What is up internet? Are you doing well? I’m doing well. I’ve had a busy weekend playing two very different games that I love. I’ve been rocking Minecraft, playing on Spumwackles fan server, where I’m building a massive mall for the server residents to utilize. When I’m not stacking blocks, I’m on my PS3 playing Skyrim. Yes, I’ve played it before, but that was before all the DLC and it was on PC. I picked up the legendary edition a few days back and I love it. It feels good to be Dragonborn again.
So playing these two games back to back has got me thinking about a post I put up a long time ago that’s since been deleted and I wanted to touch on its subject matter again for anyone who wasn’t around back in the day, which I think was a Tuesday. I’m talking specifically about graphics vs. gameplay.
The reason this is an issue to me is because we have a very serious divide of gamers who would consider games with dated looking graphics as unworthy when the sales numbers prove otherwise. I work with an individual who believes this and refuses to play older games. He certainly wouldn’t waste time on Minecraft. Couple this with the number of comments I see on a regular basis calling Minecraft players children and I feel I need to say something.
Graphics do not make a good game!
Remember all the hype about Grand Theft Auto V earning over a billion dollars for Rockstar? A quick Google search and a little math will reveal an interesting statistic. Tetris has over 135 million copies between Gameboy and mobile platforms. That number is staggering. Wii Sports has sold over 82 million, which I believe is due to the overwhelming popularity of the Wii it was bundled with. Minecraft has sold over 64 million including the mobile version. Do you know how many copies of GTAV have sold? 45 million (small in comparison, but still huge). That means GTAV, a game with amazing detail and graphics, has so far been outshined by two games that focus on blocks! No story. No amazing graphics. Just blocks. (And Wii Sports, whose game play was a fad at the time. Looking at you motion controls. )
That’s not to say that GTAV suffers from its amazing graphics. The gameplay is equally good which is why it’s sold so many copies. For those of you thinking that the buyers of these games are children, I’ll take this moment to remind you that GTAV is rated M and the average gamer age is 30. So what gives? Where do graphics fit into all of this? The short answer is that they really don’t. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a game is in the grand scheme of things. Go ahead and take a look at a list of best-selling games and you’ll find a solid mix of games on both ends of the graphics spectrum. The thing they all have in common is good gameplay. They are games that were fun to play. You may not like all of them, but there are enough people out there who did. That’s how they ended up on the list.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and I agree. I’m guilty of passing games over based on their graphics as well. When Windwaker came out, I skipped it for a long time because of the cell shaded style. When I finally did play it, I fell completely in love with it. It’s one of my favorite Zelda titles for sure. These days, I’m more open to new games. That mentality is what led me to Minecraft in the first place. I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but the gameplay sold me completely.
Now I’m not one to tell you how to game. By all means, play what you like. I just hope that when you see someone playing a game you wouldn’t play because you think it’s a kid’s game, or that the graphics suck, or that it’s a fad… Maybe take a minute to try and understand what drew them to that game in the first place. Don’t be judgmental of others because they like something different than you.
One final thing before I go, a short story of sorts. When I was in high school, Pokémon Red and Blue were still new. Of course, I played at school. I’d get a lot of crap for it, but I didn’t care what other people thought of me (never have, really). There was this one guy named Joe. He was an athlete, on all the school teams, as far away from a nerd as a guy can get really. Joe always took the time to come check out what I was doing. He’d ask questions about Pokémon and I’d let him try the game out. I’d explain the weakness chart and how to battle friends. He never criticized me for it. Not once. He didn’t become a gamer, but the fact that he took an interest in something outside of his comfort zone always resonated with me. Later in life, I remembered Joe’s inquisitive nature and I started asking question more often. I learned so much about politics, guns, physics, religion, and more, all because I didn’t make negative predeterminations.
Maybe we should all be like Joe.