Just like the replacement of VHS video with DVD, then the arrival of Blu-Ray, developers have always been looking to upgrade the visuals of video games while many purists argue that graphics should never be a deciding factor in what consumers spend their money on. I'm sure a lot of people have met someone who's refused to pick up a masterpiece of a game simply because it doesn't look state of the art, or perhaps it's possible a radical art style has put gamers off a title that is full of substance?
Whose argument is more important? How many games actually manage to get the balance right? In this feature, we'll take a look at some games that heavily focused on one of the two respective aspects during their development and how it either benefitted or ruined them.
Final Fantasy VII
I encouraged a friend back in school who was a huge fan of it's sequel Final Fantasy VIII at the time to try out it's predecessor and as soon as he saw what it looked like, he laughed and refused to play it, even though based on his views of VIII, he would have really enjoyed it. This proved to me early on the importance of graphics in the eye of the casual gamer and how quick people can be to avoid a masterpiece that didn't look pretty enough. The joke's on him.
In my opinion, graphics will never be able to trump gameplay in terms of what makes a top quality game, but in this fast moving world where the easiest way to get somebody's attention is by a quick glance and in a time when films and games are getting less and less distinguishable between each other, graphics are as important as ever in the entertainment industry. While there are a few games whose creators took enough care, time and attention to detail to make them look as great as possible while equally never skimping on the gameplay (Skyrim, Metal Gear Solid 4) if there was a game whose graphics outweighed the enjoyment I had from actually playing the game and vice versa, I would pick the more enjoyable game in a heartbeat.
So now that I've kicked off the debate, tell us your opinion in the comments below and let's see what comes out on top for the rest of you! Or tweet me you thoughts on Twitter - @lzr_atk