“Bad Graphics”

“Bad Graphics”

This video was sponsored by Raycon. Stick around at the end for a deal on these
awesome wireless earbuds. Hey, I need to tell you something, and it
might be controversial. Okay? But let’s step past this facade of pleasantry
we put up every day, let’s take this video off easy mode. Because I need to speak the truth. I like good graphics. I like em a lot. PHEW. Feels good to say it out loud. Because I’m in deep with this stuff. I watch Digital Foundry like, all the time. I want to know exactly how the game’s draw
distance works. I want them to analyze every strand of Norman
Reedus’ greasy hair. I love to pretend I understand what it means
when they drop sentences like “”rather, just with the more or less 2d-depth buffer
generated from that geometry.” It’s just fun, ya know? To see how close to realistic games can push
themselves. I’m even really into the not-in-engine stuff,
like I talked about in my FMVs video. I watch the cutscenes and ads made by Blur,
not because I have any real attachment to the story or characters, but just because
I like seeing just how shiny and pretty we can make stuff. I like graphics. And if you’re playing video games in the
year of our lord 2020, it’s a pretty great time to like graphics. I mean, have you seen Death Stranding? Have you seen The Last of Us 2? Have you seen Red Dead Redemption God of War
Spider-Man Uncharted Tomb Raider Far Cry Cyberpunk? On a very base level, it’s cool to be living
in such a tech arms race, and the developers really highlight this level of technical achievement. We get reallllly close to everyone’s face,
we see goosebumps appear on Sam’s arms. More often than not, these titles will come
with a photo mode, letting you zoom in and out and take in all the split-second details
that you might ordinarily miss. And then you get to post those details, and
we can all bask in how cool it is that Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn has…a uvula?? Somehow?? Another thing that I love to just bask in
is these compilations, made by people like SunhiLegend and Much118x on twitter. Look how perfectly they match-cut from game
to game, a seamless montage of graphical powerhouses, flowing from one to another like water, a
never-ceasing stream of polygons and shaders, a mighty flood of the most expensive and prestigious works the medium has to offer,
a- I’m not being glib when I say I find these
montages cool, I really do. But they are incredibly good at revealing
how much of a “look” AAA gaming has. The clips just flow into each other so well,
the aesthetic changes are so minute. These games share many other traits as well,
one of which is that they’re all flagships. These are the games that get shown off on
the biggest stages, that lead press releases and advertising campaigns. For Sony and Microsoft (but like, really Sony,)
these big beautiful AAA releases are how they prove that their consoles are worth having,
that their ecosystems are worth buying into. And because these games are so important to
the identity and perception of a console, publishers will invest a lot of money into
these things. AND because publishers have invested a lot
of money into these things, it’s important that they drive sales and earn that money
back. And what’s proven to earn money back? Well… This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. There are definitely projects like Kingdom
Hearts or Sea of Thieves that get big press and lots of attention without showing every
pores in their characters’ skin. I mean, Nintendo exists! We are not starving for alternative styles. But if AAA has a “look,” it’s not this. It’s this. There’s also an inherent level of prestige
that looking like this brings. I feel like we’re really susceptible to
it. For instance, the Life and Works of David
Cage. That’s not entirely fair. I like narrative experimentation a lot, I
like bold swings, I like David Bowie. I won’t say that all Quantic Dream’s games
have absolutely garbage-tier storytelling only considered worthy of consideration and
prestige because of their graphics. But I will say that about Detroit: Become
Human. This game! Is bad! This game is not good! This game is a 7-year-old’s understanding
of a civil rights movement and a 70-year old’s understanding of interactivity. It’s hard to overstate how much it bungles
its central metaphor. As Suriel Vasquez put it, “I think the world
is worse because that game is in it! I think it’s so bad!” The thing about Detroit: Become Human, though,
is that it looks…really good. Like it looks really good. I mean do you SEE how detailed the textures
are here? Do you see how well the digital emotion is
conveyed? And I genuinely don’t want to condescend
towards people who liked it, but…the graphics are the thing that give it that feeling of
“quality,” right? It’s kind of hard for me to imagine that
this game would have anywhere near the same level of status, level of support, amount
of money behind it, if it didn’t look so much like what a AAA, industry-leading game
is supposed to look like. I think we just inherently give it the benefit
of the doubt. And you gotta admit, games like Detroit looks
sweet when they’re in a sizzle reel. “Seeking to ensure that flagship projects
have a symbolic aesthetic of up-to-dateness, officials allow and often demand a modern
appearance- however inappropriate it may be” That sentence wasn’t written about the games
