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General: Editorial: Graphics Whores

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  • DanmannDanmann Staff WriterMember UncommonPosts: 95
    Well I've only logged twenty something hours on FFXII since I bought it and I probably have topped 80 hours in Space Empires 4 and 5 in the last two weeks...go figure.

    Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the reviews of MMORPG.com or its management.

  • delateurdelateur Member Posts: 156

    I think I'm in the majority here when I say that I will always want a better graphical experience when possible, but I'm willing to concede the ability to produce such graphics sometimes falls below the bleeding edge of what is possible. A game does not have to blow me away graphically for me to respect it. Anything I would rate a 7 or higher in all meaningful categories (story/plot, graphics, sound, gameplay, replayability, etc.) has my respect, shown in the dollars I spend to purchase it, and the reviews I might write for it. A seven, graphically speaking, varies depending on the platform, of course, but for PC-based MMOGs, there's really only one criterion for me: Do the graphics detract from my immersion?

    UO is an excellent example. I tried to enjoy that game, and simply could not. It was so graphically archaic when I tried it, I just could not begin to care about how the game itself actually played. The same was true of Asheron's Call, to a lesser degree. I admit it, I LOVE a pretty game, and I've probably missed some great MMOG experiences because they weren't attractive enough, but that being said, I don't want companies to cater to my ideas of what is graphically "good enough." Instead, make a finished product. Make a game that looks, plays, and feels exactly like you envision, and let me decide if your vision is enjoyable. I believe that any game that is developed and tested thoroughly, and is pronounced "finished" by developers and at least 75% of your beta players is worth putting on the market, and if it's not the prettiest game out there, so be it.

    Best of luck to all developers in bringing more amazing experiences to the MMO genre. ::::20::

  • RattrapRattrap Member, Newbie CommonPosts: 1,599

    I see a lot is written on this.

    Well , let me give you my point of view - as a professional graphic artist and magister of arts

    The thing people dont realise , there is a diference between

    simple(or old) graphic and bad graphic

    example no1: Super Mario

    This game has old 2d sprite graphic. But nobody can say it has bad graphic. It is simply enjoyable.
    So why is that super mario games can claim they have good looking graphic even today.

    The answer is simple - They are ICONIC

    There are countles theories written on this subject. Like "uncanny valley" and many others.
    The result is simple , as closer something resembles the "real" object , the more obvious are its faults.

    The further away something is from "real" the more our brain is compensating - and thus creating perfect image
    half real half imaginary...thus "Iconic"

    example no2:

     image <- is this a face ?

    Just circle , 2 dots and a line...

    So finnaly we come to a match made in heaven

    WoW vs Everquest2

    WoW uses high iconisation - deliberately sparking our imagination , making our brain to compensate
    -
    EQ2 goes for hyper realistic look - undeliberately producing "uncanny valley" effect , making us judge it graphics

    In few years EQ2 will have highly dated graphic , while WoW graphic will be as fresh as ever - because tey are iconic and not dependant on rendering but on "style"

     

    So in closing word.

    Good or bad graphic is not function of age , or rendering engine or new directX

    It is in hands of clever design and good eye for art (and knowledge of human visual mind)

    "Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas

  • RyokuchaRyokucha Member UncommonPosts: 3
    I have to disagree with the statement made that "Graphics whores are killing innovation in gaming." More then likely it is a developer not able to put all aspects of a game together, rather then just the graphics. If a developer is thinking they can attract people with eye candy only, then they probably are in the wrong industry. Graphics are apart of the game, no denying that, but they are also not the end all be all of a game either.

    To me a game can be viewed as a orchestra with string(Game play), brass(Content), woodwind(Skill system), percussion(Graphics) and the Conductor(Developer) keeping them all in sync. Sure a orchestra could play with a lousy section or even missing a section, but the music would not be as pleasant as if it contained all parts. It could also be said that it could be played with one or two sub-par sections and one superb section, the music still wouldn't sound as sweet as if they all were all highly exceptional and in sync.

    So having that example I would say if the Conductor can not get all his sections synced together and working together, or if one part is off key while the others are playing great, the music itself would be effected as a whole. While some might not mind that it sounds a bit flat or off key, most will probably say this just doesn't work, or is just plain awful. The same could be said about graphics in a game,for some it might be acceptable to play with stick figure characters from a overhead view but everything else is great, while for most will see that as not being innovative, or just be plain unplayable.

