Guest column – Kids these days

[Guest column by Ben from Pennsylvania] I just wanted to say how sick I am of your 17 year old Average Joe gamer. The only thing he seems to care about is new games with new graphics. I’ve recently heard kids at school say how excited they were for Resident Evil 5, despite having never played a Resident Evil game before. I was even ostracized for saying that it wasn’t as good as the previous installment. None of them had even played the 4th one, but it apparently wasn’t as good because the graphics are sub-par by todays standards. I love to play classics from the NES and SNES days too, but nobody besides me seems to appreciate them because they’re not on the front page of the G4 website.  And with ebay and the virtual console and *cough* emulators, there’s no excuse not to have played these timeless classics. Even if you don’t enjoy old games, at least give them some respect for the pioneering the industry, instead of just writing them off because they’re not “hip”.  Please tell me I’m not the only one that remembers when playing games was just about having fun.


  1. Nah you’re not the only one.

  2. I’m not sure how old you are Ben, but I’m 23 and my views on gaming are starting to change. Up until I bought my Wii, games were all about the graphics. I wouldn’t even consider touching older generation games mainly because they didn’t look as good. I started getting disappointed at my $60 purchases and decided to buy a Wii.

    The Wii taught me a game doesn’t need to be running at 720p to be fun. Mario Kart, Twilight Princess and Super Mario Galaxy were the most fun I’ve had on a console in a while. The graphics are good for the Wii, but nothing compared to the Xbox 360. After that I started to notice other people were also buying games based on looks. Internet sites would release new screenshots for Blockbuster game X and the comment threads usually are “OMG this looks amazing! Day 1 purchase for me! Everyone needs to buy this game!” Of course there’s no mention of actual gameplay.

    I bought a PS2 a few months ago to play some games I never had a chance to play. I’m playing games with grainy graphics at 4:3 on my widescreen TV, but I’m still having fun. It’s amazing! It’s a lot cheaper to game this way too. The PS2, 2 controllers, a memory card and 2 games ended up costing me $60 or the price of one next generation game.

    Console makers are going to have to reevaluate their console’s next generation. The Wii’s continued success is proving graphics don’t equal more sales. At the same time, since the high end consoles are marketed toward graphics over gameplay they’re going to have a tough time convincing people to buy a weaker system.

  3. I’m currently playing through Ocarina of Time (again, I swear I could write a walkthrough for that game) and I haven’t even thought about the graphics once. OoT, along with shed loads of other old games, is proof that you don’t need to have awesome graphics to be a good game.

    Having said that I still don’t understand why we have to settle for one or the other. Give me a game that is fantastic fun to play and has awesome graphics (either realistic or artistic) and I’ll be more than happy.

  4. …and get off my lawn, ya damn kids!

  5. ARGH! Senator beat me to my comment!

  6. well “Ben from Pennsylvania” you are 100% right!! I remember my old black and white game boy… what fun we used to have together. I’m only 22, but I know exactly what you mean. The old video games were the most challenging and fun. Don’t get me wrong, games today are fun, but most of them aren’t as challenging. Besides without our favorite oldies these people today wouldn’t have their fancy graphics.

    I want to b!@#h slap anyone who says a video game is good/bad because of its graphics. I still have my old GB and SNES (didn’t have the pleasure of owning a NES). I even have the old Genesis that my cousins gave me. Those systems/games were amazing. They only lacked the ability to save your progress, but that made it so much more challenging and fun, like learning about the secret warp tubes in super mario =).

    Three cheers for the classics!!

  7. I’ve said this a million times, so here it goes again. The biggest problem with games is the gamers.
    between the games themselves, and the community around them I have very little interest in much any newer games.

  8. This week I had the option to play the SNES Punch Out and the new Prince of Persia, I opted for SNES Punch Out.

  9. This is the consequence of games expanding to a larger audience. For everyone that welcomed the push to move games closer to Hollywood style productions meant for the masses, and the flood of lowest common denominator shovelware that accompanied that push, this is what you get. Personally, I preferred when gaming was still something of a niche hobby compared to what it is today. It was like the old west, in some respects, where the social contracts that were so prevalent in urban areas were greatly relaxed. The rules that accompany game development today didn’t exist then; truly experimental ideas were funded and great games were the result, even if they weren’t always the prettiest or didn’t imitate what came before. Yeah, you had some stuff that was really out there, and some stuff that just didn’t end up working, but there was a palpable difference in styles between developers. Now, aside from the few standouts, most games just seem to blur together, and most development houses are resigned to following conventions established by the most recent blockbuster title. How many games in the last 12 months have you heard described in a way that didn’t invoke the name of a successful title in a similar genre?

