Lukas Z's Blog

The Graphics Don't Matter That Much

A few years ago many would get Raspberry Pi computers for 40 Euros or so and install emulation software on it that ran old games. NES, SNES, Sega Master System and so forth. I was one of them. It was pretty good. And so popular that Nintendo eventually released their own version of it.

The emulators have a nice feature that the old original game consoles in our childhood did not have. Quicksave and Restore. It means you can press a button to save the state of the game. And another to continue playing from that point. And it takes 0 seconds, because the hardware is so fast compared to the games it runs. Which means you can try a tricky opponent 20 times without losing a life. Save. Then die. Restore. Die. Restore. Die. Restore.. Then win.

It’s a very useful feature when you are actually an adult with responsibilities. There’s only so many free minutes each day. With quicksave and restore I was able to finish a game in a few hours (spread over a few days).

Here’s what I’ve learned about old games. First, they are still good. Second, they are challenging and sometimes completely unfair. Third, the graphics don’t matter that much.

For example, I’ve played “Ninja Gaiden” on NES. It had probably 8 different colors. No, probably 4. It’s so far removed from modern 3d games, let’s say Grand Theft Auto V, you can’t even compare them.

Or can you?

For me, both GTA and Ninja Gaiden are fun and the graphics only matter in the first few minutes. Give Ninja Gaiden some time and it will look good to you.

Our brain is a fantastic machine. It will create the experience for us based on what it has to work with. If New York City is rendered in 4 colors.. it’s still New York City and needs protection against evil.

When we read books, we have 0 colors. And it’s still enough to create worlds in our mind. It sucks you in.

Have you by any chance read the book “Ready Player One”? I did and it looked great to me before Spielberg made his film.

No, I am standing firm on this. We don’t need great graphics.

The question is if there is any disadvantage to having them.

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