    So back to the original editorial, while graphics might not be the top of everyone's list, they are apart of a whole. With the amount of money and time being invested into a game these day, and the amount of income they can produce if they are successful, it baffles me to no end how so many developers go so wrong with totally missing out on one section in favor of another, not only graphic wise. If you can manage to be innovative in all aspects of a game and put it in sync, you would be hard pressed to produce a dud. But all too often Producers/Developers of a game feel they have to get a game out as fast as possible to join the MMO bandwagon before it gets away, if that means just make some eye candy so be it. So I disagree that it is graphic whores fault innovation is not taking place, but more on the greed of a developer to cash in with as little time and investment involved. It just seems like graphics are easier to improve upon then having to come up with a storyline, raids, quests, skill systems, character creation, ect...

    Since a lot of people like to use WoW as the example and probably the most familiar, here it goes. Blizzard took the time to piece all parts of a game together and put it in a nice sync where no part is sub-par, while nothing in wow is really innovative, the fact that they where able to put a lot of pieces from a bunch of different mmos best parts into one that worked, well I have to give them that it worked and in itself is innovative. So it is less about the Graphic Whores, being games like WoW are not just eye candy as WoW's graphics are not all that great. It's the part of putting together many great aspects of other MMO's which makes it a innovation.

  • RagemoreRagemore Member Posts: 51

    I realized I was a graphics whore just recently. Dark and Light opened my eyes to my true inner being. I always claimed innovation and ideas, gameplay, features and content were more important, with graphics and sound bringing up the rear.....but i was wrong, I read everything about Dark and Light, and really thought it had a lot to offer, and then I paid 50 doallars for it.

    I was burned, I forced myself to play it for two days, and then I never signed on agian. It made me take a look at what matters in a game, and I realized that it is immersion. A game must have style, something that makes me forget my little computer room, an d graphics have to hold my attention long enough to get to the innovative game play.

    I finally laid Star Craft to rest recently also, Dawn of War series was good enough for me to no longer play the rts giant. I didnt care that the graphics on a '93 game were very outdated, they still had style, of course until DOW came along, now I expect that level for my rts games.

    So I guess i'm saying I agree...I was a closet Graphics whore who has finally come out.

    Rage - Head Honcho of the Revilers
    "Ragemore and Whine Less"

  • AbraxosAbraxos Member Posts: 412

    Graphics get me looking at a game. I normally read an article on a game based on some screenshot that is included. I might go and buy a game based on graphics but long term playability such as a MMORPG needs more. Games like EQII got my initial $50 but I eventually got bored and quit paying the monthly fee. A game can look great but something more is needed to keep players following that dangling carrot of an MMORPG, at least from my opinion.

    Another scary thing is that if MMORPG.com  feature a game lacking in graphical pizzaz then normally it means that the game is being done by a small company, or that the company is behind on production allowing the graphics to become dated, or that quite possibly the gameplay will be as boring as the graphics. I've played good looking games and ugly games that stunk on the game-play/fun-factor side so it is always a coin toss but I tend not to even look at a Shadowbane or a Dark and Light anymore. It's very rare that a MMORPG is going to release with 1998 graphics but some stellar innovative incredible gameplay design in todays market.  Now if only I could say on the other side of the coin that an impressive graphic engine meant I was going to see stellar gameplay then it would all be so easy.

  • TheoTheo Member Posts: 242
    I think the author's mistake is to assume that high-end graphics and
    innovative gameplay are at odds with one another. If a game fails to
    deliver either one it's not likely to get my money.



    I don't believe it's a focus on graphics that's hampering the evolution
    of MMOs, but the fear of failure. Developers and publishers stick to an
    existing mold because there's a precedent for its success. They know
    people will line up to play the next sword and sorcery level grind, but
    a wild new idea is a big risk. Instead of spending their development
    dollars on unique, innovative gameplay, they try to differentiate
    themselves from one another with a few minor details (offline bazaar!
    yay!) and prettier graphics. Others rely on popular licenses to bring
    in customers, but most of those still start with the tried and true MMO
    model first, trying to shoehorn in the licensed property after the
    fact. Star Wars Galaxies and Lord of the Rings Online are two huge
    properties that could offer very unique gameplay experiences that truly
    reflect their respective worlds, but both have relagated themselves to
    the standard class-based level grind. It's disappointing.