industry. It’s actually from a 2010 paper on international
homogeneity in architecture, written by Kathy Pain and Paul Knox. But boy if it ain’t familiar. Their argument in the paper is that increasingly
global money markets, controlled by a relatively few “world cities,” has led to a “convergence
in metropolitan form,” rather than “differences or distinctiveness.” What’s that mean? It means that the distinctive modern look
of skyscrapers in New York is aesthetically pretty damn similar to the distinctive modern
look of skyscrapers in London, which is, shocker, near and dear to the distinctive modern look
of skyscrapers in Hong Kong. As Knox and Pain note, the aesthetic of the
modern landmark- a Guggenheim, for example- isn’t just a cool building. It’s an indication to the rest of the world
that the landmark’s city is worthy of an elevated status with the global economy. It’s proof that Bilbao (home of this Guggenheim)
is legitimate enough as a “world city” that it too should be part of the cash flowing
around the globe. And when it’s the same handful of people
designing these buildings, instructed to keep the same style as they used for their other
landmark projects, things start to get a little…same-y. Yeah, every building individually is gorgeous. But- “The result is that the more cities compete
to be different, the more they end up looking the same, each with their sculptural flagship
buildings and generic mixed-use regeneration schemes.” This look becomes the look for modernity,
for cutting-edge aesthetics, and mostly, for large inflows of money. What these buildings aren’t necessarily
being designed for is the public good.These big beautiful pieces of construction, designed
by what K&P refer to as “starchitects,” don’t happen in a vacuum. Instead, they’re made possible by neoliberal
market forces, ones that simultaneously incentivize inner-city gentrification, divestment in public
utilities and infrastructure, a general diminishing of public housing…take your pick. That aesthetic of modernity might be a signifier
that a city is entering the global market- but for the many many people that won’t
reap the benefits from that market, it’s hard to just go “pretty building good.” Hey remember when this essay was about video
games? Now look, that got pretty bleak and I don’t
want to overstate the parallels here. This isn’t a video about how Nathan Drake’s
impeccably modeled ear cartilage is causing gentrification (though Drake is totally a
NIMBY). But I do think it’s a useful model for thinking
about how we think about graphics, and what the “AAA style” indicates about the gaming
landscape. For instance, one of Sony’s prestige projects
for the PS4 was the Bluepoint remake of Shadow of the Colossus. And when the game initially released on the
PS2, it was stylized like a PS2 game had to be. Incredibly sparse details, barren lands. One of my favorite things that resulted from
this stylization is how light worked in the original Colossus. Because devs didn’t have the same liberty
with lighting tech we have now, the game kinda faked it, turning the bloom up to blinding
levels for a couple seconds to emphasize the vibe of a new area. It’s an effect that I find just gorgeous;
I think the game would lose something without it. And then, two generations later, Sony and
Bluepoint decided to remake the game. And to honor this artistic juggernaut, to
indicate that they were putting the full power of their system and publishing ability behind
it, they chose…well, you know. They chose realism. They chose the prestige look. To be clear, when I saw this announcement
trailer, I jumped out of my chair. I was PSYCHED. I am psyched! That it exists, that it is so beautiful, that
new generations of people can experience it. But I think the game has lost some of its
visual specificity. It feels, to me, a little less singular now. It fits more neatly into a portfolio. So let’s BREAK THAT PORTFOLIO, huh? Let’s get a little messy. This video is called “bad graphics” after
all. Let’s talk about Cosmo D. Cosmo D is a developer with his own universe
of games, Off-Peak, The Norwood Suite, and (most recently) Tales from Off-Peak City. Cosmo D’s work does not have what we would
typically call good graphics. What it does have is so much more…interesting. Conflicting styles are piled on each other
in these games, a teetering pile of aesthetics that somehow draws power from its contradictions. Blurry pictures of board games scatter the
floor, next to absurdly-adorned humans selling food that is just…just way too big. What would Digital Foundry even talk about
in a game like this? The shadow resolution? The water physics? The skybox? Houses talk, fire escapes have slides, one
building’s facade is straight up full of cats. All the normal measures of what qualifies
as “good” or “bad” graphics feels pretty meaningless here. In the beginning of Tales from Off-Peak City,
you take a boat through this building that disappears as soon as you’ve passed through
it. Humans are all variations on the same bizarre
model, with a particularly hilarious quirk being that children and babies are just scaled-down
versions of that same model. Babies are just tiny men. It’s like every pre-Renaissance picture
of jesus. The effect of all the anachronisms here, all
the combinations of styles and ideas and textures, is that the train station, hotel, and city
