Video Games: Better graphics vs Better Gameplay

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written by owen on 2009-Aug-03.

In my view the reason we can't have both is because development resources are always limited. Probably only the first party companies (sony, nintendo, microsoft) have infinite resources to spend years and pay the most talented and imaginative people to built their games. Which is why first party games always seem to come out with games that are excellent in all areas.

Now let me list the reasons why normally we can't have excellent graphics and excellent game play on limited resources;

Better graphics means; bigger textures, more processing power needed, more assets, more art, more physics, more motion capture, more sound samples, more video

Better Gameplay means; More options, more NPCs, more characters, more objects to interact with, branching paths and story, more actions, better A.I.

Now lets try to combine the 2;

Graphics over gameplay leads to; small maps, Flat A to B stories (most Fps games), limited interactions or Quicktime events, buses crashing into intersections that BLOCK YOUR DAM PATH!(uncharted 2 video) Big open spaces with nothing to do in them (ala Just Cause). Enemies that always spawn at the same place. Switchs.

Gameplay over graphics lead to; Old Games like Mario 1, PacMan, Zelda TTP, Time Splitters. Because really they had no choice but to make the gameplay solid (old and multiplatform games seem to suffer from this). I'm finding it really hard to find examples for this nowadays.


My examples are limited to what I can remember now. Either way what is needed is a balance between graphics and game play. Something like NMH, or FZero Gx (yeah the other racers on the track look shitty but they were 30 of them so it kinda balances out). Most games nowadays are shitty because the graphics department has more power and is therefore using up too much of the systems resources. hence forcing the gameplay/stories to be implemented inadequately.

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  1. I'm not that much of a gamer... if at all. So I can't comment.

    by Stunner 2009-Aug-05 

  2. This is deep! Deep, deep, deep.

    by mad bull 2009-Aug-15 

  3. @Stunner

    ->and yet, here you are!


    I strongly disagree. People make great looking games with great game play ALL the time. When a game comes out that has more looks than gameplay, then it's a sign that the developers were LAZY.

    Plain and simple.

    It has nothing to do with development resources or machine capacity. Super Mario 3 pushed the NES to its breaking point in some worlds. Final Fantasy 7 used every process call on the Sony Playstation. I won't even begin to talk about games like Far Cry and Crysis.

    What is lacking in games today is one thing: Innovation.

    So far, only Nintendo LLC is paying any attention to this. Nintendo is the only company out there that isn't rolling out platforms that invite developers to make exactly the same game over and over and over again.

    When is the last time you've seen a new genre defining game hit the market? The Nintendo Wii is all the rage in the US right now, because it is the only platform whose very design FORCES developers to come up with new ways to make game a game fun play.


    That is the key. Every new game coming out for platforms these days is based on the same concepts:

    1. 3D First Person Shooter


    2. 3D Third Person Explorer

    Hardly anyone is making any games that are outside this bracket. We need INNOVATION, not better graphics (or more horsepower). It doesn't matter how many development resources the companies have available to them and it doesn't matter what technological advancements currently exist. Without innovation, the market grows stagnant.

    Nintendo is the only company that understands this.

    by Xeno 2009-Sep-28 

  4. all i've saying is that nowadays graphic is inversely proportional to game play because of resources.
    As for innovation maybe we've run the well dry? maybe we have come to pinnacle of game and are now on a slow downfall.

    by owen 2009-Sep-28