  • PraxusPraxus Member Posts: 266
    I disagree with the article. There's no excuse for a new game not to have good graphics.
    If they don't, it shows they have low  production values, a small budget, or both and it doesn't exactly
    fill me with confidence in the rest of the game.

    Since graphics are what you are looking at all the time when playing the game, it is not the place for devs to skimp.

    If you want to emphasis excuses and justifications for some low budget, crappy art design game, go ahead.
    Personally I'd rather play games that had both great graphics AND great gameplay.






  • jimmyman99jimmyman99 Member UncommonPosts: 3,221
    I agree and disagree with the article.



    Radicalism isnt a good idea in
    either case, whether the game has great content but poor graphics, or
    the other way around, great graphics but poor content. The game is
    defined not by 1 aspect, but rather by combination of many. Its true
    that some companies concentrate on one aspec more then the other, and
    then we see bad games with great graphics, or great games with very
    poor graphics. Logicaly speaking, the graphics should be just slightly
    behind content, because graphics can be upgraded without major changes
    to the game at any time (at least a well designed game).



    What I disagree with is that graphics whores are killing anything other
    then their own finances and respect from the player base. Unfortunately
    bad products do exist, and lots of them. But so do good products. What
    we, as a community, can do is simple, dont buy products from companies
    without trying them first, and dont believe all the fancy screenshots
    or videos. I dont think people are dumb enough to buy something that
    looks pretty but tastes like poo, at least not more then once (yes, im
    an optimist, heh)







    I am the type of player where I like to do everything and anything from time to time.
    image
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor - pre-WW2 genocide.
    imageimage

  • soltysplsoltyspl Member UncommonPosts: 58

    I partially agree.

    I wouldn't call graphics as something that destroys games (not an only reason at least). [afraid] Producers, [afraid] designers and crappy coders is what is the worst. They prefer to make simplistic clones again and again, instead of doing something better, more original (of course there're exceptions, but rather rare). But that requires effort, more work, more imagination, more support, more time, more complexity. Why bother ? It's all about the money in the end. And simplistic, proven "solutions" work, supported by tremendous amount of PR bullshit. Regardless if it's mmo or single player game.

    Good graphics does help medicore titles in staying afloat though.

    In mmo realm, take for example L2 - a terrible game with incredibly broken game mechanics on practically, every level imaginable. With one of the worst CS. Yet it's still alive in NA. Why ? Decent graphics. Big, pretty, shiny, glowing weapons, cute armors, panties visible on every occasion, silicon DEs. Everything else seems to be secondary. Besides grpahics, people also love to self-brainwash themselves and force into liking crappy, unfinished halfproducts, and then literally drool to pretty screenshots and a few numbers. A lot of current players can't even comprehend an idea of a mmorpg without a grind. That's sad.

    OTOH hard to not agree with the OP - by today's "standards", the amount of time spent on game engine (or even on using one already made), textures and animations is far more substantial than a few years ago. Time that could, and should in most cases, be spent somewhere else.

    If AoC and DF flop, I think I'll lose my faith into mmorpgs completely. In the recent few years, there's been a lot of cancellations of promising titles, and a lot of letdowns. Not that sp games were much better (but there were at least few nice titles there).

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DStuff

  • spiritglowspiritglow Member Posts: 171
    I can play up to two generations behind in graphics if the game is good (AO or EQ1 is still acceptable to me).  The exceptions to that rule are the Shadowrun games on the Genesis and  Playstation 1 or Military Madness on the the Turbo Graphics. Now that I'm digging into history some maybe Road Rash or Need for Speed on 3DO might would do.  The madden games for Genesis or Playstation 1 I couldn't do anymore.

    Spiritglow 


  • SamaelSamael Member Posts: 31

    Originally posted by Rattrap

    simple(or old) graphic and bad graphic example no1: Super Mario This game has old 2d sprite graphic. But nobody can say it has bad graphic. It is simply enjoyable.
    So why is that super mario games can claim they have good looking graphic even today. The answer is simple - They are ICONIC
    example no2:  image <- is this a face ?

