Gameplay is greater than graphics. As true hardcore gamers we all share this opinion. Sadly, many of us take that sentiment and say things we really don’t mean. We say thinks like, “graphics don’t matter.”
I do admit that most commendable games place gameplay over graphics, but they don’t ignore it. Just think of the highly rated games that have come out in the past year. Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty 4, Team Fortress 2, and Super Mario Galaxy are all pretty games. They may not be destroying graphics cards around the world like Crysis, but they’re all good looking and a lot of care and time has been put into their visual presentation.
Beauty doesn’t always mean a game has to look as real as possible. I think that’s where people get that “graphics don’t matter” thing. They don’t seem to realize that art direction plays a very important role in their gaming experience.
Gaming is mostly a visual thing, and while I do agree that sound in games is horribly underrated, what we see is much more important than what we hear. I mean, just imagine if Bioshock didn’t look the way it did. How would your experience change if Bioshock‘s stunning visuals were replaced by something that could run on low-end laptops? Would you be as immersed in the world if it’s visual quality was comparable to an early PS2 game, or worse, a typical Wii
game? That was a joke, Nintendo fans. No nerd rage necessary.
I think most of us acknowledge the importance if a game’s appearance. Some of us say we don’t, but deep inside we do. We may say visuals don’t matter, but it’s the first thing we notice and comment on when a new game is announced. “Why does this game look last gen?”
Like I said previously, It’s not about hardware crushing graphics. Team Fortress 2 can run on nearly any machine and it looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s look plays into 95% of it’s charm. That’s probably what gets praised the most right next to it’s great team focused gameplay.
Mega Man fans went nuts over the fact that the latest game was going retro with it’s 8-bit graphics. Destructoid’s very own Chad Concelmo said he thought that type of art-style was beautiful, and that’s the point I’m trying to get across. Graphics don’t equal realism. A game doesn’t have to be Crysis to look good, and we shouldn’t just pass off graphics as something that doesn’t matter. It does.
P.S. -- I’d also like people to pay more attention to audio in games. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but sound has gotten so incredibly good in video games over the past 10 years.
Reviewers and the like don’t pay attention to sound as much as I’d want them to. Samit Sarkar, I love you, but I was sort of put off when I read your Midnight Club LA impressions
Audio in racing games is very important to me. It really affects my experience with a racing game in a negative way when every car sounds the same. I want to be able to tell the difference between each car just by listening to it. The Need for Speed team seem to be doing a great job with that, and so has Turn 10 with Forza 2.
Audio and video in games - important!