just feel bursting with life and diversity in a way I rarely feel in games. It’s like every part of these spaces was
pulled from different worlds and just smashed together in this almost-hypnotic fashion. It also helps that I’ve never played a game
that sounds like Cosmo D’s work. These games are fundamentally about jazz,
about the inspiration and politics behind creating music, and different tunes blast
out from every corner of the world. A stroll down the street in Off-Peak City
offers a dozen different tracks, each distinct and specific to the person playing them in
some indescribable way. There’s almost no room between them- as
soon as one song fades out, another fades in. In a more realistic setting, in a virtual
city that’s attempting to perfectly emulate our own, the sound design might be “too
much.” But as it exists now, supporting this wild
mash-up of ideas, it’s perfect. Despite all their quote-unquote “graphical
flaws,” I couldn’t feel more immersed in these places. “Everything, no matter how unusual, is in
the world for a narrative reason,” Cosmo told me. It’s eclectic, but it isn’t random. Off-Peak City feels like it has a history,
like it doesn’t solely exist for the benefit of the player. It also, like the cities we discussed earlier,
feels like it’s wrestling with economic change, and the conflict of long-time residents
vs commercial interests. Storefronts are shuttered. Identically-faced authority figures harass
residents, playing the role of cops while attached to some mega-corporation. On the end of one street, a giant roulette
wheel spins ominously. The borough this game takes place in is the
antithesis of the neoliberal homogeneity that Knox and Pain wrote about; personality and
culture spill out of every corner. It feels like it was built by and for the
people who live there. But you also get the sense that it isn’t
easy. As nice as it’d be to keep making bizarre
pizzas indefinitely, there are threats both obvious and surreptitious to the city’s
sense of self, to not get taken over by faceless corporations. The look of these blocks, the illogical curves
and cartoonish sense of scale and unpredictable positioning of objects- that is the story. Tales from Off-Peak City isn’t great in
spite of its quote-unquote “bad graphics,” it’s great because of them. I think we are genuinely cutting ourselves
off from experiences by this narrow vision of ~prestige gaming.~ I actually had a similar
experience when I saw Into the Spider-Verse. I was like, “Animation could look like this?? I’ve seen 4 billion movies with the same
CG shininess, and we could have had stuff like this?” And it’s not like I wanted a movie to specifically
do variable frame-rate animation, or any of the other things Spider-Verse does. My mind wasn’t even aware of the possibility
space! I had no idea what 90 million dollars would
look like when poured into a project taking as big of a swing as this, and that’s one
of the reasons I was so blown away by it. It’s why I want to see studio tentpoles
that looks as crazy as this animation. Because indies have been doing this stuff
forever, there’s no shortage of creativity in the game-space. But I want to see what those creators could
do with the funding of a major publisher, and I want people exposed to the incredible
alternative aesthetics that are out there! I want Off-Peak and Harold Halibut and Dujanah
and Ode to a Moon and Infini and OK Normal and Hylics and Mundaun and Sable and Faith
and Scanner Sombre to carry the same level of visual legitimacy that Sony’s current
Big Boys have. Every city doesn’t need a variation on a
Guggenheim to be prestigious, but the only way to break out of that mindset is to just
start doin it. Use all that processing power, all those shaders
and pixels and teraflops to do something other than pores on a sad man’s skin. Show us all the things we don’t even know
are possible because we’ve been so hyperfocused on one definition of “good.” I will always have love in my heart for an
impeccably rendered, dirty, crying Norman Reedus. I am a boy who likes graphics. But what I would genuinely love is to hear
that a game has good graphics and just not have any idea what that means. Confuse me, blindside me, dazzle me. Show me something new. Y’all, I have a problem. Her name is Miel. Is she a beautiful, loving cat? Sure, yeah, of course. Does she also chew through my headphone wires
with terminator-like focus and intensity? YES, FOUR SEPARATE TIMES. But! Every destructive cat has a silver lining,
and today it’s this video’s sponsor, Raycon! Raycon make wireless earbuds that are really
comfortable, sound awesome, and are -seriously- half the price of the other ones out there. I’ve been using the Everyday E25s for a
while now and I’m honestly just finding new excuses to go out and use ‘em because
I like wearing them so much. Like, hey why not listen to my 19th episode
of Blank Check in a row? And, by following the link in the description,
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earbud train, but I’m genuinely convinced with these things. And! multiple people have told me, unprompted,
“wow those actually look really cool.” Miel, for the record, has not told me they
look cool. She mostly stares at me out of her little
cat tent now. What was I- oh! Raycon! I like my Everyday E25s a lot. Just follow the link in the description knock
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100 thoughts on ““Bad Graphics””