    It’s funny that Resident Evil 5 was mentioned, because after playing through it, I was totally disappointed. Yes, it was very nice to look at. It played like garbage though and had totally lost the unique spirit of the series. The only thing that hearkened back to the series’ roots was the one thing most people wanted changed, the walking controls. The clumsy attempt at a cover system, the onrushing hordes of zombies (sorry, Uroboros victims), the useless partner, all felt terribly out of place. Instead of continuing to strike out in the unique direction that the series had started towards, they made concessions to mechanics included in recent popular titles, and in the process, fell back to the pack. Instead of trying to appeal to everybody, developers should try to develop the game that satisfies their creativity, and do their job well enough that other people notice.

  10. In preparation for Punch Out!!! on Wii, I downloaded the original Punch Out!!! for NES on the VC. Despite being an avid gamer in the 80s, I never really played the original.

    Point being, I had loads of fun, despite the 20-year old graphics.

  11. i might add, to a significant extent…

    graphics ARE gameplay. draw distance affects what you can do in a game. the more physically articulate the characters, the options for immersion the developers have. surfaces realistically blowing apart can add a great deal of drama to a shootout.

    games that push the limit with graphics therefore ALSO push into new territory with gameplay.

    for the record, i’ve sunk almost all my time recently into SFII: HD remix, but I find many people too ready to belittle the importance of graphics.

  12. @deepthought
    What you are talking about isn’t really graphics based, it is more technology based. Classic games were limited to a certain technology which only allowed for 2D games. Newer technology allowed for 3D games. The 3D era did open up a whole new world of game play, however you don’t need excellent graphics to see that game play.

    The fact that I can see a wall explode realistically in a game doesn’t add the same type of fun. It is more of an “oh wow I blew something up” instead of “yes! I beat the challenge”. That is what this article is truly about. Graphics do not make a game, there are tons of online mmo’s that are simply text based with little to no graphics and yet they are still fun.

  13. Yeah, all these little shits want nowadays are shooters. And not shmups, on-rails, or sidescrolling shooters either.

    I seriously don’t understand what is so appealing about Call of Duty. It’s just another shooter. Not bad, not great. Every tried Contra? Gunstar Heroes? Anything besides WoW?

  14. * applause*

    Yes. Graphics do not a great game make.

  15. we’ve been saying that here for awhile or at least in my posts i’ve been. i totally agree with the idea of “graphics can make a game better”, but if it was fun to begin with it really doesn’t matter. what sucks is that these are the games in 20 years these whiney kids will be nostalgic about, consider the best of all time and paved the video game road. i like a lot of the newer games too don’t get me wrong, but it’s sad to think games like grand theft auto is their mario bros or zelda 🙁

  16. Can we please beat this topic to death just a little bit more? I mean seriously, this type of post has only been made about 100 times now.

    Yes, we get it…good graphics don’t make a great game. But having great graphics doesn’t automatically mean it sucks either, and having less than better graphics doesn’t automatically mean the gameplay is outstanding either.

    As far as RE5, no it wasn’t as good as RE4, but it’s still a good game. I had fun playing it and I think a lot of the bitching about it on the internet is pretty much a replacement for the bitching back in 2005 when people complained about RE4.

    Geez, the people railing against graphic whores are getting as annoying as the graphic whores themselves.

  17. I never really cared about graphics, and I’m just a teenage gamer.
    I think it’s from my gaming child-hood. I had a PS1, a Dreamcast, a Game Boy Color, and always played my Aunt’s Genesis. I never noticed the graphical difference, and I don’t care now. Maybe that’s the problem. Since gaming popular now, people who’s first system was a X-Box think that that is how all games should look.

