We’re just a few weeks out from Black Friday and there’s always a ton of different things that go on sale and people will flood stores in droves to try and purchase. But for most of us, the most notable stuff is in the electronics department and what’s the biggest catch of them all? That’s right, blenders and microwaves! …Oh! And then there’s televisions too.
For me however, it’s a tough sell. Literally. I’ve got a 55″ 1080p TV and I’m still pretty happy with it. But everyone seems to be wanting to make the jump to 4K and Black Friday appears to be the day a lot of people will finally make that switch. Me? I’m not so sure I’m interested in making the same jump.
I mean, my folks have a 4K TV now. Does it look better than what my 1080p TV has to offer? Yes, but I gotta tell you, I don’t feel it’s such a drastic change in image quality that it completely shoots 1080p out of the water. It’s the 60 frames per second that’s the real sell, which I admit is taking quite the long time for my eyes to adjust to. On that front as well, it’s hard to convince myself to buy a 4K TV that can do 60 frames per second when I don’t own anything that would make use of said 60 fps. My PS4 is the default model and I don’t plan on suddenly buying a PS4 Pro anytime soon, I can’t justify that cost without a nice big pay raise or y’know, the dream lottery winnings which will TOTALLY happen to me someday…
But most of all, the technology just isn’t where I want it to be yet so that you can get a decent-sized 4K TV for a good price. Sure I can get a 43″ 4K TV for $550, but it’s a shitty store-brand and not a brand I would trust. Not only that, but like I said, my current TV is 55″, I’m not paying $500+ to downgrade size for a slight bump in visual quality. In order to match the size of my current television, it’d cost me over $600 for the cheap brand and for a brand that I trust, the cheapest one goes for over $1000. There are ones on sale for less than that, but still, that’s a lot of money for the average person out there.
So for me, it makes zero sense to make the transition, despite how many times we’re told as consumers to make the jump, that 4K is the next big thing. Honestly, unless I literally have to make the switch, as in say the next PlayStation console requires 4K (which would be stupid), I have no reason whatsoever to make the switch until the price matches where I stand as it comes to getting the bang for my buck. Now Amazon is starting to make strides in producing cheaper 4K TVs, but we’re still a few years out I think before I have any sort of itch to go that route.
So on Black Friday, unless a 55″ 4K TV goes for $250, which you know it won’t, I’m not interested. And I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have the income to easily purchase a 4K TV should either, wait till the price goes further down, it’s not that big a deal.
At some point, folks…we’re gonna have to stop caring about how beautiful a game looks.
Seriously, we’re at a point now where games look damn good. No longer are we in the age of 8-bit, no longer are we in the age of pixelated 3D garbage, we are now in an age of graphic quality that is more than acceptable. Almost every major game coming out nowadays looks fantastic, there’s very few occasions where a Triple-A game comes out looking like a giant pile of shit.
So I think it’s about time that we stopped as gamers and fans, as well as game developers, worrying so much about how beautiful our game looks in 1080p or 4K, which I really don’t give a flying fuck about right now, 4K’s not cheap enough to justify it in terms of console gaming just yet. The cheapest 4K TV right now is $600 in Canada and that’s a 40″ TV. Until that price drops under $500, I don’t see why there’s a huge rush in terms of the gaming fanbase to push for 4K gaming, how many of us can actually afford that, especially when for half the price you can get 1080p, which is just fine!
This screenshot was taken of the JRPG game Trails of Cold Steel II and this is also the PS Vita version (I play on a PS TV). I don’t know about you guys, but for a game that’s not even on the current console generation (released on PS Vita/PS3), it looks pretty damn good! Granted, the anime art style enhances that a little bit and lets the game get away with a little more, but then again, did Call of Duty 4 look terrible on Xbox 360? Did Mass Effect look bad on PS3? No! And they still don’t now!
The problem is that we’re currently in a generation where people will immediately reference the highest graphical quality game they’ve seen as the only acceptable standard now, whereas the reality is that games that are 5 years old are still more than acceptable today. We’re also allowing PC gamers to influence the overall opinions of graphical fidelity a little too much.
Take John “TotalBiscuit” Bain for example. I’m a huge fan of his work on YouTube, but if there’s one thing I get a little bothered by, it’s when he goes through a game and talks about what I perceive as minor things like close-up texture quality and things like that. Framerate, I’m behind him on 100%, but for the smaller things, they don’t bother me as much and I think that honestly the expectation that every single object in the game should look like the real thing, have zero blurry textures in the entire game, all that jazz…they’re way too fucking high. You are more than welcome to call a developer out when they’ve clearly half-assed their character models and haven’t optimized things properly, but something as miniscule as being right next to a brick wall and you can’t see every single tiny chunk that’s eroded over 100 years, that might be a tad bit much.
I think it’s about time that we pull everyone aside and have a bit meeting and simply say that it’s time for us to focus on the gameplay again rather than focusing on how good our game looks in a screenshot. How many games in the current generation have come out and we’re praised before its release for being a gorgeous looking game, but then got poor reviews cause the actual game was boring, garbage, all that jazz? Think games like The Order: 1886, Knack, The Crew, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dead Rising 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division and the recently released No Man’s Sky and ReCore. They were all pretty looking games, yet had little to no substance game-wise, maybe they came out a broken mess, there’s a lot of things with these games that happened to cause it to be a poorly reviewed game, but before the game came out, everyone was talking all day long about how beautiful the game looked.
And that’s the key here, at the end of the day, a video game is a game. The focus should be on the game, or the gameplay, not about wowing audiences at E3 with pretty landscapes, horizons, all that shit. Sure, it does look fantastic, but haven’t we learned over these past few years that a lot of the best games haven’t been award-winning in terms of graphics? Shovel Knight, Overwatch, Bloodborne and of course the various Nintendo games that have never been known for having the best graphics, they were all solid GAMES. Granted there are games like Uncharted 4 and Metal Gear Solid V that look incredible graphic-wise, but more of these stunningly beautiful games end up falling into the “It’s all right.” category more often than Game of the Year levels of quality.
Too many games come out these days lacking a core part of what makes a video game so interesting. In the search for obtaining the title of “Best Looking Game at E3”, so many games end up being released a broken mess, missing an engaging and interesting story with interesting and diverse characters, they’re missing core gameplay mechanics, the music is terrible and so much more. I’m so sick and tired of games coming out and not being all that fun, but they look really good guys! Isn’t that amazing?!
So for the love of god, folks…relax a little bit on the graphic quality stuff. We have reached a more than acceptable point in technology that we can easily pump out games that look pretty damn good. So let’s stop focusing on new graphic engines and start going back to our roots, making good fucking games!
And I think it’s about time we go back and look at the Super Nintendo once again, specifically a game like Final Fantasy VI.
Over two decades old and it still looks pretty damn good, doesn’t it? If 20+ year old games can still look pretty good, maybe we can still find ways in the present day to make games that aren’t just good-looking in the present day, but will be good looking years from now.