  1. A thing about graphics is the best graphics aren't as timeless as the companies want to think they are. Look at Wind Waker versus Twilight Princess. TP's graphics are… old looking now. There's issues with them that TWW will never have because TWW's supposed bad graphics will always look timeless and distinct.

  2. Is there anyone who remembers the awesome graphics of The Neverhood ? That game used "clay stopmotion" and it's frankly unique.

  3. Unfortunately, I don't think what Jacob is advocating for in this video is really viable. Small devs have their distinct artistic visions because it's just one or a few people making the creative decisions. They don't have to compromise or consolidate their visions together, they can just make exactly what's in their heads. A big studio has to consolidate, and what's the one style that every one can envision and create? Realism. I think the alternative would generally look like a snooty auteur directing a big studio to follow his every whim, and I don't think we want video game development to be like that.

  4. Sometimes I think about how Final Fantasy VIII went realistic and Final Fantasy IX just after was super cartoony, and how such a drastic change in the franchise is probably never going to happen ever again

  5. You wanna see some incredible games with a unique visual style, check out the corpus of thecatamites: https://thecatamites.itch.io/

  6. what i'd REALLY pay for is a game that has almost no bump mapping, 4k textures or microscopic details, but has phenomenal lighting design, almost like ray traced minecraft, where the only ways you can tell serious graphics work has been added extra is the blade sharp defined edges etc, and perfectly placed lights in the level to create maximum atmosphere without most of the atmospheric effects used, kinda like the example used of the original shadow of the collossus

  7. God I would LOVE to buy raycon products but they don't really fit my needs.. I prefer wired headphones, lower latency for all the rhythm games I play. Wish we'd get more of those from companies.

  8. Here's the thing. Are those indie titles even really games? its always seems to be a trade off between good gameplay and their artistic style and it almost always ends up being a walking simulator with some puzzles or text/menu based.

    If you watch a video of someone playing spiderman it doesn't capture the feeling of actually playing it yourself. Even death stranding, which has minimal gameplay, still doesn't capture the struggle of reaching your destination and the fear of dropping your packages (knowing that if YOU screw up then you may lose hours of progress) in a video you need to play it yourself to experience that.

    Now look at one of Cosmo's games. What are you missing by watching a play through on YouTube? If you can get the same experience watching the game then isn't it just interactive art?

  9. ps2 era games were the peak of this design philosophy, i remember comparing nfs underground 2 map to ghost's nfs 2015 and counting how many different buildings there were, nfs 2015 may be one of the best looking games in my opinion but the map has no soul, this is why the ubisoft model has turned me off for so long, and why modern games feel like a chore to me.

    everything just looks the same.

  10. Honestly, I think aesthetics are more interesting than graphics, so many soulless AAA sequels have "good" graphics but that's not enough to pull me in.

  11. I was wondering throughout the video why I enjoy the look of games that—by today's standards—look terrible, and I think I've figured out a few reasons why.

    The first and foremost reason has to be the lack of a specific formula for making graphics. Sure, there were similarities in games that were attempting to look photorealistic, say, on the PS1, but they always had their own graphical techniques that subsequently lead to their development of style.

