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In which generation would you set the "graphical limit" to foster creativity?

In which generation would you set the "graphical limit" to foster creativity?  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. In which generation would you set the "graphical limit" to foster creativity?

    • 8 bit was enough, colors ruined everything
      2
    • 16 bit is more than enough (Doom for PC included!)
      9
    • 32/64 bit, please. We need textured 3D so we can have Silent Hills and Ocarinas
      2
    • PS2 era all the way. Shenmue and Shadow and the Colossus still impress me
      2


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As someone who has never even played any game released after 2006 and who has mostly played 8-bit and 16-bit computer games for the last 10 years, it was very interesting to see how a guy is doing a Castlevania: Symphony of the Night remake for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (that sadly changes the gameplay to make it linear, so it's a new game, but that's another topic).

 

I always say that PS2 era graphics are more than enough for me and even consider then necessary (some great games released between 1995 and 2005 would have not been possible wihout textured 3D graphics), but at the same time I feel that realism has damaged creativity in game designers and "mandatory" 3D has complicated controls and removed precision.

 

I think it all started going downhill when Nintendo released 3D games that controlled and looked worse than their 2D versions, and when games that try to be movies, like Heavy Rain, were released a few years later.

 

Since this is a retro subforum in a retro forum, I wonder in which generation would each of you set the "graphical limit" (if you could magically do that with the press of a button, Dr. Doom style)?

 

I've always been a big fan of PS1/Saturn/N64, but maybe I would press the "16 bit" button*...

 

*Imagine "16 bit" includes Doom for PC

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I like the topic and am looking forward to the responses.  To me, though, I would say I don't wanna set a limit, as I love how far gaming has come vs. where it started.  For reference I'm in my mid 40s and vividly remember playing my uncle's Pong unit as a kiddo and being blown away that it had on screen scoring, so I have been through the ups and downs, haha.  For example, I see a game like "What Remains of Edith Finch", which I think is one of the best games of the last decade, and it just wouldn't have been possible on a ps2/N64.  That immersion, the realism, gave it a narrative power when it BROKE the realism.  Wouldn't be possible with lesser graphic capabilities, IMHO.  I am less impressed by the brown and grey cover shooter mechanics of many (but certainly not all) modern games, but I'd say we had the same issues back in the day with sci fi themed shootemups as well.

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I can't follow the polling... 8 bit color is a thing... as is 24 bit color

Edited by _The Doctor__

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How is Doom 16bit? It literally needed very fast 32bit processors hahah.

Where is the option for none? I don't have a limit (why would I?). I can appreciate NES games just as much as I play the newest stuff.

Edited by turboxray
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Graphics don't define a good game, the talent of the game's designers and coders does. I've seen awesome games on graphically-limited machines, just like I've seen games with gorgeous graphics that turned out to be disappointing duds.

 

To me, choosing between 8-bit, 16-bit or 32-bit graphics is just a question of preference, in terms of the target audience. If you want to attract the attention of old-timers and retrogamers, you go 8-bit. For the slightly younger crowd, 16-bit can be a good choice. 32-bit is for people who find 8-bit and 16-bit to be too "old" for their taste.

 

For the rest, as I said, it's just a question of talent, and also dedication to quality and project completion. 

 

But anyway, to answer your question more specifically, I'd press the "8-bit" button, but as a ColecoVision homebrew publisher, that kinda goes without saying.  ;) 

 

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It's a though question. Each generation and even each graphic chip (or lack thereof) brought creativity to pull the most out of what people had.

And it's forgetting that for each creavitely designed Mario and his mustage, there were hundred of games where the graphics designer just made no mouth to the characters.

Silent Hill had the fog, Resident evil had fixed-angle cameras.

Without the limits of the NES, no mustache for Mario, but no Silent Hill either.

Current gen still have graphic limits too, they just get better and better to hide it.

But for me there isn't any hard answer to that question. Creativity is not just a question of media.

Georges Méliès created most of the know practical effects still in use today in cinema, almost immediately. 

The power of today's machines allow us to have more complex and immersive games than what we would ever dream of in 1990.

Point'n'click games arrived with the improvement of computers, not limitations.

Sim games require lots of data and save space which would be barely feasible before the 16 bits era. (barely. I'm aware that there are sim games way before that. But would you play any of them save for curiosity's sake?).

