Hey ya’ll, Crystal here with this month’s Crystal’s Corner. It should probably be called Rambling Ramona but, as my name isn’t Ramona, we work with what we have! As always, I get a brilliant glimmer of an idea that is sparked by the most random and small detail yet sends me into a frenzy. This time, it was an interview in a gaming magazine. Grab some caffeine, get hyper with me and delve into the madness that I call a brain as I share with you my experiences and observations relating to video game graphics.
In a moment of boredom, I grabbed for a magazine which happened to be a copy of Game Informer that we had lying around the house. Inside the magazine was an interview with Pokemon Black and White 2’s director Takao Unno and producer Junichi Masuda, which I am very glad I chose to read. Reading through some of the questions, the interviewer got onto an interesting topic; he asked if the games were based on any real life locations. The answer he got really intrigued me as he went on to speak about how things were not ever really based off of anything totally true to life in the Pokemon world; and that while some places may resemble a certain area, nothing was completely based on real world factors. He went on to say that limiting the game to real world places would put real world limitations on it.
The interview really made me think! The guy was basically saying that by thinking of the Pokemon world as a real world location with real world definitions, it limited him. I think we can all agree that limitations in any video game are rarely a good thing to have.
With the PS4 announcement, the Wii U being available, and Microsoft’s next console likely not too far from being announced, the graphics of video game systems have been widely discussed. Where can we go and what can be improved upon? It is my opinion that the PS4 announcement showed us the direction in which we can go; it showed us the realism that is possible and it is magnificent. It is absolutely beautiful and mind blowing. While I see the beauty in what we can now accomplish, it also brings about a few questions and concerns.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this: will this help or hinder video games?
Do we need that realism? Do we really want our video games to look exactly like our actual life looks? In addition to that, will it make our video game creators feel hindered? Will they feel like they are being limited by the realistic factor? In video games, we can fly, breathe underwater, and our bodies in game can take enormous amounts of pain and punishment that our bodies in the real could not actually endure. None of this is real, but if our characters start to look exactly as we do, will we feel hindered by the realism?
“Games are supposed to be another reality, something we can escape into.” This is what my brother said to me once when we were discussing graphics and I have to say that I, at least in part, agree with him. While I am in no way opposed to the realistic graphics — and have found myself to be quite impressed with them — I just wonder if they will hinder our creativity.
The boundaries have been or are being broken down. Realism is no longer kept to real life or the movies. That realism is now available in video games. And with every advancement, we get closer and closer to that feeling of not being in a game but instead being in a real world setting. In RPG terms, the battle scenes have certainly come quite a long way already. While these graphics are certainly enjoyed by the masses, can we go too far?
The subject of violence in gaming is one that comes up a lot (serious, A LOT) in both my 3D life and my online life. It is something that I have discussed half to death. And while I am not really going to get too deep into it now, I do have to ask if this would contribute to the (false!) accusations that playing violent video games breeds violent people. If we are desensitized, and I think we are to a degree both by games and movies (As well as life just sucking sometimes and us needing to be able to overlook small injustices from time to time) will more realistic video games desensitize us more?
Once we have this realism, will it be easier for people to make the leap from shooting someone in GTA to shooting someone in the real? While certainly I think that people should still be able to differentiate between a game and a real world situation — and I think that most gamers can do this — will these graphics open us up to more criticism?
If you had to choose between realism or creativity, which would you choose? It is my greatest hope that we can have both. However, I have seen time and time again that many will not accept two good things at one time. We are often forced to choose, and if it comes down to a choice I am on the side of creativity. I am very interested in hearing where you stand on this topic. I think that I, along with many many others, will enjoy the realism once we are presented with it. But I think that my queries here are valid as well. Let us know where you stand in the comments below and, as always, please keep things respectful.