    This leads to my second point, which is the forced innovation brought on by limitations. Silent Hill, for example, couldn't render much of the game world at the same time, so they had to limit the draw distance of the camera. While this served a technical purpose, it also brought a specific style and aesthetic to the game that defined its look. What is unfortunate, then, is that today graphics are no longer trying anything new, thereby they are not making anything visually unique.

    This is in part due to my final point, which is the commodification of art and—inherently—video games. More people are buying video games and playing them than ever before; no longer is the market niche, nor is it small. While on the one hand, this can be great for the gaming community, this also means art styles need a widespread appeal to everyone that is a potential consumer of video games (assuming a company has put large budgets into a project). Universal appeal in artistic expression means a loss of individuality and uniqueness; this is why indie games still look unique and can get away with it.

    It is unfortunate, then, that through all the innovation, technological growth, and expanding of the market, there are few games that experiment with changes in the formula; games could (and should) theoretically look both impressive and unique due to their massive amounts of funding, but cynically it would appear that uniqueness is risky and change is unnecessary in the eyes of AAA game developers.

  12. If you're really into computer graphics and the processes behind them, you should checkout https://www.youtube.com/user/keeroyz

  13. Scanner Sombre really reminds me of Radiohead's House of Cards video, and I love that song and video so much.

  14. The best part of Detroit Become Human was all the parts with Connor and Hank.
    Which is ironic because they improvised most of the scenes together.

  15. It annoys me when people literally take the time to zoom in so far on footage of a game to the point the image gets pixelated or doesn’t look as good up close then it does during normal gameplay and then complain “the graphics are terrible, look at the downgrade not buying this crap, looks like an old gen game” even though they aren’t bad, YOU made the graphics look bad purposely. Remember spider mans puddle gate, That was interesting

  16. I have been complaining about this with movies for the last couple of years but didn't have the vocabulary to express my thoughts. THANK YOU!
    The "prestige" qualities that ruined great franchises like Star Wars or flopped what could have been great film adaptations of books like His Dark Materials on HBO at the expense of creating a unique aesthetic in the work or "visual specificity" like you stated. Thankfully they didn't fuck it up with the Witcher.

  17. I really liked your video, your opinions were well put and it exposed me to some interesting games I had never even heard of. Keep up the great work!
    It's unfortunate though that you didn't enjoy "Detroit: Become Human" more. I thought it had plenty of interactivity; utilizing and reacting to your interactions in a spectacular way that far outstrips most games. I took a crack at explaining some of it here:

  18. This is well presented. You are one of many to inspire me to create my own game. I am a beginner but, I am going to keep learning until I get it. 🙂

  19. I feel like the point in this video is kind of obscured since you conflate good graphics and good art direction a few times. You say that you want games to put money into more obscure aesthetics and to redefine what it means to have good graphics, but you also say that Tales From Off-Peak City is good because it has bad graphics.

    I feel like you could make the argument that TFOPC would only look better with more money put into it, and I feel like you're also making that argument by the end of the video.

    I don't think more money necessarily translates to better looking, as you said with SotC the risk of losing the original style is there, but I do think money could improve a game with bad graphics. From what you said during that segment of the video, it seems like TFOPC just has strong art direction, and that overcomes bad graphics, not that the bad graphics are actually a boon.

    You also said at the beginning of the video that with companies like Nintendo and Indies and etc. we're not actually starved for AAA mainstream games that don't cater to the obsession with realistic graphics.

    It feels like several conflicting points are being made, even though I feel like I agree with the heart of what you're saying. Maybe I misunderstood something, but I wanted to leave my thoughts and maybe get some clarification if possible. Still a good video. Like I said, I agree with the general message, I just feel like the arguments are a little weak.

  20. So, I'm from Bilbao and you mentioning it was veeery unexpected. I know it's a silly thing, but I don't know why feels goose when your city gets a shout out.

  21. Platinuming detroit made me really appreciate it. I disagree that its a bad game. It is a solid 7/10 for me

  22. You brought up SunhiLegend but didn't show their DMC5 combos with those nice graphics… a shame…

    Even so, GREAT video!!! I very much agree, I'd love to see weird/cool indie styles with lots of financial support behind them.

