How much would you trade graphics for gameplay?

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Basicly the idea is to go as low as possible while mantaining a visual that still manages to appeal to you. The more "basic" looking it is the more of the rest (more AI, bigger maps, more crap going ot at the same time, more "behind the scenes" things going on, more in-depth gameplay,...) there is due to the fact that the visuals aren´t as heavy, the creation of the models is cheaper for the developer meaning more content, etc...

Kind of what Dwarf Fortress already does (at least from what I have heard, never played the game) or what happened with Morrowind and Oblivion (better visuals, less game)

Go here if you want for a list of some games throughout the years (its basicly an evolution of the graphics list) if you are having trouble finding the right balance

For me I would go with the 2001/2002 look where the 3D starts to look solid and crisp. Max Payne, GTA 3, Halo CE, Timesplitters 2 and Splinter Cell. The cartoony look of Timesplitters makes things even easier providing a better overall look.

The scenery getting detailed and varied enough without getting messy (Deus Ex), confusing with the use of repetetive textures (Perfect Dark) or too static and square (System Shock).

For me this looks good enough for a game that would have a bigger scope in terms of size and interactivety with the ingame world then most games currently have

So, how low would you go to have more in-depth gameplay?

I can easily play games like Splinter Cell but find that the UI in that game is what drives me nuts (Seems a bit clunky compared to say, Chaos Theory)
I will also happily play Rainbow Six on PC even if if everyone has triangle faces because the story is decent

Looking at that list I would easily still play games like Heretic/Doom etc and still get a yearly(pretty much) playthrough of GTA2.

I will generally play anything regardless of age as long as the graphics aren't super pixelated.
Oddly - as i mentioned above, It tends to be the gameplay that puts me off more than the graphics. For example, I LOVED GTA3 when it first came out and could easily do a playthrough, but it's simple things such as cars being like tissue paper that make me more likely to stop my playthrough!

Edit: Is it just me or do a lot of those screenshots seem "HD-i-fied"? I don't remember some of those games looking that good!

Fill in the hitboxes and colour the walls


Well, my favorite games include Ultima IV and Dwarf Fortress.

So...I guess graphics don't really matter to me at all as long as the game is good.

I would not particularly mind if graphics didn't get any better than they are now.

The one exception is facial animation. The uncanny valley has got to go, one way or another.

All the way. Try 9:05 or Shrapnel from Adam Cadre to see what I mean.

It's not graphics that are the stumbling block, it's the UI.

Dwarf Fortress, I am looking in your direction.

Considering that I love Phantasy Stars Online and Ocarina of Time (haven't played the remake) so it isn't much of a problem for me.
My brother on the other hand may find that question more difficult (he like FF13 while he refuse to play KOTOR cos of the graphic).

I still play and enjoy the NES Mega Man games. That should be a pretty sizeable gameplay-for-graphics trade these days, right? Sadly not yet.

Really it's more the detail and completeness of the world than the quality of pixels/polygons that I'd make my sticking point for absolute minimum graphics. Regardless of the year of release you can see games with choppy generic repetitive graphics and the ones where the developers put more time into making sure there was no pop-up or visual effects that look fake compared with the rest of the game and thus pull players out of the experience (such as bad skyboxes). Even if we're sticking to 3D games, titles as early as Banjo-Kazooie created massive detailed worlds with a minimum of clipping or poor draw distance, though I have heard people complain some of its worlds like Clanker's Cavern are too dark and muddy to see properly.

Agreed with the facial expression thing above though. If it's a human character you're going to have to put in a lot more effort to make them not seem robotic.

*Wiggles eyebrows and flies off*

I see video games to need to have at least one of the following to be decent: gameplay, story, or spectacle. I can do with crap graphics if the gameplay is great (see FTL). I can do with crap gameplay and spectacle if the story is great (Eternal Darkness is still interesting to play despite graphics and sort of boring mechanics). I can do with crap story and gameplay if it is a real spectacle (I'd put a lot of FPS here because they don't do much that's interesting or new with gameplay, even though, at their core solid FPS are solid games... they just don't stand out).

The last is the biggest risk for longevity. Games aiming for realism in graphics ten years ago, look sort of crap now and I expect that trend will continue. That's why Sonic 1 still looks good still while Virtua Fighter 1 looks like hot sick.

Very much. Gameplay completely trumps graphical fidelity in my book. This also means I'm perfectly willing to still play 16 year old games and not find their lacking graphics distracting.
I guess I'm pretty lucky with that.

My graphical minimum is Quake2
Every improved graphic is considered bonus
That's why TES2:Daggerfall is slight torture for me
Graphically it is slightly lower than Quake2
I only play it for gameplay and setting

Animations on the other hand is "the better-the better" thing

Back to 8 bit if the rest is good enough. And lets not forget that graphics matter a whole lot less if you just abandon the goal of photo-realism and go for a more stylish look. What really looks like crap is the stuff that tries to be photo-realistic but hasn't got the graphics to pull it off.

I would not particularly mind if graphics didn't get any better than they are now.

The one exception is facial animation. The uncanny valley has got to go, one way or another.

Both facial animations AND general character movement animations need to be worked on next. I'm tired of near-photo realistic people moving like C-3PO

But I'm already still playing SWAT 3 every weekend.


So, how low would you go to have more in-depth gameplay?

I wouldn't!

Nobody's improved the FPs genre since Timesplitters 2 (which is broadly Perfect Dark at 60fps) on consoles and Battlefield 2 on Pcs. Sequels have brought more stuff, but none have particularly improved on anything.

