So last week, the week before that and a few more weeks before that we’ve seen a lot of internet bitching about resolution, graphic fidelity, and just how many p’s each game has.
I’m sick of it. I’m sick of “ResolutionGate”, I’m sick of these stupid YouTube comparison videos and I’m sick of whiny people whining.
Look, I’m not going to say graphics aren’t important. They are. But they’re also far from the MOST important thing. Hell, they may not even be in the top ten.
The truth is, graphics today just aren’t that impressive anymore. When I was growing up, games were making leaps from the Sierra text-based adventure games to Doom to Duke Nukem 3D to Quake. That, was impressive.
When Half-Life originally came out, I was blown away. When I got my first look at Quake 3, I just sat there gaping like a fish out of water; the lighting effects, to me, were almost unbelievable.
We don’t really have that now. The next-gen console games look significantly better than the old-gen stuff, sure, but the graphics are as good as or worse than stuff we’ve already seen on PC for years. It’s not some kind of breakthrough, it’s no longer being limited by hardware that’s eight years old.
We’ve hit a plateau. Graphics, today, across the board for the big AAA titles are mostly just very good. For the foreseeable future, there isn’t going to be a Half-Life or a Quake 3 or a Crysis. So let’s stop bloody caring about it so much.
Do you know what one of the biggest games of the last five years is? Freakin’ Minecraft. Not exactly known for its hardware-melting graphics. The same can be said for every DotA-esque game, Counter-strike, the Call of Duty franchise.
Gameplay has historically been more important in terms of sales, critical reception, consumer reception than anything to do with appearance.
So why is that not what we’re talking about? The gaming community has turned into this toxic groupthink that quibbles about minor issues and nitpicks trivial details.
We no longer get excited; we get angry. We argue about resolution, we accuse developers of “false advertising” when their tech demos look a little better than their final product. We act as if the difference between 900p and 1080p is something we actually care about. We use every resolution comparison across consoles as an opportunity to drop our pants and grab the ruler.
This issue goes beyond graphics too. Every time there’s something that we perceive as a slight inconvenience, it’s time to create a petition.
I guess I’m off topic at this point, but the gaming scene has gone to an ugly place. We used to be excited about games, we used to share rumours and news and talk about what we were most looking forward to.
I guess we still do that; but it’s not the same. We’ve become angrier, grumpier, more cynical. We don’t celebrate games anymore, we evaluate them. We judge them.
The worst part is, we value the wrong things. We value disposable franchises over true innovation. We care more about minimum requirements than we do gameplay. We spend hours arguing over which platform is better, instead of arguing about which game is better.
Here’s the kicker too: gaming right now is better than it’s ever been. We have more games being developed than ever before, on more platforms than ever before. Games are infinitely more accessible.
We have a massive indie scene, we have publishers investing more money into a single game than a blockbuster film.
We’re swimming Scrooge McDuck-style in an ocean of awesome, mediocre and not so awesome games across every interest imaginable.
So maybe it’s time we all show some f**king gratitude.