    What a nice, simple, short explanation. This is the best post I have ever seen in mmorpg, that explains a lot for me in gfx success of a game. I enjoy nowadays some old games gfx and now I know why thanks to you. image

    And btw, gfx are a part of a game. Not more, not less. UO had good mechanics but lacked atmosphere due to the old gfx and animations, that hurt game inmersion a lot. Nowadays, there is no excuse to bring both gameplay, sound, gfx and support at a high level. And take the Rattrap explanation as a rule to judge what a good gfx means truly in a game.





    image - Spanish Black Prophecy Fansite

  • HolyAvengerOneHolyAvengerOne Member UncommonPosts: 702

    You may also want to consider that while a developer can screw up or throw overboard the features that he announced, he cannot do that with graphics. Hence graphics bear more importance, especially in a to-be-released games, because they're the only reliable thing you have.




  • FariicFariic Member Posts: 1,546



    Originally posted by Holyavenger1
    You may also want to consider that while a developer can screw up or throw overboard the features that he announced, he cannot do that with graphics. Hence graphics bear more importance, especially in a to-be-released games, because they're the only reliable thing you have.






     

    Ding!! 

     

    And this is why so many games are lacking in any real depth, but I don't think this is so much the developers fault but the company that is making the monetary investment in the game to start.  Pretty games sell; so if you make the game really, really pretty with few features you are more likely to sell a ton of copies up front.  MMO's also start in the black more so then a single player game.  All those servers to pay for and run, the CS department to fund; I think that software companies focus on getting a return for all the money they put out before anyones ever bought the game that they go for the "safe" thing and overload on graphics in an ettept to sell more. 

     

    I think that it won't be long before software companies learn that MMO players are not the same as single player console gamers, and we require more depth to our games. 

  • DaisemiinDaisemiin Member Posts: 1

    I recently played Civ IV at a friends and was inspired to go replay the original Civilization. I remembered the hraphics as better than they were, but the gameplay was still the best Civ out there.

    People complained mightily about the graphics of WoW but 6 million of them seemingly overcame this deficiency. Imagine if WoW had "better graphics".

    Lately Im playing Second Life, where your beginner avatar is literally what you make of it. After a few months of tweaking and 4000L of skin upgrades, hair, walks and clothes I have a pretty hot chick looking back at me. So when I saw the bag of suet that passes for an avatar in NWN II I was frankly apalled. I couldnt stand any of the EQ II avatars and their plastic hair at all. My SWG avatars are holding up well for the most part when I checked up on them a few months ago, and when I played the retro EQ servers for a few months, the avatsrs, for all their chunkiness were "home" and I didnt mind at all. I actually preferred the original models to the Luclin models.

    Maybe Second Life is the future of graphics. Let the players do the work and concentrate on making a great game.

  • ReklawReklaw Member UncommonPosts: 6,495

    I have to say that i might count meself as a "Graphic Whore", if graphics of a new game does not meet the standart of what is possible (especialy on a high end machine) then the rest of the game doesn't intrest me unfortunaly, i noticed this when i went into beta of Carpe Diem, from what i have read the gameplay looks awesome, but when i went into the game itself it looked horrible this time and day (kinda like games back in the 90"s then it looked nice) i really could not force meself to look at those horrible graphics and listenen to really wierd noise( wich was ingame sounds wich i couldn't really reconize).But graphics need to be consistent with the gameworld aswell work great and feel realistic, this is what is possible today so why settle with less, some may argue that not everyone has top notch machines, but i think a good gamedeveloper can make a game work on both low and high end machine's (think WoW can be apricciatted on both kind of machine) There are also games that really look cool but play horrible for me Cabal online is such a game.

    But to be a "graphic whore" does not neccesary mean i can not enjoy older games, but those games can't be from a series of the same sort cause then i'm tempted to play the newest version as most become upgraded or become better over the years, unfortunaly some don't change that much and get lost in the mass of games.

    For those that have seen the World Of Warcraft intro movie, i'm still waiting for games to look like that and hopefully one day play like what you see in intro movies. When games are that high of quality i think i can finaly say to games the words Nex-gen if it comes to pc games!

     

  • mehhemmehhem Member Posts: 653

    Originally posted by Major_Skillz
    I agree and disagree with points made in the editorial.

    Company's that develop their games with high-end graphics are no more or less guilty of not innovating than another company. This is part of a larger issue.

    Every game put out is a financial gamble. Especially when it comes to mmo's because of their natural higher operational costs.

    It's the game publishers are afraid of cutting edge and innovation. They want to see and touch what the know is and has worked in the past. I mean come on. It's about money, not the end-user or innovation.

