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Author Topic: Feel the "Character" of Games Have Gone Down?  (Read 1001 times)

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Feel the "Character" of Games Have Gone Down?
« on: May 07, 2015, 06:59:55 pm »
  • Tamer Koh
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Something I've been thinking on for a while now.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, game developers had to work with and around the limitations of the console hardware.  Not just graphics, but also music and sounds too.  Due to this, it was very much possible to be able to tell what console a game was on, just by listening to it.  Sega Genesis (and by extension, the NEC PC-9801, since they used similar chips) had a very distinctive sound, and you'd know a Genesis game when you heard it.  The same characterization, of course, extended to the other 8-bit and 16-bit consoles, like the SNES having a very distinctive sound.  In terms of graphics, the color limitations forced the developers to get the most out of what was available to them.  This led to some either bland-looking games, or games that still hold up with an amazing art style to this day, such as Seiken Densetsu 3.

But the moment the 32 and 64-bit eras come, that characterization seemed to go down.  3D was still early on the consoles, so the graphics still had much growing to do.  Rarely would anyone ever say early 3D graphics hold up to this day though.  No longer were developers hindered by console limitations in terms of sprites and music either, as one could literally insert a fully orchestrated soundtrack into the game with ease, and use as many colors as they deemed necessary on sprites. 

So without the limitations in place, I'm saying games overall (not every single one, but just in general) have started to bleed together in terms of graphics and sound.  All the games that try to look realistic look more or less the same, and since there are no limitations on sound, all the soundtracks sort of bleed together with the same high quality instruments and such.  This isn't to say the graphics aren't GOOD and the sound/music isn't GOOD, but rather that the character is lost, since they aren't forced to get the most out of limitations.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree, disagree?

EDIT:  This is excluding the indie game scene!  I'm well aware they're the primary group bringing freshness in this day and age, lol.  This is mainly concerning the mainstream games with the mainstream companies.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 07:09:05 pm by Koh »
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Re: Feel the "Character" of Games Have Gone Down...
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 10:10:02 pm »
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Sounds like the old "everything is derivative; there's no more originality nowadays" argument.
IMHO it's because the limitation of sound quality (lossy compression, chiptunes, etc.) has been surmounted in the 64-bit era, that game developers can make music literally real-quality, so yes, the identity of sound is lost. Likewise, graphics are becoming more about "more polygons = realism", and (depending on the console) that hurdle has been leaped, too.
Instead of the technological capabilities, developers should be focused on uniqueness of sound and graphics... i.e. aesthetics. Now it should be about how make one's soundtrack (and SFX) and graphics (art, aesthetics) unique and stand out from the rest. Take a look at Viewtiful Joe's graphics, for instance. It certainly is not comparable to, say, Call of Duty's or Super Mario Sunshine's graphics, right?

So personally, the characterization of game has evolved and continues to evolve based on the idea that without hardware limitations developers now have to create their own with aesthetics and gameplay (which should be the first priority!). Franchises have it easiest: there are already past games to use as models, so there is an expectation for their future installments.

But agreed with the indie games quip. Go, communities!
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Re: Feel the "Character" of Games Have Gone Down...
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2015, 01:03:11 am »
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I don't think it's the character of games have gone down. Just that now the devs don't really have to worry about limitations for sound and stuff. With graphics and sound looking and sounding the game. That's probably because of the type of games that you see being made. Games like Call of Duty, and Assassins parkour are going for realistic settings, so they more then likely want things to sound as realistic as possible. Have you looked into the Wii U? Nintendo still makes more colorful style and sounding games. They may be more your style.

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