    I also appreciate the callout of Detroit: Become Human. It was frankly insulting on so many levels.

  23. This was a great video. And I think I totally agree with you, but wanted to offer an important post-script:

    While stylized graphics will always allow for more rich and arguably "better" experiences, realistic graphics still have merit and appropriate uses. The Uncharted series is a good example in that its goal is essentially to add the "larger" to the phrase "large-than-life". To present characters and environments that appear normal but that you get to interact with in an abnormal way. And this unique experience would be lost if the "normal" things were stylized, because they would inherently look abnormal to begin with. That's not to say audience's can't relate to or be immersed by a stylized world. But that world would feel more like a different dimension rather than a place the audience could stumble upon if they stepped out their door.

    So yes, while such huge budgets are being thrown around, it may be better to dedicate them to more creative endeavors – styles that won't be outdated by the next level of graphical power we get. But those realistic game experiences don't have to be the best thing ever made. They can just be one of the many worthwhile experiences that this mediums offers.

  24. Eh, I don't care about graphics much, the UT99 type of graphics is good enough, and sometimes better than the modern ones.

  25. Sorry but Detroit being successfull because of "graphics" is not really true.
    Just look at Life is Strange. Definitely a worse game and terrible graphics.
    Yet it's still a success

  26. Your small rant about homogenous buildings just triggered my sleeper cell hatred of Modern Architecture and the International Style of the 20s

  27. i have comme to hate games with "good graphics" because of how they neglect everything that isn't graphics
    instead of looking at all the new stuff they could do with the new technologie they look at how they can cut extra corners in a corridor to get that extra little bit of détail
    it's creating shock and awe truw graphics and it works but i really wish it didn't because none of the games i have had a good time with in the past few years had them

  28. God, Jacob, I love it when you attack neoliberalism❤️
    “Hey, remember when this video essay was about video games?”

  29. i feel like a lot of the time games trade good gameplay for realistic graphics that will look outdated in a few years

  30. I’ll be totally honest, I don’t get a lot of time to play video games anymore. If I have free time, I’m almost certainly going to spend it listening to records or taking a walk. As such, when I DO pick up a video game, I’m inclined to avoid that “prestigious” video game style. I know I’d rather spend my time playing something like the Beginner’s Guide than wasting my time playing whatever some of my coworkers are freaking out over. I’ll get a less homogenized experience from it, and I’m happy to see somebody actually talking about it and encouraging diversity in art

  31. Great video. I'd likely add the obsession with "Realism" in AAA prestige projects makes me We're just going throuh the "Cel-Da" cycle back from 2002/03 again where after Nintendo showed off a "Realistic (But still stylised) Zelda tech demo for the Gamecube in 2000, and it became Wind Waker which had an exceptional cel shaded style. But Gamers were furious because they had such a hard on for realism that this "Cartoon" Zelda wasn't pushing the envelope. Zelda's a leading IP in the industry. Then Twilight Princess happened and despite the amazing reaction at the reveal was probably the weakest 3D Zelda (Arguably since Skyward Sword exists) while Wind Waker is considered an absolute classic now. But what it really showed was the "hardcore" audience is scared of how its seen. You couldn't have a "Kiddy" Zelda. Zelda is iconic and needs to be on the bleeding edge of modern graphics like Ocarina of Time was. Zelda had to be Prestige even though Nintendo was putting out a "Mature" Sci-Fi IP with amazing AAA graphics in Metroid Prime. Fans were furious for years till the game came out, had high critic scores and people played it anyway. And this seems to play into the modern "Realism" push too. Singlular AAA Photo-realism styles are "Safe", sell well and somehow justifies the hobby to a casual audience in the lens of the "Hardcore" even though we have mega successes like Minecraft and Roblox played by a casual audience.

  32. I wish more developers would take inspiration from illustrators like Banner Saga did with Eyvind Earle's backgrounds and Don Bluth s animation. Like illustrators have already done most of your concept work even before you start development.

  33. detroit: become human to me was like a shitty pizza inside of a dazzling, beautiful, elegant and kind of pretentious looking pizza box. sure it tasted okay and the box looked great but id only eat the full pizza if i was really hungry, while i'd only use the box as inspiration to make something better.