    A company that took that chance and succeeded was CCP with EVE-ONLINE. Not the graphics part. Yes, the are very high-end to say the lest. However, the mark they made was the fresh and innovative game they created. from the heavy PVP element to the single game Universe.

    I think they were prepared to fail in order to put out the game they wanted. This is what has made them a success and also the potential failure of any new game.

    This is why publishers are very heavy into a games design and features normally. They want to put out something that will give them some sort of respectable return and the only data they can accurately use to make that determination is what is living and breathing.

    Not what someone has dreamed can be possible.

    Peace





    While I agree that people who rate games lower just because of graphics is stupid and shouldn't be done.  The truth is that graphics DO matter.  Everyone who plays an MMO or PC videogame is sitting at their computer STARING at the screen.  And what is on that screen, lets hope good graphics. 

    Then you have to figure the developer side... Screenshots and videos don't say much about gameplay.  It tells the player everything about graphics.  Until we can get an accurate gameplay review about each game, then players must rely on screen shots and graphics to choose which games they play. 

    Also Major_Skillz, your avatar on this site looks almost exactly like my char in EVE.


  • joeballsjoeballs Member UncommonPosts: 163

    There needs to be a really thought-out balance between gameplay and graphics. There is a reason why it's called a "video" game. It's a game that requires visuals to play. So if you're creating a game that's based on "role-playing" and "virtual worlds", then it better have a somewhat convincing visual representation by taking advantage of the target hardware of its time.

    UO's target hardware was some time in the early to mid 90's. I don't care how great the game is, it's not targeting today's hardware, so it will be somewhat unappealing to gamers who just spent $2000 on a new computer. It's probably equivalent to a board game at that point.

    It's 2006. If you're going to create a game to be released in 2007, then the game should be fun, and it should take advantage of the latest technology. Period.

    I think the term "Graphics Whore" is based on something else completely. My take on that term is when i see people bashing a game based on a screenshot, and they haven't even played the game yet. That's what I mean by a balance between gameplay and graphics. If the graphics are 'good enough' for its time, but the gameplay is really fun, people will play it. If the gameplay is really good and the graphics are bad, people won't play it. If the gameplay sucks and the graphics are incredible, some people will buy it just to see how it runs on their machine, but they probably won't play through the whole game, and they definitely won't buy the sequel. ;)


  • DameonkDameonk Member UncommonPosts: 1,914
    I agree with a lot of what people have already posted.  Graphics & Gameplay matter.  Case and point.

    The highest rated upcoming game on MMORPG.COM right now is Warhammer Online. 
    Graphics:
    Now, I'm sure Warhammer is using the latest shader technology and the highest graphic development out there, it doesn't look like it to me.  All of the screenshots/videos I have seen seem to look about on par for 1 or 2 years ago. (I hate to say this, because I do not think they will be similar at all, but the screenshots look like the graphic quality of WoW)
    Gameplay:
    It's being developed by Mythic (I still play DAOC, my second favorite MMO, right behind the original UO) & it's based on one of the most successful tabletop games.  These two gameplay elements combined are why I'm looking so foward to the game.

    The graphics are below my personal standards for a "next-gen" game, but they are acceptable, which is why I hyped the game at an 8 instead of a 10.  5 for gameplay 3 for graphics. If the graphics had blown me away I would have definitley rated it as a 10.


    "There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer."

  • Plague_HSPlague_HS Member Posts: 4
    This is the way I see it, Graphics whores hype a game with good graphics ALOT, not saying that graphics aren't part o the game or anything, but the reason games with much higher graphics seem to fail more often than not in gameplay and immersive play issues, is mainly due to the disease known as rushed release, which is caused by an infection known as over hyping, and other factors such as developement funding limitations, and CEOs who fall under the pressure by all the screaming Graphic whore fans who are calling for an early release. If the project leads were to hold on until the game is finished rather than letting themselves be pushed into the early release maybe they would've increased the depth of the actual game or finetuned the gameplay before "launching a half built ship" and causing those fans to scream out in torment as all their expectations tied to those sparkly wonderful graphics come tumbling down around their ears.

    I'm not and hopefully never will be amongst those known as graphics whores, but then again, I come from the age of the NES, just after the age of the ATARI, so maybe its the inbread oldschool tendancies in me that keep me from the road so many born in this era of gaming travel.

