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Topic: So many ideas, so little talent. (Read 3766 times) previous topic - next topic

  • Mooch
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Re: So many ideas, so little talent.
Reply #15

Quote from: mooch
There's just this ineffable magic and soul to the likes of Mario and Link and Sonic and Megaman that isn't replicated today, even in retro-style indie games. Part of it, I think, is that they started on such limited hardware.


Amen. I keep trying to tell my brother that 2D pixel art is better than 3D realistic looking games in terms of beauty, but of course I do realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what is art if to not imitate a photograph? 2D pixel art uses colors in very distinct and imaginative ways. You create a represent of life - not a recreation. Games like Chrono Trigger looked so good because you recognize things like trees and barrels and mundane things in a purely fantastical light, a light that makes you think and see the world differently. It's almost indescribable: I'd rather look at a pixelated barrel than a high quality 3D rendered one.

Of course that is also the limited-palette pixel art I'm talking about: the ones that use dithering, and colors in unique ways (not the modern pixel art that uses photoshop brushes and look messy).

In terms of trying to do the same thing in the realm of 3D, I think cel-shaded games do a good job or the games with more cartoon-y styles (like the recent LoZ a link between worlds game).


Another thing is the music. Go ahead, hum something from one of the 8/16 bit Megaman games, or Sonic games, or Zelda or Mario or Metroid games. Now hum something from Crysis 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Infamous, Skyrim, any recent blockbuster.

Limitations serve the creative process, not hinder it. The reason the music in videogames of yesterdecade was so good, the reason the characters were so distinctively designed, is because the artists and composers had only a handful of sound channels and pixels to work with. In order to make something good, you had to squeeze every last drop you could out of every last beep, boop and pixel.

Now that we've got RAM and memory to waste, videogame music especially is just ambient nonmusic, intended to set the scene, not be paid attention to, not be memorable; graphics are high-resolution, but low-concept.

Not that high-resolution zillions-of-colors 3D graphics can't be done well (Viva Pinata and Mario Galaxy automatically spring to my mind), not that arbitrary-number-of-simultaneous-tracks music can't be done well (FFIX is probably my favorite of all time and yeah, that was PS1, but for all intents and purposes they had no limitations on what they could do), it's just that very few games are graphically or aurally memorable nowadays; they all sorta look and sound the same. Technically impressive, but soulless.



Amen. I keep trying to tell my brother that 2D pixel art is better than 3D realistic looking games in terms of beauty, but of course I do realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what is art if to not imitate a photograph? 2D pixel art uses colors in very distinct and imaginative ways. You create a represent of life - not a recreation. Games like Chrono Trigger looked so good because you recognize things like trees and barrels and mundane things in a purely fantastical light, a light that makes you think and see the world differently. It's almost indescribable: I'd rather look at a pixelated barrel than a high quality 3D rendered one.


This, so much.  This is the reason most SNES games have aged so well, compared to the likes of, say, Ocarina of Time--which, while still an awesome game for many reasons, nevertheless looks like shit and anyone who says otherwise is hopelessly biased.

That said, I disagree with the notion that polygonal graphics are inherently inferior to good pixel art.  Just look at Zelda: ABLW. Despite the top-down perspective the whole thing is 3D-rendered and the game not only looks awesome, but successfully captures the spirit of the 2D original.


I actually prefer dated, mid-to-late-90s 3D graphics to modern ones. Morrowind is my favorite 3D-graphics PC game of all times in terms of looks. Comparably, I don't like Skyrim's look at all. It's not bad, it's just generic. To be fair, some of that is the setting -- Morrowind is this wonderfully unique primeval alien world, Skyrim is a generic high fantasy setting, but still.

Quest 64 is probably my favorite N64 game, graphically, and maybe my favorite from that era. So few polygons, but they used them so well.

I mean, I play something like Super Mario 64, and there's just this feeling of discovery and playfulness which is enhanced by the simplistic 3D graphics. It's the kind of thing that sticks with you long after you power off the console. Then take something like Mass Effect. The graphics are really nice, yeah, there's a lot of neat little details. You can spend some time just looking around and marveling at the technical detail. But somehow, it doesn't touch your soul.

I almost wanna say it's like the thing where, if you're objective and fair, you'll admit that X supermodel on Y magazine cover is technically better-looking than your significant other. But that hyper-perfect beauty, while you can say yeah, he/she's really pretty, somehow makes the model less attractive, if that makes sense. If you could snap your fingers and have your significant other look like that, you wouldn't do it; you actually prefer your objectively-less-attractive mate.

Graphics can be too good-looking, to where it detracts from the experience, rather than adding.

  • DaVince
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  • Used Sphere for, like, half my life
Re: So many ideas, so little talent.
Reply #16
I must say... Your post was overwhelming! There are some points I disagree with (like there are modern games that are a lot of fun and a lot of this is mostly stuff that is up to taste. I don't really care for Megaman personally, for example). I do agree that having limitations causes a person to be creative with the resources they have, however. But instating these limitations when making a modern game also works well (I think - I try to do this with my 8-bit stuff as much as I can at least). Or heck, look at how alive the homebrew scene for consoles like the C64 still are. People create some crazy things!

But thanks for all the clarification and some insight on your dreams. Perhaps you could look into building modern 8-bit consoles - there's a few things out there that actually do this, and even some stuff on the market that's based on these DIY 8-bit console things.

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Yeah, I'd love to work on a game with you. Tried Sir Boingers the other day and liked it, and of course I had a lot of ideas for where to go for a full-game version of Flippin' Matrix. When I first write up the master list of games, lemme know if any of the one-line descriptions (or even game titles) particularly catches your eye and I'll be sure to get to it sooner rather than later.

Sure thing!

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That'd be awesome not having to start up my own blog, having a subdomain on tengudev ^_^ How would that work, though? Would I give you html files and images and docs and stuff and you post them up, would I use Wordpress and just have a username/password for the subdomain and be able to upload things myself, or what?

The advantage of having your own (sub)domain is that you wouldn't have to send me HTML files or anything - you'd be uploading those yourself, using FTP (software that's much like a client-to-server file manager).
If you want Wordpress, though, I can also set that up for you. Or you can have both FTP and Wordpress at the same time. :) Still, I stand by my point of putting your design docs on a public or shared Google Drive; it just works well for documents. My host would then be for your website, blog, games...


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Another thing is the music. Go ahead, hum something from one of the 8/16 bit Megaman games, or Sonic games, or Zelda or Mario or Metroid games. Now hum something from Crysis 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Infamous, Skyrim, any recent blockbuster.

Hey, I love Skyrim's intro song, yeah? And also a lot of Morrowind's background music. And just listen to some of the tunes in Sonic Colours. On the other hand, I don't find Sonic 1 or Megaman's music that interesting. It's up to taste and nostalgia again, I suppose.