution games the dots are bigger which means there is more information you can fill that space with. This meant that you could imagine that the stick figure in Ultima that you are a mighty warrior with streaming hair and shiny, rock-hard abs or the colorful blob in Dragon Quest is a brave Samurai Warrior. In new games, the resolution from sitting distance is high enough to look realistic - that is, it appears the same as looking at an object in the real world. This means that you yourself can only BE one character - the one you are looking at. There is no space for you to fill with your own information. So the more realistic the character we are portraying is, the less it is you. Older games are fueled by your own imagination, and so they are better, in the same way that old tech cartoons are better than new tech ones such as 3D.

Let's say we applied this logic to color and movies. You could argue films were more colorful in the black-and-white days because you could fill in the gaps with your imagination. You could say Citizen Kane was a wild and crazy adventure in technicolor Wonderland where everybody's complection looked like Oompa Loompas and they dressed like the Lollypop Guild.

Older games were stylized, but I wouldn't say they all were "fueled by your imagination." I'm sure their creators had very clear pictures of what they wanted, they just had to tone it down to fit the limitations of their medium. Think about the old cave paintings from long ago. Do you think they were specifically aiming for stick figures? No, they were trying to portray humans. But they couldn't with their tools and limited knowledge of visually portraying the human form. So they made stick figures, they stylized them. They weren't trying to fuel your imagination, they were just doing the best they could. And they probably would have done more if they knew how (which they did as history progressed).

If gamemakers want more simple and stylized figures, they can still get that now. That isn't a problem. Hell, look at Minecraft. Look at I Am the Man. Look at VVVVV and Terraria and Tower to Heaven. Just because some developers want to clearly define what their characters look like doesn't mean all want to, and it doesn't mean all will. And as others have mentioned there's character creation, which would never exist as we know it now back in the NES and SNES era.

Here's the thing: 2D graphics tend to age very well. Super Mario Brothers 3 still looks good to me. On the other hand, it is rare that 2D graphics ever truly "wow" me.

That's where 3D graphics have an advantage. There was a time when this amazed me. No, it doesn't anymore. But it used to. Now it's things like this. While that amazement may fade over time, I wouldn't want to sacrifice it. I like feeling in wonder if the scene I'm walking through.

So both styles have a place. We need not forsake one for the other.

boag:

Hazy992:
So are you saying older graphics are better because they make you use your imagination more? Well then why even bother with a video game? Use a pen and paper.

A FREAKING MEN!

hell why even use pen and paper?

just make the stuff up in your head.

Exactly. Save yourself some money

Hey Nintendo.

This;

image

Is much, much better than the schizophrenic camera and blurry sprites you have in Black and White.

Blaster395:

Quaidis:
If I hand a kid today a game from forever ago, they get confused, can't think themselves into the game, and put it down for something more shiny and pretty.

Correction, they will just find it bad because they are not looking at it through nostalgia goggles.

You're just jealous over how fancy my nostalgia goggles are.

The funny thing is that what you may think is 'bad' (or shit) from back then is actually really good. I mean, in comparison to some of the absolutely terrible stuff that came out. Late Atari period, for example. ET. The 'unfinished' games of today that people bitch about can't compare to the broken stuff back then.

The point I'm getting at is that back then when all you had were limited graphics (sometimes no graphics at all, and the games were incredibly hard), your imagination covered up for it. With games today (pretty graphics and spoon-feedingly dumbed down game-play), there's no need to think and no more room for imagination.

That was until the last person that quoted me linked me to a great 16 bit game on Steam. There is much greatness to be had with it. I wish more people did that.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Is this just too far over people's heads? Maybe I should post a "why Obsidian is better than Bioware thread" or "why JRPGs suck"

People have an opinion different to yours? Well clearly you are just confusing them with your wicked logic, it can't be the fact that they disagree with you?

What makes a game good is not it's age.

OP's argument is all well and good, but it ignores the flipside of the issue, which is having to squint your eyes at the screen and wonder aloud "WTF is that supposed to be?!? A rock? A giant gaping hole that I'll die if I fall down? Just a shadow?"

