Graphics Will NEVER Make the Game

I'm amazed. Well, not too amazed I guess, but probably a little bit shocked. Through a little message board searching and a comment posted to another one of my editorials, I have come to find out that a rather large portion of the gamers in todays society STILL think that graphics are the most integral portion of a video game. I'm not sure how many times it has been written, but they are not and never will be. The argument has been around for ages of course. The old "I can play this game because the graphics are dumb" quote has been uttered a few millions times and more. It is shocking to me. Are we that spoiled by flashy polygons being thrown at us from every angle that we can no longer appreciate the simplicity of Centipede? What about the nifty vector graphics of Asteroids? Will Pac-Man never be played again simply because the game doesn't look like the games of today? Simply, no. There is a reason for the countless retro-gaming societies and conventions. These games play great. Maybe a bit simple, even archaic, but the gameplay these games provide is timeless. The graphics have nothing to do with entertainment value. It's not that games don't play well these days, but we need to get over this misnomer quickly. Anyone around the age of 20 will certainly remember the era of full-motion video games. Games like Tomcat Alley, Prize Fighter, Rebel Assault, or Loadstar will certainly remember having their jaws hit the floor when they seen one. There seemed to be one problem with them: They played terrible. They were not fun at all. They all featured real video throughout the entire play time, but are hardly classics (Dragons Lair and Space Ace excused of course) even though they feature graphics unlike anything gamers had ever seen. Countless other games have tried radical approaches to grab the gamers dollar by throwing flashy graphics at them in magazine and TV ads. Rise of the Robots was a commercial success mostly due to the new rendering process it used to animate the characters, but many gamers found out $50 later that the game was practically unplayable. Jim Power in the 3rd Dimension was a fairly popular release with a gimmicky 3-D effect. Shame most gamers could not beat the second stage due the unfair difficulty levels. Lastly, who could ever forget the goofy Holloseum by Sega, a laserdisc arcade game so unplayable, most gamers gave up even though it had "revolutionary" holographic, uh, graphics. No matter how big video games become or how great they look, the gameplay will always be the key to a games success. Great graphics can certainly enhance the gaming experience, but they will never (nor have they ever been) be the key to enjoying a game. I'm not sure if this is an idea that will ever be completely eliminated from video gaming, but at least I can live myself knowing I tried.

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