Story Vs. Gameplay and Do Graphics Really Matter?
I was watching Felicia Day’s newest episode of Co-Optitude the other day, in which she plays a retro game with her brother. This week the game was Goof Troop on the SNES. I never played this, since I didn’t own a home console until the Gamecube, so I only had access through friends when I would play games with them. If I had an SNES I might not have played this game anyway. It was definitely enjoyable to watch and got me thinking of games around this era that I did play, like Mario, Golden Axe and Sonic.
Those games are so much fun, and provided hours of entertainment. They were all about the gameplay; the story didn’t matter. I feel that many have forgotten that fact. The graphics were good at the time, but when you look at them today, they still have plenty of charm. Back then, no one cared. No one was talking about the graphics; just how much fun the game was.
Now, I love a great story too, which is why RPG’s and JRPG’s are my favorite genres, along with games like Ace Attorney, Professor Layton and adventure games. Ghost Trick is a great example of a game with fantastic gameplay combined with a remarkable story. I love that game dearly. Despite it being a DS game, I thought the graphics were great too.
Ever since the N64 and PS1 arrived, people were starting to push for graphics. Then in the past 10 years, people seemed to ONLY want graphics, as if it were the most important aspect of a game. We’ve seen what that has given us; mediocre but pretty games being released. It’s not hard to find quality games, but there are a lot of mediocre and bad games being published. I also note that games are far easier these days as graphics have improved. Games like the early Zelda titles and Battletoads are frustratingly difficult. I challenge you to find a recent non-indie game as difficult as games from the NES era.
I think we’ve come to expect games to not appear “ugly” these days, thanks to technology, but I don’t believe it needs to be the main focus. Story is nice if one can integrate it, but not all games require one and I love them just the same. Gameplay reigns supreme. If a story is incorporated and it happens to be weak, but the game is pleasurable to play, you can often forget the story. If a game has an amazing story but awful gameplay, you might as well go read a book. That’s not negative to books, I’m a lifelong reader, but without good gameplay and controls, a game will feel like a chore instead of being enjoyable.
So what is your opinion? Can you play a game with horrible gameplay just for the story if it happens to grab you? Or would you put it aside for a game with great gameplay and a bad or non-existent story?
For me, if I’m playing a game, I have to enjoy it. And I have set aside games with bad gameplay (in my opinion) because I just couldn’t enjoy it, despite liking characters or wanting to know the story. But I’ve never set aside games with great gameplay and no story. I read for the stories; I play for the fun it gives. Graphics I can take or leave; I’ll “ooh” and “aah” over beautiful graphics, but am perfectly willing to play old classics.