Question I don't get pixelated game popularity

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Jan 8, 2010
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#26
I still really don't understand what he's even trying to discuss. Just sounds like he's going in circles trying to make it sound like he's discussing something higher brow than it is. It's really pretty simple:

#1 cost (cheaper obviously)
#2 ability (fewer artists and tools)
#3 nostalgia
#4 marketing (no one has mentioned this but you - your comment about their sales pitch for pixel graphics...well yea, that's marketing. Hype what you have.

You either like it or you don't. There are plenty of younger gamers who have no problems with pixelart games. They've always existed. What you see today is the difference of only knowing about AAA glossy titles, and anyone/everyone being able to market their game easily. Would a person take a 'prettier' version of a game if it was exactly the same gameplay? Most likely yes. The downside is, most likely that game wouldn't even exist to begin with due to #1 and #2. Is there a segment of developers using #3 and #4 as their selling point? Sure, but it is strongly due to #1 and #2. The difference being that #1 and #2 can exist without #3 and #4 being a prerequisite. The bigger devs see that the smaller devs are selling well using cheap assets (pixelart) and say "well we have millions! we can do it better!". Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
 
Apr 3, 2001
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#27
Why people like them. I disagree with your analogy - this isn't saying 'why do people like Jazz when I like classical'. IMO, pixalated are basically much uglier and worse, with rare exception, just as black and white filmmaking has rare exception where it's better (e.g., Dark City). We could go on all day with analogies making my point - if we were talking about food, it might be being offered a meal of an animal badly cooked over a fire unseasoned 'just like they use to make' instead of modern cooking. Why not ride around in a slow, unssafe, unreliable Model T instead of a modern car, other than simply doing it for the historical experience while recognizing now much worse it is, rather than claiming it's a 'better ride'?

If you're arguing that pixelated actually are 'just as good' and just a different preference, like Jazz or Classical, we just disagree, but that is an answer - if people feel that way, it makes no sense to me, but that'd be interesting to know.
I'm pretty sure this is it, given you seem to basically view pixel graphics as garbage since you keep rejecting any analogy that gives them any acceptable tone, ("mono sound with lots of static through $5 speakers", "badly cooked unseasoned animal meat", "unsafe, unreliable Model T"). It doesn't make sense to you, might as well just accept that and shrug your shoulders at people liking things you don't like.
 
May 1, 2006
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#28
90% of the time "that reason" for remakes of old games is simply wanting a console port for XBox / Switch, etc. That's the real reason Bioshock 1-2 were 'remastered' with barely any significant "upgrade" in textures (original vs remaster) along with a ton of new (still half unfixed) bugs. For simple point & click adventure games, they want it on Apple / Google smartphone stores. That's the beginning and end of why they get remade from the publishers point of view.
I disagree with your statement that 90% of the time the reason is a console port, but you raise a valid point that there are a variety of situations. Consoles might improve the finances, but that doesn't make them the only reason. Some PC remakes have been accused of offering barely if any improvement and being cash grabs - that can happen. If it does, they wouldn't apply to this issue. They didn't just issue the remasters on new platforms - people bought them on PC also for nothing but the improved graphics. Gameplay and things like the voicing on Full Throttle were kept closely the same. If you didn't like Full Throttle's changes, fine, but the original wasn't pixelated, so it's not really relevant as an issue here.

I'll answer this. Does Day of The Tentacle Remastered look better than the original? Yes - because it remains very close in art style. OTOH, I find Full Throttle Remastered now looks too 'cartoony' and has lost a lot of that "rough around the edges" pixelly grit that fit the original game perfectly. Many people (inc myself) also didn't like the character art changes in the Monkey Island series vs original MI1-2. That's why MI: "Talkie Editions" (a script that rips then merges the remastered 'talkie' audio with the original non-talkie graphics to use in ScummVM) is a thing. Grim Fandango was 'remade' mostly due to controls and Residual engine flakiness on modern PC's rather than graphics (which is the same background art in same 4:3 ratio). Likewise for HD texture packs, there's some great stuff done right (Thief 1-2, Torchlight, etc). But there's also been a lot of other stuff that's tried too hard to be reinvented in a different style (too dark / colorful / modern, etc) and didn't work out at all. So yet again, slapping a "HD" pack / remaster on anything will be subjective as to how it won't be received as 'better' by 100% of people.
It's getting off-topic to argue every type of game art's popularity. This is a specific topic about low-res pixelated art's surprisingly high amount of praise from some.

