Video Games Are Awesome

Let's just remember that.

The first game I ever played, at least as far as I can remember, was The Lion King on the Mega Drive. If you don’t remember it yourself, it was a two dimensional platformer featuring Simba and all of the other characters from the movies. I was very young, and I loved it because I loved The Lion King, but I don’t think I progressed very far through the game.

It was as hard as nails, I had to get my Dad to help with everything past the first level, but it was awesome and as fun as games should be. Video games can be many things – emotional, engaging, relatable, mind bending, thought provoking, smart or even dumb, but video games should always be a source of entertainment.

It’s a little like Quentin Tarantino’s movies. They’re often well-crafted pieces of work, and might win some prestigious awards, but they’re also a very good time to have; an escape from the real world. Movies aren’t always like that – sometimes they just remind you of atrocities the world has seen, and sometimes they’re purely made to win awards, but when it’s Tarantino, you know you’re entering a realm of enjoyment as you queue up for Djanglourious Fiction.

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And likewise, whether it’s The Last of Us or Super Mario, these video games will provide an instant real-life get out clause which rockets you into a different world. They’re little holidays, in which you’re pretending to be someone else for a short amount of time. There’s an amazing spectrum of flavours, colours and gameplay structures, with everything from deep adventures to one-touch flappers.

Video games are awesome, and I think we forget that at times.

The industry as a whole is far too concerned about how these playthings look at the moment, rather than what they achieve in terms of entertainment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re focusing on Titanfall having a worse pixel density than a game on a different console, and it’s this which elicits a reaction rather than how it’s shaking up the first person formula or how cool it is to run up a wall, jump on a huge mech’s back and take it down, there’s definitely something amiss.

While visual aspects should definitely have their place in our minds, it feels like we forget about the gameplay itself. A bad texture can be jarring, but a shoddy jumping system ruins a platformer, just as an unbalanced gun can take the excitement from an online shooter, but an odd looking ragdoll effect will only cause momentary pain for your glitch-averse eyes.

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I saw The LEGO Movie this week. I’m not talking about the game here, but the film itself, which provoked me to think of toys, games and other things created purely for entertainment, and how we should just try to enjoy them in that manner. Whether you’re engaging your imagination or leaving that up to the creators themselves, video games and certain forms of other media can truly provide a source of simple, escapist fun.

So I say that we should let these developers entertain you – even if their chosen system can’t squeeze out 4K resolution textures – after all, entertaining is all they’re really trying to do. Yes, if certain issues are genuinely detrimental to your enjoyment, then by all means complain, but ultimately look at what the package offers as a whole, and where the developer’s true focus lies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love reviewing games and analysing every aspect, including scrutinising the visuals, and I’ll continue to do just that, but sometimes I just like to have fun playing them too.

So grab your weapon, storm the gates, cross the platforms, solve the puzzle, unlock a door, kill an enemy, kill your friends, level up, sail the seas, explore the lands, complete a quest, score a goal, save the princess, defeat the boss, avenge Mufasa, cross the finish line.

Go be a hero, because that’s what games are for.

14 Comments

  1. This is why I defend indie games that go for pixel or other stylised graphics.
    Small budgets just can’t build a fun game with AAA-shooter-style graphics but if they set themselves up with deliberately limited visuals, they can concentrate on making a fun game.
    For me, ‘poor graphics’ refers more to a failure within the boundaries they have set themselves.
    Something like Duke Nukem Forever has poor graphics and something like Thomas Was Alone looks great.

    • Bang on.

      Nobody can say pixelart games have ‘poor graphics’ if that was the intended vision of the designer.

      • Still doesn’t mean I have to like them tho. Stupidpixelsgamesarestupid.

    • Bang on. Thomas Was Alone was beautiful. Also, I once said I don’t understand how they did it but GTA V is probably the best looking game out there, yet it doesn’t have the best graphics. It is sort of a paradox in my head. I know GTA V isn’t the best example because they have the money, unlike indies, but I hope I got my idea across.

  2. Right on the money there, totally awesome piece of writing! I have defiantly got to go see this Lego movie everyone is raving about it. It seems its effect on everyone is to leave them hovering a few feet off the ground feeling, well pretty awesome for quite some time! :)

    The only problem I have with this is its 15:10 and I got another hour or so at work and I really neeeeeeeed to go home and fire up the PlayStation!

    To the android device for some minor salvation!

    • Everything is awesome!

      • Haha.

      • I HATE YOU. Just got that out of me head.

      • That is now my favourite song to drown out my boss/annoying customers. Everything is awesome!

  3. I totally get your point with this article but I think the problem people are having regarding the resolution and frame rate issues of the xbone is that it’s a new generation and people were expecting it to be a given. Last gen was capable of 1080p 60fps and so is ps4 so people are questioning why xbone can’t do it. People have spent £400+ on their new console and see it as a little shocking that it isn’t capable of better than the last gen in terms of these factors, and I understand that viewpoint.
    Once people have had their new console of choice for a while and there are more games to play the comments should calm down and people should go back to just enjoying the games again. Well that’s what I hope anyway!

    • This, more or less my view, it seems that new gen consoles seem to taking longer to release the cold start choke than last gen.
      I remember the PS3 being a must have within the first few months of launch boasting a far better array of goods for sample, whereas this time around I don’t think that people are having an enhanced next gen experience to justify their big spend akin to the then seemingly over-priced PS3 at launch.
      The point being that there isn’t much out there currently to highlight next gens undoubted capability, so when last gen (or earlier) looking games are released on the new gen £400 console so soon into launch with the current dearth of titles it does grate somewhat, whether the games are very entertaining and have awesome gameplay or not!

      $0.02

  4. Bravo. The negativity in the gaming is one of the reasons I am taking a break from twitter. Moaning about games has become a bigger hobby than playing them.

  5. Good article. Graphics are a nice extra, but they should never be the main focus.

  6. Paws! Nice article, very sunny, happy, feel-good stuff and I agree, sometimes it’s more about having fun than worrying about pixels. Of course, it’s always nice to get both :)

    So, Lego Movie, worth seeing?

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