Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pixels the Size of Your Fist

Top: Treasure Island Dizzy (1988)
Bottom: Resident Evil 6 (2012)
I know which I prefer.
Photorealism does not always a good game make. It's something I've said before and will always maintain. It doesn't matter how many polygons or pixels of horizontal resolution you can jam into a TV or monitor screen, gorgeous graphics won't save an atrocious game, while poor graphics won't hurt a great game.

Don't get me wrong, graphics get nicer and smoother as processing power goes up, and this is a good thing. It would just be nice if game developers concentrated on gameplay, level design and scripting before attempting to add the cutting-edge graphics.

I have an XBox, on which I play such egregious present-day titles like Tekken 6, Street Fighter IV, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Red Dead Redemption and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. I've owned a PS2, Mega Drive, Gameboy (original, none of this Advance or  Colour nonsense) and a ZX Spectrum 128k, with plenty of play-time on NES, SNE, a dash of PS1 thrown in and, of course, a boatload of PC gaming from 3.5" floppy disks up to present day. Present day consisting currently of the raft of Mac-supported 'PC' games from Blizzard and on Steam.

Monday's blog about Pro Fire Wrestling was the main idea that came out of a day of downloading Demos from the XBox Marketplace. I grabbed demos of the latest FIFA and Pro Evo (on balance I think I'd pick FIFA of the two), the old Simpsons and X-Men arcade games, Awesomenauts on recommendation, Altered Beast on a retro trip, plus the board games of Carcassone and Ticket to Ride for possible purchase later. Then yesterday I nabbed the trial of Resident Evil 6.

Now, I've never played Resident Evil, seen the movies or anything before (a bit like I've never found a way into the Final Fantasy series). Wandering round a beautifully-realised environment in that very current and truly frustrating style of everything being shades of brown and gray, I think the bit I really liked about it was the in-game mobile phone menu system. Nothing else grabbed me as you wandered round a fairly linear path attempting to avoid having to shoot zombies unless strictly necessary. Right, and they've made six of these games... because?

So that was promptly deleted. Now, I'm not some sort of retro 'everything new is shit' guy, because the Altered Beast demo stayed on my hard drive for an even shorter amount of time before being binned. The other game that stood out was Awesomenauts. A fun base-attack 2D platformer, this is in danger of costing me MSPs, as the single-level, single-character demo is great fun.

Looking back through my other posts about computer games, every single time I start playing something I remember back to the old days (rather, 'my' old days) for inspiration of how games are supposed to feel. Dizzy, Sonic, Mario, Link and the like all come flooding back to me. They're old friends welcome back any time, certainly, because of the time I've spent with them over the years, but they're mostly friends because of how much I loved them.

My point is not that the only good games are the ones I played as a kid.

My point is that only the good games make me feel like I'm a kid when playing them.

For some people, that requirement is very easy. For others, evidently including me, it's fairly difficult. Skyrim, Resident Evil, Halo and Call of Duty can all go shove it, because their powers don't work on me no matter how large their sandboxes, or how many polygons they have, because they don't grab me. If you can give me a great game, then 16 colours and pixels the size of your fist are just fine, thank-you.

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