Another example, though, of the appeal of graphics was when Myst launched - the biggest reason people bought CD-ROMs, or at least people thought it was. The praise was far more for the beauty of the improved CD-ROM base graphics than the gameplay. No one (I know of) said 'it's all right, but it'd be better with pixelated graphics'. I don't think a pixelated Myst would have sold. I'm not basing this on just Myst - I think it applies generally and games where there's a case for pixelation (as better art) are an exception.

TV series remakes are a different subject though. I'll happily answer you with "many 60's-90's original TV series had the charm of actually being an original instead of a milked to death franchise that exists purely for the sake of IP extension / production quotas". Personally I can't stand modern Marvell movies and I also don't see endless cheap TV cash-in remakes as "better" regardless of their production quality, when like many other people I'm suffering from "remake fatigue". Reboots of 1970-1990's shows are bad enough (Charlie's Angels, Charmed, Dallas, Dynasty, Kojak, Knight Rider, Lethal Weapon, MagGyver, Magnum PI, Twin Peaks, etc), but when they start remaking even 1960's stuff like Bewitched, Ironside, Lost in Space and The Munsters, that's an open admission that they are so completely out of ideas they've run out of stuff to copy from their parents and are now throwing a lick of paint over what their grandparents produced, which to me personifies everything wrong with modern movies / TV / video games (with the ultimate in dumbing down being "too dumb to make anything original").
Note even when they do remake those series, they usually improve them. When Lost in Space was remade, there were a lot of upgrades, and the same simple, cheesy plots weren't repeated without some enhancing. The show probably most famous for its pride in cheesy effects is Dr. Who, yet the modern series has greatly improved the effects from the terrible ones earlier. A show like Star Trek has qualities that make it appealing today other than its appearance - but it too received upgrade versions with blu-ray quality and improved special effects for their own appeal, not to 'port to consoles'.

But those were just examples looking for things as analogies for upgrades, not a separate discussion on each item's upgrade merits. You did offer some answers to my question, such as an argument that 'gritty' is better on Full Throttle - makes sense, but doesn't apply to other pixelated game art. I was a fan of full throttle from before it released, as soon as I saw the trailer - I bought the remake but haven't played yet.
 

bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
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#29
It's pretty simple. Many if not most newer games put so much time into the graphics, and ease of play, that they don't spend a lot of time building good game play. These games with low quality graphics often offer much better game play, or a style of game play you can't find with modern AAA games.

It's been a long time since a AAA RPG hit the market that also had good game play. That's because they design these games around console limitations. As a result, I find myself playing indie RPG's, which much lower quality graphics, but more enjoyable stories and game play.

I'd be happy if we could get both, but it just doesn't happen very often any more. The last truly great AAA RPG was Dragon Age: Origins. The sequels catered more and more to the console crowd. So now, I'm playing Divinity Original Sin 2. The graphics are from over a decade ago, but the game play is much better than anything out there now.
 
May 1, 2006
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#30
It's pretty simple. Many if not most newer games put so much time into the graphics, and ease of play, that they don't spend a lot of time building good game play. These games with low quality graphics often offer much better game play, or a style of game play you can't find with modern AAA games.

It's been a long time since a AAA RPG hit the market that also had good game play. That's because they design these games around console limitations. As a result, I find myself playing indie RPG's, which much lower quality graphics, but more enjoyable stories and game play.

I'd be happy if we could get both, but it just doesn't happen very often any more. The last truly great AAA RPG was Dragon Age: Origins. The sequels catered more and more to the console crowd. So now, I'm playing Divinity Original Sin 2. The graphics are from over a decade ago, but the game play is much better than anything out there now.
You're losing me there. I'm just not seeing the 'better gameplay' in the pixelated games - rather, I see praise for the gameplay being what makes the game worth playing at all, but not somehow better (as I'd argue it is, in a way, for a game like 'rogue' - at least 'different' and good enough to be a good choice.

You're saying that the golden age of RPG's now - too many to list, but Witcher 3, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Vampyre, Skyrim (VR or not), The Council, Pillars of Eternity II, I could list 100 more, are not good gameplay and the pixelated games are? You'd need some evidence for that claim. D:OS 2 has far better graphics than the pixelated of this thread topic.
 

bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
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#31
You're losing me there. I'm just not seeing the 'better gameplay' in the pixelated games - rather, I see praise for the gameplay being what makes the game worth playing at all, but not somehow better (as I'd argue it is, in a way, for a game like 'rogue' - at least 'different' and good enough to be a good choice.

