How important are graphics to you?

Do graphics attract more players, or is a great gameplay experience more important?

It’s a solid question for debate in the games industry, but we feel our answer is pretty defensible. Appealing graphics attract more players to a new game. Before we set ablaze the “8-bit loving” retro gamers, let’s be clear: We aren’t necessarily talking about achieving breathtakingly realistic graphics. While Crysis and other games have really set the bar high over the past decade; we find that games with an particularly refreshing or especially unique style can really get the best buzz going and grow an audience. Games like LIMBO, Castle Crashers, Okami [and yes Crysis] have achieved this benchmark and have each gotten gamers flocking in large part because they wrap their golden layers of great gameplay with stunning visuals.

A quick review of the App Store supports this statement even further as most of us will quickly audit a potential purchase by scrolling to the end of the info page to peep at the screenshots. A legitimately fun game will be hindered if it is tasseled to a boring set of screenshots on the info page.

However…

Without quality game design, even the prettiest games go in the trash bin after a few hours of play. Many graphically amazing games suffer from an awesomeness that is only skin deep. Those same titles mentioned above would not have retained their audience if there wasn’t substance under the surface.

We always push ourselves to capture both.

Let us know what you think by commenting below!


*Photo courtesy of EA Games.

By | 2012-04-16T09:55:05+00:00 April 16th, 2012|Game Development, Uncategorized|6 Comments

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6 Comments

  1. Chounard April 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I’d much rather play a nice looking game than something that looks terrible. Of course, I’ll make exceptions (for example, I hate the way VVVVVV looks, but I enjoyed it anyway) but it takes awhile for my gaming instincts to kick in and get over the way a game looks.

  2. Matt Raithel April 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    We agree!

    We do see quite a few titles these days [and especially in the mobile markets] that would be better served if there we some more appealing visuals to go along with their creative design.

    It doesn’t have to be super advanced to be appealing – we loved the Last Rocket from Shaun Inman [http://shauninman.com/lastrocket/] and it uses a very simple, retro pixel art style.

  3. Graphite Lab April 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    We agree!

    We do see quite a few titles these days [and especially in the mobile
    markets] that would be better served if there we some more appealing
    visuals to go along with their creative design.

    It doesn’t have to be super advanced to be appealing – we loved the Last Rocket from Shaun Inman [http://shauninman.com/lastrock…] and it uses a very simple, retro pixel art style.

  4. Jamari September 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Gameplay is definitely more important than visual appeal. The gameplay should be present before the graphics. A great mix of both is good too.

  5. Steve November 16, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I personally am not a huge fan of hyper-realistic graphics. I still say what I said back in the early PS1/N64 days: going into 3D is a double-edged sword. Some 3D graphics, while photo accurate and such, have no personality or soul. Very often, I see graphics for a game like Final Fantasy XIII where there’s so many pretty, detailed things happening on screen that you can’t see individual characters or monsters very well. One could make the argument that less is more, and that a surprising amount of character and personality can be shown with a minimalist style such as retro-bit and art direction like Limbo and Cave Story. It just kind of depends on the game as to what style works best for it. Just my two cents.

  6. Matt June 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Great references Steve! I love Limbo and just replayed the game all the way through just last week.

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