    Hell I'm not sayin I don't like graphics either. Just so long as the gameplay is there, I'm not down on those who see graphics as the top either, as they generally can't help it, they were raised in a time of shiney things so it is natural for them to want more, of course some always want and strive for more.

    I am always excited when a new engine is released, not for the graphical entity attatched to it, but for the range of options that are introduced, the new tools available for people to use to give them a chance at making something original, of course anyone who says anything bad about the little companies who can't afford to buy rights to use the new engines or who foolishly think all designers and developement teams can afford those rights,

    well all i can say is, some of us have great ideas, but financial limitations. should we all be absorbed into the huge emotionless dying beasts of other corporations? NO!
    I support those with fresh ideas no matter the limitations. for once they have the resources they can implement graphical greatness to their idea and make a reality of their dreams, everyone should have that option!

    ONE thing to remember.
    We are not cattle to be used for the purposes of the massive corporations. those small companies aren't as strong and they are groups of creative individuals. I say support those at the bottom, for they need it most.



  • merv808merv808 Member UncommonPosts: 511
    I think a lot of people are missing the point here. Noone is saying that graphics aren't important because they are. Current MMO's should not look like NES games. Everyone who enjoys graphics doesn't fall into the category of "Graphics Whores". Those are the people who think that every game has to look as good as is technologically possible. The people who rate a game a 1 because the graphics look like a game that was really good looking 2 years ago. If your read the reviews and previews here you know what I'm talking about. There are games out there like WoW and Ryzom that aren't the top graphically-yet they still deliver really good looking worlds and characters that are fun to play. Ill take either one of those over Lineage 2 which was a graphical powerhouse, but a very boring game.


  • airheadairhead Member UncommonPosts: 718
    wow... what a mixed bag.

    First, the current lack of innovation is due to HIGH RISK, and not much else. When the budget for a project costs multi-millions, then risk increases so much that everyone is scared to death to do much innovating. Could two brothers hook up with some programmers and create a new genre game now (myst)? IF myst was going to cost 30 million to develop, then the answer is a flat NO. Graphics are visibly tangible and generally safe things to push to the max... that's why it's being done, i.e. it's a relatively low-risk area to put effort into, as opposed to some new and never before tried innovative gameplay idea. Eventually, someone will come up with a new innovative hit, and it will get copied 20 times for another 5 years.... but until then, it's such a big business, it's going to move slow.

    Second, graphics includes a lot of aspects that I think get ignored. There is the modelling, the texture, and the consistency of the overall presentation. For example, to have a really high level of detail in the character and his clothing, running around on a poorly modelled world, walking along the meeting edge of two large polygons, is terrible imo. With that in mind, I thought wow "graphics" were better than eq2. Eq2 had great detail for some things, then I see this side of a building with no breaks, nothing but a big flat polygon with a texture slapped on it. Or I'm running along a hill top and go 40 feet along this perfectly straight joint between two huge triangles... It's INCONSISTENCY all over the place. The GOAL of graphics is to achieve a 'suspension of disbelief'. As long as game is consistent and interesting, with varying and interesting modelling, styles, and colors, then one 'believes' they are there, and that's the whole goal of graphics imo. WoW did a phenomenal job with that... realism is not the goal, but believability is.

    Finally, I'm definately a graphics whore; push it to the limit. Software and hardware each push the other. That keeps me upgrading my system, pushing my 179 deduction to the limit every year.... Of course I long for innovation, but I dont' see the graphics push as a replacement for that, it's just the least risky aspect to work on in a very risky business... so keep pushing it devs. (just be bold and do some new stuff too)



  • DrakonusDrakonus Member Posts: 135

    I AM A GRAPHICS WHORE AND DARNED PROUD OF IT!!!! 

    In all honestly, I don't believe game devs should rely solely on the graphics.  Game mechanics and the overall plot of the game are just as important.  But I don't think a game should be knocked just because it's pretty either.  I like pretty games.  Pretty games add to my enjoyment of the game.  Whereas, crappy game mechanics can suck the life out of even the prettiest game.  But you add crappy game mechanics to crappy graphics and it becomes a blackhole (the hell-place in the movie Event Horizon), no one wants to visit...ewww (my least favorite game ever...RYL).  I've enjoyed 2-D games just as much as 3-D games.   

    image

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