On the other hand, Morrowind with 1080p and high res skin mods is fantastic.

I play Pokémon games with no issues. I know they've received a bit of a graphical update over the years, but they'll never compete with a high end PC title. Ever.

It depends on the game, though. Some games I feel I need better graphics than others, mostly to see better nuances. And some graphics styles age better than others.

Still, I could live on PS1/2 era graphics for most titles for the rest of my life, if it meant bigger worlds and better gameplay. For some, I'd go back to like, the Atari days. Hell, my Steam library is lousy with games with "retro" graphics.

About 10 to 20 years backwards technology wise is acceptable to me for a great gameplay experience.
I don't expect such a game to sell for full price though.

The specifics depends on the game. If we have an interface with alot of small text or many small icons or figures, then 640x480 is the minimum to make it all surveyable for me.
Playing point&click adventure games I can live with 320x200 MCGA. For a small indie title that's still cool.

Honestly I still go back to my NES games occasionally for games that are fun. I really don't think graphics matter all that much depending on the genre. I love my old text based adventure games on Dos, and I love my side scrolling games on the 8bit and 16bit machines. Rpgs were king on the snes, and shooters didn't become good until around the end of the ps1 beginning of the ps2 era. So it really depends on genre, I'll give you my list though.

Adventure: any provided the game is good, I still play some text based adventure games

RPG: I am okay down to the 8bit era, anything before that just didn't have the oomph to run the type of game I liked

Racing: Ps1 but less because of graphics and more because of physics and control. I like to feel like the car isn't on rails being told to maneuver left and right, I prefer it to feel as though I am actually in control of the car in a 3d environment

Shooters: really shooters this generation, there isn't much you can do with gameplay other than add more interesting guns effects and AI.

I think that covers the main genres, and the sub genres would vary as well, but I don't feel like making that long of a list.

I honestly wouldn't mind going back a bit. I'm perfectly fine with graphics tech these days, and some games legitimately blow me away with how nice they look, but I will almost always choose gameplay over graphics.

Yes, graphics dont matter, gameplay is 1ST place in every single case and blahblahblah, yeah thats true... mostly.

While I agree than gameplay should always be in 1st place, I wouldt personally trade super ultra B gameplay while getting graphics like, say, Minecraft (NOT impling that Minecraft has super B gameplay because it is shit, in fact. Pretty shitty in both graphics AND gameplay). Thats a little TOO extreme. We should find a good balance and start from there.

That being said, if you have a superB game and want to add some great graphics along with it (without sacrificing gameplay for it), then by all means, go for it.

As long as I can tell what everything is, I'm fine.

I'd be fine with PS1/N64 era graphics.

I can still play old games without problems (Super Mario, Final Fantasy games, Legend of Zelda, etc.) but in general, I prefer the era of true 3D (like 1998 or so?) It really depends on the game though. Some looked like crap compared to other games that came out that same year, never mind games as they are currently.
And of course there are those games that replicate an old-school look with a more current generation's power. Cave Story anyone?

i still go back and play NES games, so yeah, i good with reduced graphics if it'll handle better

I'm thinking Final Fantasy VIII is my limit. People kind of have faces, but I can still enjoy the game from there.

I personally prefer stylised art styles over attempting to copy realistic ones anyway, since you can lower the graphics to Tamegotchi levels and it'd still look good if that's the intent.

I've played MUDS as recently as 2011, what does that tell you.


So, how low would you go to have more in-depth gameplay?

Quite low actually, I tend to replay older titles, for example the first Thief, Neverwinter Nights. Baldur's gate etc. So I don't have problem with low graphics. if the aesthetics are good, I'll stick with the game.
Recently I play a lot of Binding of Isaac, Frozen Synapse and Dynamite Jack, and those games are not quite graphically powerful, but their overall aesthetic makes a lot for the game feel.

One of the best games I played this year was Cthulhu Saves The World.. which looks like an early SNES game. So I'll happily take 16bit graphics if it means the games are better.

Depends on the game.

I would be good with 2008-2010 graphics.

I'd actually have no graphics at all if that meant it was the most fun game to play in the world.

So long as the interface is usable.

If one arbitrary point of graphic fidelity lost is equal to one arbitrary point of gameplay gained I would go all the way back to text-based games.

That's unfortunately not how it works.

I still get a lot of enjoyment out of Castlevania 3, Mega Man 2, Adventure Island etc. I'm also of the mind that the future of gaming could get to the point where indie developers wanting to be really unique will make their games for steam but also have a simultaneous S/NES cart release. I would love to see another top-down Zelda for example and if the cost of producing sprites is low enough the game content could be padded to the point that it could potentially be bigger than every other Zelda up to now if it's a full U brain says top-down perspective for one screen with an OoT style 3rd person view on the other...where it's possibly to switch which screen is on the game pad with the tap of a button (or screen)...yeah, I want that.

Everything 2D is fine.

As for 3D I find that worse graphics = less enjoyment.
Though there is a cutoff point about early PS3 where it does not need improvement for me.

Depends on the game and the genre.

Something that looks like the original Final Fantasy (NES) can still make for an epic RPG.
I wouldn't go back to Wolfenstein 3D for epic FPS gameplay for headache reasons.

To answer the crux of the question. I always want graphics to take a backseat to other elements of a game.
#1) Control
#2) Gameplay
#3) Story (if the genre calls for it)
#4) Graphic
#5) Sound

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