You're saying that the golden age of RPG's now - too many to list, but Witcher 3, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Vampyre, Skyrim (VR or not), The Council, Pillars of Eternity II, I could list 100 more, are not good gameplay and the pixelated games are? You'd need some evidence for that claim. D:OS 2 has far better graphics than the pixelated of this thread topic.
Skyrim is decent, but let's be honest, almost all the Elder Scroll games have pretty terrible character development. They are still fun, but they aren't as good as older RPG combat.

Pillars of Eternity is a classic RPG type of game. It is the low quality graphics with good game play, and looks almost exactly like the RPG's that got PC RPG's going. That is what I assume you were talking bad about.

The point everyone is talking about is simply that solid game play trumps good graphics.
 

BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
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#32
It's getting off-topic to argue every type of game art's popularity. This is a specific topic about low-res pixelated art's surprisingly high amount of praise from some.
Well popularity is the core topic. Hence the success of Wadjet Eye Games for whom that style is all they make. If people didn't like it, they'd have gone out of business years ago. You've probably noticed similar "new old school" FPS equivalents like Ion Maiden or Project Warlock. They have Very / Overwhelmingly Positive reviews simply because people like them. It feels different to play them once in a while as a welcome break from appalling optimised performance turds we had last year like DX:MD, Dishonored 2, and a wall of mindlessly over-sequelled stale AAA franchises that have all 'evolved' to look & play boringly the same...

How about if they made a 2D top-down pixelly Serious Sam game? You know what, they did that too with similar Very Positive ratings. Some people simply like "that look" fitting in with certain styles of play such as run & gun shooters or point & clicks. That's why "what if Skyrim were pixel art to match Gemini Rue" analogies are largely pointless when they aren't remotely the same genre, style or target market of gamer. And people who do like them in the sub-genres for which pixel art is widely accepted really don't need to justify anything more than "I just like the style".

If people persistently can't / don't understand why they don't like something that someone else does, then as already explained by multiple people, you're still trying too hard to objectify the subjective.
 
May 1, 2006
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#33
I'm responding to posts that just try to answer the topic, but tired of clueless hostility in posts. Thanks to the ones that have tried to discuss it.
 
Oct 9, 1999
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#34
It's pretty simple. Many if not most newer games put so much time into the graphics, and ease of play, that they don't spend a lot of time building good game play. These games with low quality graphics often offer much better game play, or a style of game play you can't find with modern AAA games.

It's been a long time since a AAA RPG hit the market that also had good game play. That's because they design these games around console limitations. As a result, I find myself playing indie RPG's, which much lower quality graphics, but more enjoyable stories and game play.

I'd be happy if we could get both, but it just doesn't happen very often any more. The last truly great AAA RPG was Dragon Age: Origins. The sequels catered more and more to the console crowd. So now, I'm playing Divinity Original Sin 2. The graphics are from over a decade ago, but the game play is much better than anything out there now.
Every word of this.

Gameplay makes a good game, not graphics.

I recently replayed a few Commodore 64 games that were more fun than most AAA games released in the past few years.
 
May 1, 2006
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#35
Gameplay makes a good game, not graphics.

I recently replayed a few Commodore 64 games that were more fun than most AAA games released in the past few years.
The generalization about gameplay doesn't help, because the gameplay seems worse to me in the pixel graphics games usually. Specific discussion on that helps.

So your comment about the Commodore 64 games helps show what you're enjoying about the gameplay. I don't see that the same, but it helps explain the different opinions.
 
Jan 16, 2012
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#36
the gameplay seems worse to me in the pixel graphics games usually.
Well you better explain yourself because it's obvious from your comments you have no idea redacted you are talking about you're giving vague generalities and not specifics. People who are fans of pixel art games can give specifics.

For instance, when someone is a fan of a game, they are usually talking about certain parts of the game. Game developers have always been redacted at understanding what makes games fun and all games usually have some half-executed or half-baked gameplay system within it.

Take Zelda 2 for the NES for instance, I always loved the 2D action gaming and wanted Nintendo to expand and make it better, so when people are talking about ancient games they are talking about the foundations and the potential if they were given investment and a GOOD development team.

A game like Shovel knight while not perfect is a good nod in the direction of 2D action games from the 8/16-bit eras.

