Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gameplay vs. graphics - (Mark C.)

I am having trouble focusing on the post for tonight because I am mesmerized by the fire burning in our fireplace before me.  My toes are super toasty.  Don't mind me whilst I stare off into space for a bit...

Then I get to thinking (uh oh, voyeur brain on the loose.)  A fireplace fire is always beautiful.  It displays vibrant colors full of movement.  It is constantly changing and evolving.  It is powerful.  It draws us in.

But, a fire does not burn without wood.  And wood is not particularly alluring on it's own (please don't read too much into that statement.)  Dry wood is particularly mundane.  It is naked of its bark, foliage and branches.  It is gray and cracked.  But, baby does it burn. It produces the stunning show I am now considering.

What does this have to do with gameplay vs. graphics?   I am not entirely sure, exactly.  Probably nothing.

As you know, I do not play video games.  I watch video games.  However, I know full well that video games are meant to be played.  Maybe I am going out on a limb here, but what good would a video game be if it looked really beautiful, but was clunky and boring? 

Take Marla Hooch, for example.  What a hitter!  That girl could play ball.  But, based on her looks (particularly at the beginning of the movie) no man would even consider the dirt in her skirt.  She almost lost her chance to try out for the All American Girls Baseball League because she wasn't pretty. 

Yes, some video games look and play like Geena Davis or Madonna.  Immaturity may lead a young gamer to think that those types of games should be the rule rather than the exception.  Years of gaming will prove him wrong.  He will tire of gorgeous backgrounds that take a long time to load and story lines that are dull and narrow in scope.  Sure these games look amazing on his 72" flat screen television, but wouldn't it be refreshing to be with a woman who is articulate and doesn't take an hour and a half to primp to grab a bite?

Wait, what were we talking about?

Because my husband is also articulate here are a few thoughts of his on the matter (you know the actual video game stuff):

 Gameplay vs Graphics. 

Skyrim vs MW3 is a good example.  Graphics in Skyrim are rough and there are many bugs, but the gameplay is so engrossing that gamers are willing to look past it.  MW3 is beautiful, runs at 60 frames per second (makes it look smooth), but gets criticism for being a “corridor” shooter with endless spawning enemies if you don’t advance.

Other examples? 

I’m playing through Final Fantasy tactics for the third time (on my phone, no less), because I just enjoy the gameplay and leveling system so much.  It’s a 14 year old game. 

But with a game like Batman: Arkham City, you don’t have to choose.

Just to clarify, I would never advocate choosing gameplay over graphics or graphics over gameplay or settling in any way.  I am just harping on the old adage not to judge a book by its cover.  As a college professor once said (yes, at my Christian college), "Just because the prune is wrinkled doesn't mean it doesn't taste good." 

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