    I never really disliked the game but i never really liked it either; sure, the characters and their journeys by themselves were kinda compelling but when put together with the addition of an important overarching theme/message, you really need to do it right. not like… whatever came out of david cage's head.

  34. It’s really cool to see that you collaborated with Razbuten, because his videos are also really cool and I’ve seen him in the comments in a lot of your videos.

  35. Having a cool, unique style for your…anything is so so important. Like I can’t stop thinking about World of Horror actually. It’s stylized after a super old school text adventure, where you change your graphic settings between one bit and two bit if you want some shadows. And that game looks amazing! It’s super simple but man, that’s just a game that knows what’s good for horror, with some really pretty drawings too

  36. > Conflating Gentrification with neoliberalism

    My disapointment in you is immeasurable. I bet you don't even like the global poor.

  37. I will always think that horizon zero dawn is one of the most beautiful games that I’ve ever played, fighting a giant mechanical bird or t-Rex while in the bask of the sunset is just so damn beautiful

  38. Personally i know that no game can ever truly fool me that im looking at real life. At least not anytime soon. So thats why i prefer stylized. Instead of attempting to fool me that im looking at real life and the millions of intricacies that come with it, they just convenience me that im looking at art.

  39. 7:19 Urban tribes and any social differentiation trend lead to sameness.

    Are you an architect? You seem quite interested in constructions.

  40. This is awesome and a very well written essay thanks a bunch pls like and subscribe more people need to see this

  41. Interesting video! But there's a few things I noticed about the examples you gave in your argument. While you suggest giving money to creators who are pushing the style scene like Cosmos D, I don't think that more money might necessarily mean more creative animation. As you have said, limited funding on graphics doesn't mean a game is bad, it just gives it a "feel" that might work in the game's favor Because of that, some games won't need any more money in pushing graphics, since that money would instead be used to increase scope in an already stylistically complete game.

    I think indie styles and other styles that reflect a more creative look like Off Peak City and the Shadow of the Colossus come mainly from a Limitation. The beautiful bloom effect in SOTC came from resourceful thinking for the technology of that time. Off Peak City's surrealism, and Cosmos D's style is fundamentally characterized and supported by the "bad" graphics that comes from a lack of polish due to lack of funding. And yet, any more polish or change in direction in the graphics would arguably take away from the game's feel as a whole. Finally, Spiderverse. Like you I loved Spiderverse's animation and was so excited about it pushing 2D animation forward. But they way it was pushed forward was the result of of more freedom in budget, not limitation. I think Spiderverse's breakthrough in 2D animation is fundamentally different from the ingenuity of Shadow of the Colossus and Off Peak City.

    Spiderverse's style required insane funding. Off Peak City's style didn't. If we take away funding from Spiderverse, its style would change. If we give funding to Off Peak City its style might change to lose its original feel, or it might keep its original style and use the money elsewhere to increase the scope of the game.

    As I write this I've come to the same conclusion as you. I want more funding for stylish developers. More freedom from funding means we can CHOOSE more rigorous styles like Spiderverse. More funding might move us away from the creative solutions of less funded games and the resulting style we love. But as the style ceiling cap moves further up, we are less incentive to stay down, and I'm into that.

  42. This is just such a thoughtful, well-articulated discussion on creativity and expectations. Stellar work, man.

  43. 1. He talked about games with good graphics
    2. Consistently uses music from THE (imo) best looking game of all time.
    3. Never uses a single frame from Okami.

  44. I get with new technology comes more chances at perfecting realism, but it also has some pretty negative consequences. For one, it's lead to most AAA studios distancing themselves from more stylized games. And I'm not counting the remakes of past games like the Crash and Spyro collections, I'm talking new stuff. Sony had their chance with Knack, but both just didn't live up, and Microsoft tried with Sea of Thieves, but that's been all but abandoned. Nintendo's the only one I've seen who've stuck with it, using more stylized visuals to give their new I.Ps like Splatoon, ARMS, and Xenoblade more identity.

    My last point, it leads to needless fighting among fans of separate franchises. One example of this comes from someone on Twitter who posted a comment saying Doom Eternal looks amazing while Animal Crossing looks horrible, even though they're two completely different games with completely different styles. And while I wouldn't have paid this no mind, looking at the replied frustrated me. While there were others pointing this out, there were just as many agreeing.