Few games get spiritual successors with the budget and a competent development team.

So I'll give you one:

Go get jackal for the NES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackal_(video_game)

Then go get

Renegade ops

https://store.steampowered.com/app/99300/Renegade_Ops/

Then compare the two, Renegade ops is a tribute to Jackal for the NES. Renegade ops is a decent update of Jackal. It's not perfect or exactly to my liking but it's a good representation of what happens when you get a decent team and decent budget behind a solid mechanic.


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bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
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#37
For me, it comes down to this: AAA game developers have investors who do not want to take a risk on a high budget game. As a result, they try to appeal to a large audience. This results in game play which tend to be super easy, devoid of challenge. A UI which easily works with a controller, which is really bad for RPG fans. And they often lack any depth in the game play, because that would require too much effort on the gamer. They often are designed in open world environments, rather than highly detailed environments. The quests in RPG's tend to be quantity over quality.

That isn't to say that there aren't good AAA games, but they are lacking in a lot of areas, at least to many, more hardcore gamers. Indie game developers take more risks. They don't worry about a broad audience, and tend to make games they are passionate about, rather than what a corporation wants. There are plenty of stinkers out there, but you can also find a lot of gems with game play, and styles of games you like.

And to the heart of the question. What you or someone else likes it strictly a personal opinion.

I'd love to play old school RPG's with new AAA graphics and budgets. I just wish they'd make them for the PC with more of the traditions of 20-30 years ago.
 
Apr 3, 2001
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#38
The generalization about gameplay doesn't help, because the gameplay seems worse to me in the pixel graphics games usually. Specific discussion on that helps.
Do you have any specific games in mind when you say this, pixel games you played recently you felt were lacking in the gameplay department?
In the past couple years, I played through and enjoyed Axiom Verge, Rogue Legacy, and Shovel Knight, for example. I played some of Volgarr the Viking, while the gameplay is fine, the difficulty was just a bit on the high side for me. I'm actively playing Octopath Traveler, which is kind of interesting in that it adds some modern touches to pixel graphics.
 

ArchAngel777

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
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#39
It depends on the game. I mean, I understand what the OP is saying. However, games with very generic graphics allowed me to use my imagination. So, while my character looked like a generic stick figure, in my mind, it was something much more. Basically whatever I wanted it to be. Once games started to get better graphics, it limited my imagination. Instead of thinking my avatar was X, it was now whatever the game designer decided it would be. So in this way, it almost was like the debate of movies vs a book. Better graphics stifle imagination.

The middle ground is what I would argue against. The nice thing about 2D games is that they are timeless as opposed to a 3D game that really tried it's bests to look good, except years later going back to it, it looks like crap and you can't really use your imagination much. I mean, go back to FF7 for example. It looks terrible. Just terrible, because it tried to be cutting edge 3D and it was, but with like 24 polygon models, it just looks like ass now. Where as FF1, FF2 and FF3 still look great.

2D Games = Replayability because, like a book, you can use your imagination to fill in the gaps.
3D Old Games = Not so much fun to revisit. Graphics are ass. It's like a "try hard"... you know?
3D New Game played in current era = Good.
 
Jan 8, 2010
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#40
He's being purposely obtuse. People called him out early on what he was really saying and he's trying to deny it. He keeps saying it over and over..."the gameplay seems worse to me in the pixel graphics games usually. "

He doesn't like them and he wants someone to justify them. I think we're all old enough to know not everyone has the same opinion or requirements in finding a game fun and there is zero reason to have others justify their enjoyment to you. Any actual reason has already been given and you keep brushing them off. Just because you don't like the reason doesn't make them invalid.
 
Apr 3, 2001
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#41
It depends on the game. I mean, I understand what the OP is saying. However, games with very generic graphics allowed me to use my imagination. So, while my character looked like a generic stick figure, in my mind, it was something much more. Basically whatever I wanted it to be. Once games started to get better graphics, it limited my imagination. Instead of thinking my avatar was X, it was now whatever the game designer decided it would be. So in this way, it almost was like the debate of movies vs a book. Better graphics stifle imagination.

The middle ground is what I would argue against. The nice thing about 2D games is that they are timeless as opposed to a 3D game that really tried it's bests to look good, except years later going back to it, it looks like crap and you can't really use your imagination much. I mean, go back to FF7 for example. It looks terrible. Just terrible, because it tried to be cutting edge 3D and it was, but with like 24 polygon models, it just looks like ass now. Where as FF1, FF2 and FF3 still look great.

