Gaming has come a far way, from the simplistic Atari games to the ever so realistic next gen gems we have today. Designers have all taken many routes to having the best graphics in the business, but the truth is they can only ever be split into three; Realistic, Stylised and Hybrid.
There are many that take the route of realism, with attention to every detail in order to mimic our reality in digital form. Sports games like the FIFA series have this approach, in trying to get the players likeness as accurate as possible. But it’s not just looks, the motion in which the player runs and passes the ball. Honestly I am not much of a FIFA fan, but boy do I admire the work that goes into the development of the game. They have gotten the art down to the very way the ball may bend in a particular scenario. Now that’s progress. Gran Turismo, the Mack daddy of simulated racing is also no stranger to realism. The entire physics is developed with real manufactures. Handling and engine tone take precedent as well as the fine aesthetics. The entire game is designed to make the player feel as if he really is driving that actual car. Drag, rain and damage help augment the realism by changing the dynamics of the physics and thereby offering different conditions to challenge the player as much as the same as a real world situation would. Games such as Call of Duty, offer intense real world maps with real militarised vehicles and a hardened but accurate dialogue. However realism has limits, and limits can get boring quickly.
This is where the designers go of the tangent, but in the best possible way. It’s the route where creativity runs rampant and they aren’t just pushing the envelope, the tearing that S*!t up. Games like Final Fantasy create entirely new worlds with wonderfully weirdness and just capture our imagination. Lased with striking colours and ingenious design it simply draws the player deeper into the game. Everything feels surreal. It’s not just fantasy games that are adopting this path. Stylised offers true escapism and allows true creative freedom. Realism can sometimes be the chains that bind creativity. But it does have draw backs, often developers spent too much time on making the game so stylised they lose sight of the actual game-play and end up turning a great game to turd.
Hybrid is the cheddar of the current world we live in and games are no exception. Developers often take the best of both world approach when taking on a game. This offers the player a sense of realism but with the flair of artistry. Hybrid games simply take a realistic concept and add some flair into it. Gaming is meant to be fun, and sure the NOS effect in NFS may be unrealistic, but my-oh-my it does look glorious. The Sims is another great example of taking a real world concept and just putting a mad twist on it.
And the Winner is?
There is no winner, as long as we keep getting all 3 of these games we all are winners. Diversity is the key to great gaming. I love GT but I do want to go bat s*!t crazy in Mario Kart every once in awhile. But truthfully no matter whether it is realistic or stylised or that harmony in between, the real only time we ever win is when the gameplay is on point. Because any gamer knows it’s not where you grind, it’s how you grind that matters.
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