Alright, guy/boys/men, I’ve got a scenario for you. You’re at the bar, and you look and see two women sitting a few stools down from you; both appear single, and so are you. The one on the left is dressed to kill, and with looks to match, but the one on the right… not quite. Which one do you go talk to first? Most men, of course, would be more prone to strike up a conversation with a Kate Upton or a Megan Fox over a makeup-free Lady Gaga (trust me; look up a picture). Then, lo and behold, that girl on the left turns out to be a money hungry con while the one on the right, who you never paid attention to, is actually who you’ve been looking for your whole life.
Do we do the same with video games?
Please note that the above situation was meant to be an easily understandable, stereotypical comment rather than a sexist one, but I think it serves the purpose. Oftentimes we look at the graphics of a game and base part of our purchase on that; it’s not a bad thing to look for in a game. We want our games to look polished and pretty, right? But sometimes, graphics even influence the way we react to a game and how much we enjoy it. Whether we realize it or not, graphics can subliminally tweak our experience with a title.
Personally, I don’t buy games based on graphics alone, just as I would never ask a girl out based on looks alone. Obviously, the content of a game consists of more than just the quality of the graphics, but we can’t act like the influence is completely nonexistent. Without doing any research, I would say it’s a fair guess to assume that we (or our brains, subconsciously) associate an ugly game with laziness. Personally, I do this when it comes to FPS titles. I look at Battlefield and COD, and based on the graphics alone, I can conclude that the developers of COD are much lazier than Battlefield developers. Is there any truth to this? I don’t know, but that’s how my mind is automatically wired to work.
Does someone who’s wearing a nice dress and does her hair and makeup seem like she’s more interested to go on a date than one who goes makeup free with jeans and a t-shirt? Superficially, the answer is probably yes, especially in an urban setting; but that’s the way it seems. Is that the way it actually is? Most of the time, no, it probably isn’t. (FYI, I’m an advocate of teenage girls learning to appreciate themselves more and ditch the heavy makeup; don’t think I’m just another superficial 16 year old here looking for female A in the scenario.)
In the same way that most guys out there are hardwired to judge a girl by looks alone at first glance, (many times to the point where the girl won’t be spoken to because of it) whether we want to admit it or not, it’s probably just a habit for our minds to be drawn to more visually appealing games. Is it possible to break away from that and learn to look deeper? Absolutely; it just takes a bit of training. With enough resolve, we learn to appreciate games less for their graphics and more for their “inner beauty,” to put it more eloquently. Take note guys, It’s a lesson for relationships; not just games.
I might be going off on a tangent here, but you know what really irritates me? When companies slap some pretty graphics on a game and ship it out. Even worse, when they make a sequel that’s really just a nicer looking version of the first one. Yes, I admit, graphics do sometimes influence my personal enjoyment of a game. However, if you think I love graphics so much that I’m going to like your game even if it’s actually really crappy, think again. I’d rather have a fun, deep, engaging game with dated graphics than a pretty game with terrible gameplay. Yes, this applies to how I view girls as well.
On that note, it’s very possible for games with good graphics to be marred by bad mechanics or storylines. I thought Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a beautiful game, visually. However, I couldn’t finish it; I didn’t even come close. On the other hand, I’m currently enjoying Pokemon Black 2, even though the very pixelated graphics seem hardly any different from those on my old Pokemon Crystal, considering the time that’s passed between the two. Graphics don’t make a game, and oftentimes, we’re able to see past the graphics to the way a game really plays.
Wasn’t there at least one time in your life where you were dazzled by the graphics in a game and you thought that was the best game ever? When Zelda made the jump to 3D on the N64, did you think it was so amazing? Did switching your analog video cables to HDMI make you appreciate your games more? Does the color pallete in Uncharted, Mass Effect, or Halo seem more fun and interesting than that of Call of Duty or Call of Juarez? Did the difference between 8-bit and 16-bit, or 16 to 32 blow you away? You probably answered yes to at least one of those; if not, you’re a saint.
All I’m saying is that no matter how much we tell ourselves, “graphics don’t matter; it’s the storyline, mechanics, and character development that counts,” we’re probably lying to ourselves a bit because the graphics in a game will most likely influence our enjoyment of some games, even if by only a little. I’m not condemning anyone; it’s nice to have good looking games. I’m just saying that we can’t overlook the fact that when it comes down to it, we might be a bit more superficial than we would like to think.
What do you think? Leave a comment; tell me about a time when graphics influenced your enjoyment of a game, for better or for worse. Then, leave a like or a follow, check out the LP channels in the “Links” tab, and maybe follow me on Twitter too for bite-sized updates @OpinionAsAGamer