Having to imagine stuff to fill in the blanks can be a blessing and a curse, y'all.

lacktheknack:

Also, as I said, any RPG worth its salt has character customization. This renders your point moot.

Viewing attributes of an object visually is not the same as creatively projecting them on an object. They're very different modes of customization, but still customization nonetheless.

Lilani:

Blood Brain Barrier:
Games went from very low resolution to very high. In low resolution games the dots are bigger which means there is more information you can fill that space with. This meant that you could imagine that the stick figure in Ultima that you are a mighty warrior with streaming hair and shiny, rock-hard abs or the colorful blob in Dragon Quest is a brave Samurai Warrior. In new games, the resolution from sitting distance is high enough to look realistic - that is, it appears the same as looking at an object in the real world. This means that you yourself can only BE one character - the one you are looking at. There is no space for you to fill with your own information. So the more realistic the character we are portraying is, the less it is you. Older games are fueled by your own imagination, and so they are better, in the same way that old tech cartoons are better than new tech ones such as 3D.

Let's say we applied this logic to color and movies. You could argue films were more colorful in the black-and-white days because you could fill in the gaps with your imagination. You could say Citizen Kane was a wild and crazy adventure in technicolor Wonderland where everybody's complection looked like Oompa Loompas and they dressed like the Lollypop Guild.

How? How could that possibly fit within the gaps of Citizen Kane? I challenge you to try this.

Older games were stylized, but I wouldn't say they all were "fueled by your imagination." I'm sure their creators had very clear pictures of what they wanted, they just had to tone it down to fit the limitations of their medium. Think about the old cave paintings from long ago. Do you think they were specifically aiming for stick figures? No, they were trying to portray humans. But they couldn't with their tools and limited knowledge of visually portraying the human form. So they made stick figures, they stylized them. They weren't trying to fuel your imagination, they were just doing the best they could. And they probably would have done more if they knew how (which they did as history progressed).

Good point, but not quite there. So all art is aimed at accurately portrayal? What about modern abstract art? We don't know how humans long ago saw other humans. It's possible they found the stick figure the most suitable form.

I think the biggest thing we are lacking as we move from low-res or text based games to fully rendered 3d worlds is the focus on story and depth.

In the text MUD age, I could be anything and have anything and go anywhere within the bounds of the game's canon. Would you like a "Curved saber with a fine ivory inlay of a dragon on the hilt" that "sings through the air when waved"? Go ahead, convince a GM at a merchant event that its within the world's rules and it's yours. The GM's want to add a new realm, or change an existing one, and it's as simple as imagining and describing it.

That sort of creative agility has gone further and further away with each graphics iteration, and the game worlds we live in now are very dense with lore and imagination, but they are lacking that individuality that we used to have. Especially in the MMO space.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Lilani:

Blood Brain Barrier:
Games went from very low resolution to very high. In low resolution games the dots are bigger which means there is more information you can fill that space with. This meant that you could imagine that the stick figure in Ultima that you are a mighty warrior with streaming hair and shiny, rock-hard abs or the colorful blob in Dragon Quest is a brave Samurai Warrior. In new games, the resolution from sitting distance is high enough to look realistic - that is, it appears the same as looking at an object in the real world. This means that you yourself can only BE one character - the one you are looking at. There is no space for you to fill with your own information. So the more realistic the character we are portraying is, the less it is you. Older games are fueled by your own imagination, and so they are better, in the same way that old tech cartoons are better than new tech ones such as 3D.

Let's say we applied this logic to color and movies. You could argue films were more colorful in the black-and-white days because you could fill in the gaps with your imagination. You could say Citizen Kane was a wild and crazy adventure in technicolor Wonderland where everybody's complection looked like Oompa Loompas and they dressed like the Lollypop Guild.

How? How could that possibly fit within the gaps of Citizen Kane? I challenge you to try this.

