June 4, 2010


so let’s jump right in.

March 26, 2010

artistry and gameplay.

the ‘graphics vs gameplay’ debate is a tired and useless argument. i’m not going to try to convince you that graphics are more important because i don’t believe that; there is no contest that gameplay will always win out. it is a game after all, and how it controls is paramount. what i will ask of the consumer is to consider that visual fidelity is not as dispensable as popular opinion may suggest; and while it may not be enough to single-handedly carry a game, i believe that impressive visuals are more powerful than some give them credit for.

perhaps the difference is deeper than i realize, and the naysayers just aren’t impressed by visuals to have it affect them while playing; and to that i can’t say anything to persuade them otherwise.  but it is proudly touted by many video game enthusiasts that gameplay is all they care about and shun large budget games as having little to offer in innovation and excitement, and being shallow for putting resources into the art department, calling them “pretty, with little substance”.

this is prevalent now more than ever now that indie games are bursting into the scene in a big way, with a strong philosophy of going ‘back to basics’. i avidly support indie games and think it’s an important movement that is creating inventive and wildly creative games that we’ve never seen before; but i still hold the stance that as long as a game doesn’t have broken controls, a solid game can be elevated into excellence if it progresses on a visual front.

it’s not illogical to say that gameplay progresses at a slower rate than graphics do. a large reason new consoles come out is to increase the power that can support graphical progress. for example, from the ps2 to the ps3, the largest difference is in the visual language and scope that the games take place in. besides the visuals and the number of objects they can have on-screen, the core gameplay found many games today is largely the same as in the previous console.  advancement in gameplay is largely due to coming up with inventive and creative ways to map controls to buttons, and doesn’t require a powerhouse machine to do it.

once a control scheme comes out that is vastly improved and more intuitive than a previous one, it nearly renders the old controls irrelevant and hard to pick up again, such as console first person shooters.  visuals are largely the same way, but at a much more incremental and faster pace– but it is not to say that they are easily improved. if you think about a group of people trying to come up with innovative gameplay controls, it sounds daunting. it’s an intellectual exercise of brainstorming and problem solving, followed by tireless testing and programming. i would argue that pushing the graphical capabilities of a console is just as arduous and intellectual, working on how to maximize the hardware given which gives developers tons of equations to test and variables to figure out.

i think there is a place among ‘the greats’ for games that are about visual spectacles. i would say that gears of war, final fantasy and god of war are tremendously successful franchises not just for their gameplay, but their relentless desire to push the visual limits to be the top among its class with every iteration. so what if ratchet and clank: tools of destruction and god of war 3 played largely like it did on the ps2– on a gameplay level it may not be as impressive or innovative as it once was but it’s more than serviceable, and provides a level of artistry and detail that other games will be trying to catch up to for years and to me these milestones make them worthy of having a place on my shelf.

this is the first post.

March 26, 2010

ok, now that’s done and over with.