The industry and the market are bewitched by the idea of more pixels and polys. Higher visual quality is fair enough, but why is it equated with better stabs at photo-realism? What’s the point of aesthetics at all? If they don’t matter, how come E3 can sucker-smack a “wow” or two out of so many gamers each year? Why, after gushing over how good stuff looks, do we hypocritically trot out that almost apologetic load of bollocks about gameplay moments later?
I’m guilty of it. I think it’s time that particular conversational old dog was taken out back and shot. By no means am I suggesting that aesthetics are the very substance of games, but obviously, “it” is not all about gameplay. I suspect even the most fanatical ludologists have been watching tech demos with the curtains drawn.
We may not know a great deal about what they are or exactly what they do, but aesthetics are clearly important to us. As a phenomenon, aesthetics have manifested in every culture and sub-culture throughout history, and furthermore survived the demise of each. From food through to music and architecture, all of our possessions and many of our experiences are purposely shaped by designers for aesthetic as well as functional purposes. Aesthetics pervade all media, and games are no exception. —David Hayward —Videogame Aesthetics: The Future!
Also check out the discussion on Slashdot.
I say we need photo-realistic text adventures.