That was sort of my point. You don't fill in the gaps with black and white movies, you simply accept it as a part of the style. The same goes with games, well at least while you are playing it. I didn't play through Pokemon actively imagining images of being a fully-rendered character in a fully-rendered environment. I accepted the style for what it was. It was stylized, just as cartoons are. I did get quite engrossed, but it wasn't because the limited graphics caused me to see more vivid images or insert my own. It was because I got engrossed in the gameplay and levels. I have loved the graphical improvements with every new installation, the broadened range of styles gives the world even more depth and even more to get lost in. I did to a bit of "role-playing" I guess, but I wasn't really able to do this well until they made a female model available. And even then I didn't really mind the preset look. Immersion relies less on graphics and more on gameplay. It does require a balance, though. The gameplay must be solid and engrossing and the graphics should at the very least not distract from this.

Good point, but not quite there. So all art is aimed at accurately portrayal? What about modern abstract art? We don't know how humans long ago saw other humans. It's possible they found the stick figure the most suitable form.

That isn't what I was saying at all. I was simply saying we can't know for sure what the ideal level of graphical sophistication would have been for the games of old. What if the original Legend of Zelda game were made today? I'm pretty sure, at the very least, it would look a bit more sophisticated. Same goes with Super Mario Brothers. I don't think those characters looked so simple because Shigeru Miyamoto really had a thing for pixels, or so that they were simple enough for people to use their own imaginations to fill in the blanks. They looked like that because that's all they could do with the graphics of the time. You can even tell he tried his hardest to define who his characters were, but those few stacks of pixels were as far as he could get at the point of delivery.

If the old limited graphics of yesteryear better enable your imagination, I'm afraid it wasn't intentional, at least most of the time. They were just doing the best they could with the tools they had. I'm sure they would have loved to deliver colorful and well-defined characters with sophisticated aesthetics, but they couldn't.

There is something to be said for the value of "Inspiration through abstraction".
But I wouldn't go around calling it "better".

Dr. McD:
Don't you mean MORE expensive.

No, they are much cheaper to make.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenmue

Shenmue cost $70,000,000 to make. Many games these days don't scratch that and are technically better.

AD-Stu:
OP's argument is all well and good, but it ignores the flipside of the issue, which is having to squint your eyes at the screen and wonder aloud "WTF is that supposed to be?!? A rock? A giant gaping hole that I'll die if I fall down? Just a shadow?"

Having to imagine stuff to fill in the blanks can be a blessing and a curse, y'all.

Yeah, low res makes playing some older games a nightmare.

I want to get into XCOM but the UI is so bad I get put off every time I go to play it.

What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Blood Brain Barrier:
snip

I've heard this argument time and again. Well...

I have nothing against lower-res graphics, and I even prefer them depending on the game and how they're used, but I disagree with you. Sorry, but no. You're actually pretty wrong. Video games have always had defined characters with defined visual representations (perhaps not every game, but your post seems to set the precedent that generalizing is alright). The only difference between then and now is we have better tech with which to visually represent these characters in-game.

You can use your imagination to enhance these outdated sprites' visual flair all you want, but I don't think that's what the developers were intending when they made the game, or that they even wanted you to.

Blood Brain Barrier:
This means that you yourself can only BE one character - the one you are looking at.

You know, sometimes, that's actually the point. It helps the narrative to have a defined protagonist.

I'm sure you'll notice that first-person games, or games where you create your own character generally have lesser stories because the dev has to compensate for the freedom they've given you. As a recent and popular example, Skyrim. Bethesda had to write a main quest, but none of it could have anything to do with the player as anything more than a role. When playing the main quest, you are not playing as Admiral Asshat. You are playing as the Dovahkiin, and all of your hard work will be attributed to that same ambiguous title. So, even though you did all that, and the character you created is you by proxy, the one who gets the credit in the end is the Dragonborn, and nobody even knows who the hell that is.

Conversely, in a game like Kingdom Hearts, there are no such false pretenses, and because Sora is a defined character with defined qualities, the story can actually envelop him and even revolve around him to some degree, rather than simply involving him.

Dr. McD:
(I consider the gamebyro engine more like one big glitch than an actual engine).

Really? My only experience with it is Defense Grid and the Wii port of Bully and they ran fine.

TimeLord:
Hey Nintendo.

This;

image

Is much, much better than the schizophrenic camera and blurry sprites you have in Black and White.