    I'm not against realism as a whole, I merely wish for devs to bring more creativity when it comes to their visual and graphical style. For as mediocre as the Knack series is its visuals and graphics are something I'll always praise, they look fantastic. If we could get more stuff like that or even Sunset Overdrive I'd be a very happy camper. At the moment though it's either Nintendo or indies I have to rely on to provide these types of games.

  45. Comparing off-peak city to detroit become human feels like trying to compare different movements of art. Trying to objectively decide wether cubist art is better than pointillism; you know what I mean?

  46. I have a similar reaction to the Final Fantasy 7 remake as you for SotC… FF7 was genius in its use of backgrounds, not to mention their artistry. It’s not like the remake deletes the original, but I can’t help but feel it’s a bit of a disservice?

  47. The overwhelming bloom in SotC is caused by emulators. Don't get me wrong, the original game had a ton of it, but the not perfect emulation makes it worse. Just look at the PS3 version, or look at PS2 native footage, and you'll get what I mean.

  48. There is an art director of the game the legend of zelda : the wind waker who explained why they went for a cartoon artstyle. He basically said that when he went on a magazine, every game looked the same with the realism so they went with a cartoon artstyle. He was right to do so.

  49. I always see it as a game by game basis. God of War and Last of Us are fine for what they are, and games like Horizon for what they're worth look great not because of realistic water particles, but because what other game are you currently looking at that has robot dinosaurs and neo-tribal people that think bullets are now hat ornaments. Similarly back in the PS3 days, I always thought Killzone 2 looked better than Uncharted – a contradiction in the face of all those loving the colors, but Uncharted was just imitation life. Killzone 2 had guns that fired lightning into the sky, window canvases of an alien sky of clouds, gray-blue sand shores mixed with industrial backdrops of war, and enemy drop ships that cut through the smog with dark menacing red lights. It was caught up in the "realistic" angle of perspective, but it was far into its own direction with where it took the visual scene. I feel like the souls games gets nulled out of these discussions for the same reason too. Clearly, they're trying to look serious, but the things they show you are so far removed from anything real, without stepping into a very obvious page of indie darling style.

    Still when we look at a game like Spider-man, or the critique that minecraft looks "bad", that's where I think your point is certainly needed. Minecraft isn't blocky to look cheap, its blocky because that's how the world and gameplay works. Block by block, you are tinkering and making the world. … and spider-man is a comic hero. Comics and cell shading are near synonymous with each other, so yeah it disappoints me there to think that just blends in with any other PS4 blockbuster. Even if not cell shading, they had a chance to make something that wasn't… just web slinging New York in imiation to real life. There genuinely is more valid art styles than just the main one.

  50. Ngl. I wanna see kojima make a game using yoji shinkawa's style. Like his art is so pretty and he can make stuff sad and sexy. I want it….

  51. You would love both anime and JRPGs then, there's an incredible amount of variety in the art styles and art direction there

  52. I think the Shadow of the Colossus example wasn’t really that good. In the original a lot of the scenery looks bleached with a filter added on top. Where you showed the sunlight entering the Temple it looks really flat and uninteresting but the remaster adds a lot of depth that wasn’t there in the original. I’m not trying to discredit the PS2 version of the game, obviously. The developers at the time had a lot of constraints when it came to the PS2 hardware and they did the best they could. I just think the remaster added a lot more to the experience, and heightened the atmosphere and setting.

  53. Not gonna lie you kinda caught me off guard when you started talking about off peak lol😂and all the other aesthetics I was like this dudes kinda tripping but I really get what you mean after listening to you this is probably lows the reason why I've been getting bored of gaming bc everything looks the same and when you think about it they play the same too and bro when you showed the difference between shadow of colossus even the fonts change they literally want everything to be nice and neat it's kinda crazy smh🤔

  54. Who the fuck are you, and why does it feel like your whole channel systematically deconstructs all the covert ideas that have mulled in the back of my head for the longest time? Do you have a degree in anthropology or something? Instant subscription

  55. Extra Credits did a video about this years ago, about the difference between graphics (which just means fidelity) and aesthetics (the actual art design), it's baffling to me that so many people still don't understand that distinction.

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