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I think business constraints are more impactful to creativity than technological ones.  As much as I love 8 and 16 bit games, and you can still do incredible and creative things with them, it's hard to say there is any such cap.  There are aspects of modern technology (Steam distribution, Unity, etc) that do facilitate creativity.  I think you see a lot of this expressed with indie games.  AAA games have too much business pressure to take many risks, and while it's always been there to a degree, it gets tougher and tougher over the years as more money is at stake.

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I find it interesting of that era you choose the PS2 as the limit. The worst looking out of the 4. With the most jags and worst image quality.

Edited by Leeroy ST

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Standard VGA is where it's at: 256 colors in 320x200; that's all you ever need.

Edited by DeathAdderSF
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I have no idea if i'm interpreting this thread correctly..    I was never able to get into Atari games all that much, and then it happened with NES, and now slowly 16 bit games are starting to lose their luster to me.    I'm now heavily into the years that I don't have any nostalgia for (yet i'm feeling nostalgic anyway..  mostly 32/64 bit gen).  

 

 

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I find it an interesting question, I think it has two elements to it, the first is the obvious - graphical and practical limitations. I think I'm pretty openly anti-N64 on this forum, I think its a mess of a console, almost all the games look ugly, but its not just that a lot of their games is really basic too - Jaguar level. I say this in praise of the Jaguar of being able to achieve nearly the same capabilities of the N64 earlier.

 

Which leads to the second element: How much emersion and world building can you create when you aren't focused entirely on graphics and ultimately sound? While I'm stretching the focus a little, I believe that games of the PS1 era for example - while some games did have voiceovers they were generally terrible. Those that didn't had a massive amount of space to play with compared to previous generations, and not all of it went to graphics (or if it did, it went to variance, rather than detail). One of my favourite eras for JRPGs which is my nostalgic genre of choice is the PS1, almost none of them have voiceovers, there was a lot more focus on interesting character development and world building that couldn't be done simply by slapping more graphical capabilities in the game. Having said that, each era has its "standout" games that go beyond. Phantasy Star of the 8 bit era, Chrono Trigger of the 16 bit, games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 of the PS2. Making graphics work for you, and making gameplay have value is a big part of what makes a game iconic for its period - it also tends to be that these games have milked the console of choice of all its graphical capabilities and done something special with that system to get the most of what was available.

 

I'm hard stretched to pick one of the options, I think there is beautiful PS2 games (and dreamcast and X Box didn't do terrible either) and dare I say, even one or two Gamecube games that look ok - but my nostalgia draws me down a notch to the PS1/Saturn period and I think it really is a nostalgia based answer - its a time where I had disposable income and buying things myself - really soaking in the complexity of story that games give. The introduction of 3D of this period was not total eradication of the 2D before - quite the opposite it relied on saving processing by relying on 2D whenever possible. Imagination was still important and the ability to develop elements around graphics was still important to make a "good" game.

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8- and 16-bit is where it's at for me, with a slight edge for 8-bit.  

 

I find I just connect the best with games where things are walk-up-and-play friendly and don't necessarily need to make any damn sense.  This is where the creativity comes in on the part of the designers - games like Zoo Keeper, Bubbles, Pengo, Frostbite, and countless others where the "premise" makes pretty much zero sense but that doesn't matter.  It's all about devising some "rules" and "play mechanics" first and foremost, then coming up with some (almost arbitrary) "theme" to wrap around it.  I mean, Zoo Keeper could have been re-skinned any number of ways that would make just as much (possibly more) sense but they settled on a guy that looks vaguely like Mario running around a rectangle (for some reason) trying to trap animals.  And damn is it a blast to play, even though I have no childhood nostalgia for it (never even played it until my late 30s).  

 

Of course, this sort of creative whimsy can be used to design games on modern gaming platforms as well, but for me they often don't have that magical "organic" feel that comes with the final game design being a direct result of technical limits and the artful management thereof.  Lots of "indie retro" type games are OK fun, but for me, they usually translate as hollow simulacra of classic-style games, especially when burdened and bloated up with tedious flow-killing modern flourishes like "star ratings" and "tokens" when clearing levels.  

 

The emergence of more advanced hardware had the inevitable effect of creating more demand for realism.  Realism can be cool but it's a double-edged sword.  Sure, you get some cool life-like fantasy experiences on tap, but now you're constrained by having to make some kind of sense.  I guess "stories" in games are popular but I never gave a flying shit, to be honest.  Not once, ever.  I just want a fun videogame with the right combo of challenge and immediacy.  

 

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