Yeah they actually look life the official art now.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Unsilenced:

EDIT: Actually, no. On second thought, do try. I want to hear how this would be more dramatically captivating if she just had a couple of pixels arranged into a frowny face.

Easy. This is scarier because it gives less information about the monster. When I can see my adversary clearly it becames much less terrifying because I know what I'm up against. My imagination is what does all the work in fear.

I wouldn't necessarily say "Dramatically Captivating" equals "scary." The fact that the little sister's reaction to harvesting or saving her truly is more captivating with more descriptors. Seeing her facial expressions throughout it can cause automatic reactions in people, whereas if it were less detailed, with less facial expression within the little sister's face, there is a larger chance that people will not connect with it as easily. Even games with simpler graphics(not quite 8 bit, but not super high res) can help with immersion and deepening the effect of a story to the player.

I will agree with seeing less of a monster can help you be more afraid of it, with one little add on. Amnesia does have decent graphics, and seeing the nice lines of a scary monster is a bit scarier to me than a black blob with pointy square bits.

Rocklobster93:
What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

Blood Brain Barrier:

Rocklobster93:
What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

Irrespective of how valid the analogy was, my point still stands.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Rocklobster93:
What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

quite a bit of difference, however a book plays into the "strengths" of low res games even more so than the games in question. Which makes me wonder why would you play videogames at ALL when books are a much better venue for yourself. Hell, there is even less of a stigma associated with reading books than playing games. Win-win for you!

as to why people presume that games with better graphics are superior....well that is because it is the logical train of thought. when you improve one aspect of a product, it is logical to presume that either the package as a whole benefits from it or it remains the same. very very very VERY rarely does an improvement weaken the product as a whole.

Ryotknife:

Blood Brain Barrier:

Rocklobster93:
What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

quite a bit of difference, however a book plays into the "strengths" of low res games even more so than the games in question. Which makes me wonder why would you play videogames at ALL when books are a much better venue for yourself. Hell, there is even less of a stigma associated with reading books than playing games. Win-win for you!

as to why people presume that games with better graphics are superior....well that is because it is the logical train of thought. when you improve one aspect of a product, it is logical to presume that either the package as a whole benefits from it or it remains the same. very very very VERY rarely does an improvement weaken the product as a whole.

So why are books better for me than games again? One offers me a personal point of view with little opportunity for participation. The other offers total participation in a created world. Totally different media with totally different aims. If I want to learn something then books are probably better - then again, maybe not, but we've seen very few quality educational games. The Dr. Brain games back in the 90s were the best I can think of.

Rocklobster93:

Blood Brain Barrier:

Rocklobster93:
What the OP said does not mean that older graphics are objectively 'better', just that it has some preferable characteristics to modern graphics. How much a game allows the player to fill in the gaps using their own imagination is not the only metric that matters when deciding how 'good' a game is, it's only ONE aspect that could contribute to the quality of a game. I can't see how what the OP said is any different to saying "The abridged version of book X contains less detail than the regular version, therefore it is better."

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

Irrespective of how valid the analogy was, my point still stands.

Not in my view. The medium of the book provides little interactivity, being a medium for dissemination of a private viewpoint. The game is a communication between creator and consumer which requires player input. It is the player which creates the game so it makes sense that increasing participation will be an improvement. The opposite usually applies with the book.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Rocklobster93:

Blood Brain Barrier:

Uhh...seriously? You don't see any different between a book and a game? I'm just... I don't even...

Irrespective of how valid the analogy was, my point still stands.

Not in my view. The medium of the book provides little interactivity, being a medium for dissemination of a private viewpoint. The game is a communication between creator and consumer which requires player input. It is the player which creates the game so it makes sense that increasing participation will be an improvement. The opposite usually applies with the book.

Again, while I will admit that the book analogy was shitty, the analogy in and of itself did not make up my entire argument. The point was that the latitude given to the player for filling in graphical gaps using their own imagination is not the only factor that determines the level of enjoyment one gets from playing a game, as you suggested "Older games are fueled by your own imagination, and so they are better".

As others have pointed out, if you take a game and simply turn down the resolution and graphics to the lowest practical level, will that make the game suddenly more enjoyable for the reasons you stated in the original post?

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