We...are The Pondlings.

Hello and welcome back to the seventh article by TAY's secret group, The Pondlings. Just who are we? We're here to mend and defend - to defend our new found friends, their hopes and dreams, and to defend them from their enemies.

But before that...let us review the latest scoreboard.

Looks like Crane and Ottsel are tied and I bet Ottsel is sweating! Keep it up guys, you earned a lot of stars last week and the winner will be decided on Christmas day.


So without further ado let us begin...

The SunTAY© Morning Pondling Debate (Issue 07).

Our topic today: How important are graphics in games? Did you like this weeks picture? Ugly isn't it! And yet I bet someone out there likes it or doesn't mind. It doesn't change anything or does it? Gameplay and graphics....there's a fine balance so tell us what you think!


Koi: As technology has improved, so have our games. Remember the days of NES or before that? Remember the visuals and their gameplay? I sure do, I grew up playing those old games and it has been an honour to grow up with the industry and see it grow into what it is today.

So we have these new boxes...the Playstation 4 and Xbox One? Hmmm all this fancy technology...Wonder what the developers of today do with it all. Oh...shaders...particle effects...more animations! Godrays! dynamic foliage, dynamic weather! and so on and so on. So is this the age of pretty games? What about gameplay! How's AI compared to the old days? Have we refined the classic game mechanics yet?

Looking at it all it's pretty clear that visuals sell. And who can blame them, pretty games are like Gold-Pressed Latinum and we must own them! But you have to admit that there is perhaps too much focus on visuals and effects. Look at Assassin's Creed: Black Flag:

Very fancy! And it's nice to see the hard work put into it however if you're a fan of the series you probably know the games similar flaws. AI for one thing is quite poor and they reuse the same tired mechanics. They quite often express their passion at the size of their cities or how realistic the recreations are but you have to wonder if they should rethink or reprioritize their development cycles. Yes, visuals sell and they help immerse the player but a big world without anything to do can be boring to some, myself included. However, others make their own fun in these big worlds so that's not a solid argument.


I will say however that we've come a long way since those 2D days and although some classics are still fun even today, I have to admit that I've been spoiled by these current gen games and their high quality art.

But to answer the real question...how important are graphics? It's different for everyone and that's fine! After all we perceive things differently. Overall I like a clean art style that's easy on the eyes and if it helps compliment gameplay then all the better! Dishonoured is one such game, it's very pretty and the art style is so easy to read, similar to Team Fortress 2 and the character designs:

Look how easy they are to read. You can identify them very quickly through silhouette alone. And I do believe that technology has allowed game developers to experiment and improve game mechanics. So art is important but it cannot be the main focus. Gameplay has the word "game" in it and that's what we're here to play. Therefore I hold gameplay higher than graphics and would sooner play a pixelated ugly game that's fun than a pretty art piece with no gameplay.


Crane: You know, I liked the colour and design of this week’s picture! But the pixelated seals… not so much!


Everyone likes to look at pretty things, I mean, it’s what we’re used – the world through our eyes is amazing and crisp (when I’m wearing my glasses!). So many colours, textures, little details that we pick up, just from a glance. Games are striving towards that, but they’re never going to get there. What game will have different textures for everything, so many details and imperfections in every little thing in the game world? The computing power for that would be astronomical! I don’t know, maybe in the future there will be a capacity for this, and we’ll see games which really look like real life. Who knows, eh?

But right now, while I enjoy looking at games when they are graphically “good”, thinking “Wow, that looks amazing” or whatever, after that I’m actually going to be playing the game. And if the gameplay isn’t good, it’s not a good game. I mean, there’s only so much exploring and looking around I can do (unless the game is all about that!). Most games you don’t just sit around and smell the roses. You’re doing things, and those things need to be implemented well. Gameplay definitely trumps graphics, by miles!


Look at the popularity of games which don’t try to mimic real life graphically – like most Nintendo games. Hell, even the blocky Minecraft was super popular, cause it was fun (supposedly, I’ve actually never played it :/). And the indie games which have their own stylised art style. I feel like games are much better off being distinctive like that rather than try to look like real life.

So yeah, graphics are not important, to me anyway! Though saying that, I remember in the day absolutely loving Goldeneye on the N64. It was just an amazingly fun game to play. Last year I actually plugged in an N64 again and booted up Goldeneye. It looked absolutely horrible! It was super blocky and fuzzy and just hurt my eyes. I don’t know if it’s because of the new TVs not being compatible or something but woah, I couldn’t play a game like that anymore. It’s not really the blockiness though that bothered me, just the fuzzy edges. They hurt my eyes!


So clean lines please, but other than that, go for something stylish! What do you guys think?


Ottsel: Hmm this is a tricky one, for one hand we need graphics cause we can't be stuck in the NES days, right? There was so much that could be done with a resolution of 256 x 240 pixels; on the other hand relying on graphics and neglecting gameplay will present you an experience as fun as a sandbox without sand.

I believe that as long as the art direction is good, then graphics can take the a seat in the bench, and as long as the programmers and engineers know how to work around their limitations and take advantage of them instead of being chained.

Let's say you are going out on a date, and the person you are going out is the most beautiful human being you've ever seen, so you start talking and it turns out that for all the beauty this person had on the outside, on the inside well... it is rather unidimensional, no depth, nothing interesting to talk, a blank canvas and no brushes to add some character. The same thing happens with a game that focuses too much on developing graphics and forgets about the gameplay.

I prefer going out with that person that is better balanced, so what if it isn't stunning as the other beautiful person, this one has a better taste for music, dresses better... shall I say has a better art style, and it's fun to talk to always coming up with something new to talk about!


Thank you for reading and to the non-pondlings, we welcome your discussion.

The Pondling Group is a secret organisation dedicated to watching over the citizens of New Tay and making sure their happiness comes first. If you wish to join our secret group you must follow these instructions below:


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Make sure to check out TAYCLASSIC for more amazing stories by the very citizens we dedicate our lives to protecting.

Le sigh. Seems Odin is really busy so whatever. Just watch Ergo Proxy >_>

As usual, Master Koi has given me permission to pimp A Hat in Time so please check it out if you haven't and be sure to pre-order if it takes your fancy.