  18. totally disagree on a graphics/technology distinction. what distinction? how can you even parse the two? they’re hand in hand.

    never said graphics make the game. but graphics are a very reasonable proxy for gameplay advances and immersion.

    i second resident evil on this topic being beat to death. with the explanation that this topic usually gets brought up by the wii apologists who want everyone to believe that they don’t miss what the ps60 allows. and i’m just not sure that’s always true. in fact, i think it’s pretty false.

    and maaaaaan, i remember when i first played fallout 3 and was in 3rd person view on a 50+ inch tv and got ambushed by 3 giant mutants one with a minigun who blew a hydrogen car apart and holy crap OMG flying backwards as flames EVERYWHERE And WTF just happened and then the enemies are exploded and my character ragdolls and then GETS UP as i CHEEEEER at surviving this encounter.

    …i’ve never experienced this on a wii. graphics. technology. whatever. it was the same thing. and it ROCKED.

  19. I have to agree with deepthought here, as you say, graphics don’t necessarily make the game, but they can add to the overrall experience. In much the same way as a slick camera can make the game more enjoyable so can some slick graphics. Conversely a slightly dodgy camera can hurt the experience and slightly dodgy graphics can do the same.

    This isn’t true for all titles obviously, I mean titles such as Wind Waker, Viewtiful Joe or Madworld have fantastic art styles and I wouldn’t give them up for all the realism in the world, but if you’re playing a game that’s based on realism (ie: COD, MoH etc) then obviously more precise graphics will add to the realism and make the experience more immersive.

    Both types of games can be enjoyed, and I do enjoy them both regularly, I just fail to understand why us Wii owners pigeonhole ourselves in the way that we do. Just because I own a Wii and nothing else (at least that’s not made by Nintendo anyway) doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what awesome graphics would contribute to a realistic FPS like Red Steel or The Conduit.

    Would we be having this discussion if the Wii was as powerful as it’s rivals? I doubt it.

  20. “Geez, the people railing against graphic whores are getting as annoying as the graphic whores themselves.”
    Exactly.If not more annoying, actually.
    Most of these “Graphic whores” are just kids, afterall. Now, what is the “old school gamers” excuse for acting this way in return??

    “…and get off my lawn, ya damn kids!”
    I laughed at this one, the author DOES sound like a old, grumpy, complainer sitting on his bench, doesn’t he?

    Graphics are not everything. They DO help to make a great game experience, but it is game play that is most important aspect by far.
    We get it.

    And those younger gamers that don’t get it wont be changing attitudes because someone wrote about ” how wrong” they are on the internet….

  21. As a 17 year old gamer, I can say this is not the case at least among me and my friends. I often find that I am playing games for older systems (going back to NES) more than ones for current systems. If a classic game still endures and still fun to play we will go back to it, regardless of graphics. This in mind I definitely know the type of gamer you’re talking about.

  22. @deepthought

    they don’t go hand in hand, new technology is the father for better graphics, game play, speed, etc. If you want to say that tech and graphics are hand in hand then you might as well say that everything new tech brings about go hand in hand with each other as well. However this isn’t the issue.

    First of all the situation that you just described can also be accomplished in a 2D game very easily with obviously cheaper graphics, especially a top down game like Zelda. Sure it won’t look the same, but the situation will be similar.

    The reason you haven’t experienced that on the Wii is an entirely different topic. Developers are being lazy when it comes to the Wii. Wait until the Conduit comes out and then tell me if you have the same experience or not. The Conduit is definitely going to be the top FPS on the Wii when it comes to game play and graphics.

    Saying that you haven’t had the same experience on the Wii doesn’t prove your point that graphics can make a game better, it only proves that the Wii hasn’t had a game that provides a gamer with such a situation… yet.

  23. sorry man- the point of my description was my reaction. and the same thing in 2d wouldn’t even make me care.

    also i agree with everything phil myth said. cheers phil!

  24. I need to make some points here:

    Yes, deepthought. Good graphics do not a good game make, as I said earlier, but they add to the overall experience. However, to say that a game sucks because its not in HD is retarded.

    Attilo is right. People are overlooking the Wii’s ability to have good graphics and good games. The Conduit has the best graphics I’ve ever seen, and it pains me to say that after what we saw Super Mario Galaxy and Brawl do to our eyes. Guess what? It’s exclusive to the Wii.

    And no, I’m not an old-school gamer who says that graphics don’t matter. I’m 15! I never picked up an NES or SNES controller in my life! I pressed four C Buttons to play the Song of Time! I didn’t press A to play a flute and have a bird fly me to a portal! I played PokeMon with colored pixels, not grainy black and grey LED’s!

