We’ve reached critical mass in how good graphics are in games. It can be considered to be an amazing technological accomplishment to see photo realistic characters which really turn heads and make people gasp in astonishment. Yet at the same time eliciting the uncanny valley, a term coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970 which an artificial human feels pretty much exactly genuine but the familiarity feels strange and causes fear and uneasiness to observers.
Seeing graphics like this is maybe unsettling to some but it’s also style over substance. We’ve reached a point now where you can see every pore on a characters face. Big deal, I just want a story in my game – a meaningful one that doesn’t feel like a tech demo. Making choices and controlling the characters destinies is what should matter the most in games. It’s what makes gaming a unique past time in contrast to film, TV and theatre. Now everything feels scripted to cater towards showing off what the designers want you to see.
Granted the visuals do provide some genuine wow moments but they should compliment a video game not define it. Occasionally games such as God of War will come along that will pair beautiful visuals with amazing gameplay to produce a winning combination. On the other hand, beautiful visuals can also be paired with mediocre gameplay most typically in games like Call of Duty that provides the same features just with a new coat of paint.
Kids these days always go on and on about graphics. It’s the first thing they latch onto when talking about an upcoming game release. I managed to get my nephews playing the games I was fond of when I was their age and they’d scoff at the graphics but the reason I was showing them my childhood games of yonder years is because of the significance of the gameplay. The graphics are superfluous because at the time practically everyone commented on how good the graphics looked yet today admittedly they do not look as good as games released recently. I remember playing the Lord of the Rings The Two Towers video game in 2002 when the film footage transitioned into in game footage I thought it was so impressive now it just seems jarring and odd. It’s the reasons why remasters have become so popular recently. Everyone wants to experience classic games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Bioshock and Crash Bandicoot without having to wince at some of the dodgy graphics.
Despite the wrinkles, old games still have a lot of value, they crafted an experience not defined by sheer technological power but by gameplay that kept you hooked. Some games like Halo, Ocarina of time, and the early Call of Duty games pioneered so many iconic gameplay features. Now these features have become commonplace it’s important to continue to shake up the longstanding formula or build significantly upon it and not just polish up what came before.