When the first Crysis launched, it become kind of a joke that you only had a good PC if it could run Crysis, since even the minimum requirements were very high at its time. The incredible graphics were one of the things that drove attention to the title. And since them, we kinda have an arms race to see wich developer can bring the most realistic world to life.
I have said before that, while graphics do matter, they aren't the most important thing in a game. If I would make a list, game play would be first, followed by sound and music, story, character development and them graphics. why? Because a shit game with shining exterior is still a shit game. No matter how much you try to hide behind that zillions of pixels and anti-alias and all that fancy technical jargon. If the game plays like shit, sounds like shits and the story is shit, all you are doing with fancy graphics is hiding the shit inside a fancy, expensive bag. But the smell is still the same.
But why gamers today put so many value in graphics? No new game can be announced without someone saying 'how shit the game looks', and determining a game should sucks because it does not looks realistic enough. why gamers put so many value in graphics?
|Oh, yeah, right...|
Graphic cards manufacturers needs to sell those things. Badly. so they make everything in their effort to show what those expensive babies can do. And the developers are them forced to make full use of it. If the owners of those GPUs doesn't demand from them, they run the risk of other developer making it first and be left behind in the graphics run.
Consoles are not innocent about it too. Sony and Microsoft are always trying to boost whose console is more powerful, and the only way to show it is graphics. Nobody can quantify or show whose machine play the games better. So graphics are the only comparison that can be made. And we have specialized sites whose only job is making comparisons between machines.
Nintendo is right, in part, by not following this graphics race. It allows and incentive developers to be creative in the other departments. Because they know a Nintendo machine will never have mind-blowing graphics, they have to put effort in all the other aspects of a game to draw attention to them. Which is why some of the most original games this gen came from Big N consoles.
Also, that is what many smaller developers are doing. Instead of trying to fight the big developers and publishers who have money to expend, they decide to go to the 'niche' markets and be creative. If they cannot beat them in graphics, they will try in game play and originality.
I think this graphics race is a bad thing. The games become more expensive to make, consoles and PCs are too expensive because they need to boast such graphics and gamers have forgotten what make a great game in order to show off their fancy, expensive rigs.
Graphics are important. Ugly graphics break immersion and can turn away gamers from it, since graphics are the first thing we see in a game. It is what make the first impression, after all. But the impression who will stay is not the looks of a game. It is how well it plays and how entertaining it is.
So, we gamers need to learn to look beyond appearances and give value were real value are. Not in the pixel counts, but in how much entertainment we can have with a game.