    But still, it pisses me off when people persecute me for sticking to Nintendo systems. A conversation I had with a 360 vet went something like this:

    “I picked up the Wii at launch!”

    “Why? The 360’s better!”

    “How so?”

    “It’s got HD!”

    “Is that it? What about the games?”

    “Uh…uh…Halo is awesome!”

    “Is that it?”


    It pissed me off to hear that the only thing he cared about was graphics. Hell, Imaginez might have great graphics. But it’s shovelware because it’s overused a genre paved forward by Animal Crossing and Nintendogs!

  25. Well I’m sorry you had that conversation, but realize not everyone that prefers the 360 sometimes does so just because it has better, HD graphics. It pisses me off that people, usually Wii apologists, pretty much downplay games on the 360 and claim people only like them for the HD graphics; and act like 360 games don’t have any good gameplay and that the Wii is the only place to get good gameplay. It’s some sort of weird reverse snobbery and it’s pretty much bullcrap.

    And I hope you mean The Conduit has the best WII graphics you’ve ever seen.

  26. And “people” aren’t overlooking the Wii’s abilities, developers are. They are the ones that apparently want you to believe that PS2 port level graphics are fine even though the Wii can do much, much better.

  27. @ ResidentialEvil:

    Halo’s a good game. So was RE5. And I have fun playing CoD 4 and 5 on both the Wii and PS3. It’s just that the only arguement the average Joe is able to put up with me is that “The Wii sucks because it has bad graphics.”

    The Conduit does have the best Wii graphics I’ve ever seen. I guess I never clarified.

    Developers overlook the Wii, yes, but it’s also gamers who think the Wii sucks because it doesn’t have Blu-ray quality discs.

    But I’m guessing I’m not really in a position to talk in some subcultures because I’m a Nintendo fanboy who doesn’t own either of the competition’s home consoles yet. Let me say it again…YET. YEeEeEeEeT~~~!

  28. When it comes to the best graphics the 360 and PS3 win, I think we can all agree on that. The crazy “nintendo haters” or whatever you want to call them need to stop saying that the Wii sucks because it has bad graphics. If they can pull more facts for their argument then fine. The Wii has the potential to rival the 360 and PS3, but developers have not tapped into that potential. Does this mean the Wii’s graphics are equal to the other two systems? No, but close enough to rival them.

    When it comes to game play the Wii wins. Why? Because with the Wii you have the option of getting up and wiggling a remote or sitting on your ass and pushing buttons. You can find games that do just one of those two or have the option for both (MLB Power Pros is an example of a game where you can either sit or stand). With the 360 and PS3 you are forced to just sit there and push buttons, which is fine but you don’t have the same option.

    Both systems are tied when it comes to the number of GREAT games on each system. In my opinion both systems have a few number of games that they are famous for (Halo, Smash Bros, RE, etc.).

    So if you ask me the three systems are equally good, it depends on the prefrence of the gamer and how much effor the developers put into their games. However you cannot blame the console’s comany for what the developers lack.

    One thing is for certain, the Wii did open up new doors in the gaming world. The innovation it has brought to the market has definitely made its mark and will influence future systems of all three companies and any new console companies that may appear in the future.

  29. i agree there’s to many stupid people out there that looks at graphics as the game would be i tell you if you go by the graphics you most likely going to be disappointed and most games use the graphics for makeup to cover how screwed up the games really is.Most people go with the flow now a days if its cool or whatever my as well do. Just as that saying goes if your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it.
    I guess im old timey i think people should think for themselves instead of acting like idiots and say well if its cool I’ll do ,or hey look at that he is swimming with sharks while fighting alligators aw man that’s cool whelp i must do it to.

  30. Hey, Ben from PA here,
    I’d like to add a little bit to my post in response to some of the comments I read. First of all, I’d like to say that I own both a Wii and a PS3 and that I frequently play games on my PC. (I personally like my wii a lot better than my ps3 for many reasons that I’m not going to get into.) I’m not trying to say that games with good graphics automatically aren’t fun. Boishock has to be one of my favorite games of all time, but it isn’t because of the graphics; it’s because the writers and designers that worked on the game did an amazing job at portraying a realistic world. I don’t mean that the game LOOKED realistic, I mean that personalities that people had and the way that they acted was an accurate representation of the way people would act in the real world given the circumstances. I can appreciate that doing something like this would be much more difficult in the days of the NES (although it would still theoretically be achievable). The game was a work of art in a very unique way, much like Mega Man 9 was a work of art because of how committed they were to recreate an 8-bit game down to very minute details. The problem comes in when develops make games with good graphics, because they can’t make games with good content. It takes a lot less creativity to just add a couple more pixels to a character model than it does to create a game with engaging story and game play. The sad part of the whole situation is that kids continue to support developers like these when they go out and buy “First Person Shooter: The Sequel” just because it’s new and it has good graphics. I think if people would consider the quality of a game by how much fun it is to play, then I think we would force companies to re-evaluate the way they make games.

