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Gameplay more important than graphics

Core of all gaming most important in classics to new releases

Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07

This blog will be updated every Thursday to bring readers a new piece on a hot-button issue spanning from things to buy, things not to buy and, things not to buy yet to computer culture, game reviews and previews.

Gameplay will always be more important than graphics. I feel this understanding is being lost among new gamers and young gamers. Be mindful of this opinion throughout the following game mentions, reviews and previews.

September is going to be a busy month for video gaming with big releases like Resistance 3 and Dead Island — which are both already out — Gears of War 3, Dead Island and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.

Many big remakes like God of War Origins Collection, Star Fox 64 3D and The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection (one of gaming's best hidden gems) will be sprinkled throughout this month as well. I will review some of these games in later posts, but not all of them… I don't have enough money to buy every single game and review it. I'm still in school. So no, I can't rent them and play them while I have to study and read.  (Yeah — I read your mind.)

Movie viewers can be wowed by stunning graphics and effects. Viewers can just turn their brains off while ignoring if the movie is actually telling a good story, has good acting, or even if it makes sense. I don't agree with people that do that.

Video games require active engagement. Games constantly change within the millions of pixels, polygons on screen. There are games where the art direction makes the game and is centered around it. But even then, a game without good game play is like a beautiful Ferrari with a worn down, busted engine — worthless.

For example, 007 Golden Eye for the Nintendo 64 is a classic. Not because it pushed gaming forward in the graphics department, but because at its core, it was and still is a great game. I know most people will say it's because of the nostalgia factor, but let's look at a more modern example.

No More Heroesand No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggleas you can see will not be winning any best graphics award, but both have critical acclaim even in a time were pushing polygons seems to be the only thing on people's minds.

A great game can blend excellent game play and stunning visuals. You get games like the Uncharted and God of War series (which are almost universally accepted as good) and Super Mario Galaxy where a high quality game play is further enhanced by good graphics.

I sound like I am advocating for graphics now, but I'm simply acknowledging the importance of good style. The issue I have starts when gamers try to go backwards saying, "It's okay to have the best graphics and a horrible game." There are people out there who believe this is ok and I am sure "that guy" is reading this ready to troll all over my thoughts.

Graphics only slightly — and I mean slightly — improve a games quality.  Here's a list: Army of 2,Bayonetta, Stars Wars: The Forced Unleashed, Dante's Inferno, and the new Madden. Yes, I said Madden NFL. It's the same game as last year, only it's running on the same engine (expect some names are different). I don't care how many weekend or casual gamers buy the aforementioned games, they all suck in my opinion.

In the gaming world, games that are overshadowed by big time releases or never received the media coverage they deserved, turned out to be AAA quality games. These are the games that are referred to as "Hidden Gems." These are the games that are usually the best games and eventually come to light years after their original release date. What I find interesting is that despite being called gems, do they ever push the envelope graphically? No.

To me that proves no matter what happens in gaming, no matter how big Call of Duty becomes, no matter how stunning or gorgeous games will be in the future and no matter how many scrubs you have to play through online, the game play — the core of all gaming — will not be lost in this world that wants to get as close to photo realism as possible.

Look forward in my future blog posts to my game reviews. As for now, I need to go play some Pac-Man.

O'Dell Harmon is a senior ag communication & journalism major, but don't let the agriculture in his major name fool you as he is an avid gamer who knows the ins and outs of all things electronic.

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