2D Games = Replayability because, like a book, you can use your imagination to fill in the gaps.
3D Old Games = Not so much fun to revisit. Graphics are ass. It's like a "try hard"... you know?
3D New Game played in current era = Good.
Heh, a few years back I loaded up FF7 on PC, with the mods to give the main characters much more detail. Honestly I think it made everything worse, because it only served to highlight how everyone else in the game looked like a Weeble :D
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#42
The reason why "pixelated" games are still around is because people like variety. For instance not everyone during the Super Nintendo era was gung ho for photorealism. In fact many of us oldsters couldn't give a damn about whether something looks realistic or not, we care about whether the game is fun to play.
Photorealism in the SNES age: Street Fighter: The Movie.

'nuff said.
 
May 1, 2006
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#44
It depends on the game. I mean, I understand what the OP is saying. However, games with very generic graphics allowed me to use my imagination. So, while my character looked like a generic stick figure, in my mind, it was something much more. Basically whatever I wanted it to be. Once games started to get better graphics, it limited my imagination. Instead of thinking my avatar was X, it was now whatever the game designer decided it would be. So in this way, it almost was like the debate of movies vs a book. Better graphics stifle imagination.

The middle ground is what I would argue against. The nice thing about 2D games is that they are timeless as opposed to a 3D game that really tried it's bests to look good, except years later going back to it, it looks like crap and you can't really use your imagination much. I mean, go back to FF7 for example. It looks terrible. Just terrible, because it tried to be cutting edge 3D and it was, but with like 24 polygon models, it just looks like ass now. Where as FF1, FF2 and FF3 still look great.

2D Games = Replayability because, like a book, you can use your imagination to fill in the gaps.
3D Old Games = Not so much fun to revisit. Graphics are ass. It's like a "try hard"... you know?
3D New Game played in current era = Good.
I think that's an interesting point - not unlike my comment on Rogue. I wonder what percent of games praised for pixelated games fit that issue. On a related note, the Zork series sort of struggled with this, when it made graphical Zork games.

And I guess more broadly, it's come up in other art forms - what did silent movie stars do when movies gained sound? What did radio stars do when tv took over? Some didn't fit, others more less copied their shows over - e.g., Dragnet, Jack Benny - trying to think of examples that 'adapted'. We can all pretty much agree 'Buster Keaton was a classic, and belonged in silent movies', while few of us actually want to watch such
silent movies so much we'd pay to see them in a theatre today.

A difference is that the sort of thing we're talking about in the games where 'imagination' is a plus justifying no graphics or bad graphics seems to me an exception, but largely pixelated graphics are just a negative, while the limitations of 'silent movies' or radio shows seemed to take more advantage of those limitations for some benefit. (But even there, most seem to have been worse because of the limits).

For every Buster Keaton where his art was very much designed not only to fit the silent medium, but even to use far fewer 'word cards' to tell a story than other silent films, where they were BETTER as silent, there were a lot more silent films that were just worse as silent movies, which is why 'talkies' pretty much entirely replaced them.

There weren't hundreds of movies still coming out as top releases without sound and with 'word cards' saying 'hey, these are silent, isn't that great', as with the appreciation of hundreds of pixelated games. I guess people could SAY 'movie content over sound', but it'd be as dubious as claims of 'gameplay over graphics', need a case that's actually the case.

Another point, to me the phrase 'gameplay over graphics' mostly meant, 'put gameplay first - I'd rather play a game with good gameplay and bad graphics over one with bad gameplay and good graphics', but it almost never meant 'a game with good gameplay and pixelated graphics is better than a game with good gameplay and good graphics'.

In other words, it wasn't saying 'low res graphics are actually better', it was saying 'low res graphics are worse, but they're less important generally than good gameplay'. The biggest example IMO I'd think we'd largely agree on of early Full-motion video games that were just bad but 'HEY IT'S ACTUAL VIDEO OH MY GOSH".
 

Rebel_L

Senior member
Nov 9, 2009
395
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#49
Considering the cost of good graphics I would think you find a lot more games with poor graphics that take chances on actual gameplay elements. If you are making a AAA game with a huge budget you are going to stick well established game play because you cant afford a flop. If you dont have as much invested in the production cost its easier to take chances. If you consider some the movies and shows have been successful with pixel looks as part of it that seems like a safe and cheap graphic style to go with.
 

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