  31. “When it comes to game play the Wii wins. Why? Because with the Wii you have the option of getting up and wiggling a remote or sitting on your ass and pushing buttons. You can find games that do just one of those two or have the option for both (MLB Power Pros is an example of a game where you can either sit or stand). With the 360 and PS3 you are forced to just sit there and push buttons, which is fine but you don’t have the same option.”

    No offense….but that’s pretty much one of the dumbest reasons I’ve ever seen for saying the Wii has better gameplay.

    “One thing is for certain, the Wii did open up new doors in the gaming world. The innovation it has brought to the market has definitely made its mark and will influence future systems of all three companies and any new console companies that may appear in the future.”

    I only half agree with this, because as I’ve pointed out numerous times, the “innovation” Nintendo has introduced has barely been realized. To this day Wii Sports is still the best use of the Wiimote. Nintendo themselves don’t even seem to know exactly where they want to go with it, and now we are waiting on Motion Plus (something the Wii should have had from day 1). This innovation is still about 70% potential.

    This whole argument over graphics is so overblown. Both sides stereotyope and throw out bullcap “stats” and “facts”.

  32. The only argument is that you cannot define how good a game is solely on graphics, which is what a lot of people are doing these days, and that is what this article is mainly about. Both systems have good and bad games, this is a fact and we all know it. What is annoying is when an ignorant person says “that game/system sucks because it has bad graphics”. Realistic graphics are definitely great and I love them when playing games on my PC, but are not needed to make a game great. All that is needed to make a game great is a fun challenging game play. Tetris has flat 2D graphics, but yet is a great game. This is the point of the article and the entire discussion. If you still think that the ONLY thing that makes a game great is its graphics then I pity you.

  33. God… I really need to say something.

    The Wii does not have the best graphics. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 have the best graphics. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best consoles or have the best games. All three of these have good games. PS3 has Killzone, the 360 has Halo, and the Wii has Brawl. The Wii has the potential to be better than the other consoles when it comes down to it. But it’s often overlooked by developers. That’s why there’s a lot of positive hype over games like MadWorld and The Conduit, because they’re groundbreaking for the Wii.

  34. I am a teenage gamer, but I definitely prefer older games over newer ones with a few exceptions. I miss the simplicity and imagination that older games allowed for, and I am entirely sick of cutscenes in my games. A brief sequence is fine now and again, but what point is there in having these if the sequence can be accomplished as a portion of the gameplay?

    The other problem I believe lies in the Internet. A very vocal minority talks about their personal desires in video games, and tons of people read their thoughts and come to appreciate their views. There are, however, millions of lapsed players who aren’t exposed to this and don’t like the experiences conventional games are allowing for today.

    I just consider myself lucky to have played such wonderful games in my childhood and to have had the opportunity to develop my own opinions on them and my own fantasies about them without outside influence. Being an early ’90’s kid had its advantages! =)

  35. Not a teenage gamer.
    Haven’t seen 20 in over 20 years.
    My thirties have come and gone.

    When I have 5 min. to play I will play DigDug on the Wii (and end up playing it for at least an hour).

    If I know I have more than 5 min. and the kids are in bed, then I will play The World Ends With You on the DS or, currently, Boom Blox on the Wii (of course).

    Graphics never come into the equation one way or the other. It was never a consideration when it came to purchasing a gaming console.

    The sole deciding factor was which system would bring the most fun to myself and my three game playing children (the others are either too young or too teenage girl).

    Although DeepThoughts description of his experience with Fallout3 sounds great and I would love to watch in a movie where I think graphical display is important, it did nothing for me as a game. I have no desire to attack/kill/mame/destroy for fun and reallly won’t even allow it in my home.

    Except for popping those alligators in DigDug. Now that is just plain old addictive fun!