No, I am not writing to criticize Call of Duty, not this time. I apologize in advance if I disappointed you. This is most likely going to be a two part article. This first portion is going to be a bit more "specific" in terms of discussion, whereas the next part (to be published sometime soon after this one) will speak in a more broad sense. As consoles get more powerful games are rendered in incredibly high quality. However, does a higher quality viewing experience create harmful side effects on the game? Does it create restrictions in terms of a better story or gameplay? The answer, I would have thought, would be very simple, but as it turns out, nothing in my world is simple, as I spoke to a few friends, colleagues, and older generation gamers, and quite a few of them believed that graphics alone was the sole factor in whether or not a video game is good. Let's hop in a little bit more and explore this ideology a bit more. I am most likely going to take some fire for this article. What appears to be a simple cookie-cutter answer is apparently a little bit more complex than what I had anticipated. I had a rather narrow testing sample, but the types of people I spoke to were more broad. I had the intense grass root gamers and then on the other end I had the casual type players. The surprising aspect that I had discovered was that a majority of them thought that good visuals on a game was the sole factor in whether or not the game was good for them. Naturally, I am a bit perplexed at this. One of the subjects claimed that a game like Super Mario Galaxy was "trash" because of the fact that the game was only rendered in 480p. As we know, the game received critical acclaim and accolades from media reviewers everywhere. It seems very ignorant. As another example, one of my subjects claimed that Final Fantasy XIII, considered by many to be one of the dullest Square Enix adventures to date, was considered like the Holy Grail, because of its marvelous visuals. Personally, I disliked the game. I was critical of its linear and limited gameplay. Others praised it. I do not see why. In regards to my questions, I should have received a clear answer, the expected answer. The one that dictates that graphics should not define a game. Yet, I received the opposite. I want to know why. I fail to understand the rationale in how "poor" graphics made Super Mario Galaxy a poor game. I was browsing an article on Siliconera. This particular article claimed that the new Pokemon X and Pokemon Y adventures, scheduled for release next week, were a huge graphical improvement over previous generations which affected gameplay in a positive way. This is the normal and expected answer, but the article also established that the graphics were not the only factors that affected gameplay; it was the modification of old mechanics and the introduction of newer ones that brought about such fantastic review experiences. When I conducted that small survey on my university campus, I received almost the opposite, as I had a good amount of people saying that graphics were the only thing that made an adventure good. I countered back with popular games that were released several years ago, with scores and data to back up my argument, but these subjects did not budge in their responses. It is indeed possible that I got a bad batch of study subjects here. I am still trying to understand why they thought in this way. A test pool of about fifty is not really enough to obtain conclusive results. I want to look for the definitive or "reasonable" answer though. In the meantime, let's go back and explore the other question I brought up: whether a game's increasingly good graphics made for a defining experience. The answer varies. It is subjective to certain criteria. Game graphics are not the sole factor in whether or not a game is going to be "good." Other factors involve gameplay complexity, depth, story complexity, clever mechanics usage; there are a lot more that I am sure you can pick up on. Could it also be that game developers are spending too much time sharpening the visual experience and making their games less complex? This is definitely a problem as of late. I mentioned similar observations in my previous article here. As a quick refresher, this was the article about gaming getting easier. A visible trend in the gaming industry is that indeed, gaming is becoming more of a cinematic experience. The work is being done for us instead of making us rack our brains a bit. There are too many instances of hand holding and quick time sequences that it drives me mad at times. I have not picked up a console game and thoroughly completed it in years. I find that games as of late are focusing too much on looking cinematic rather than focusing on making more complex gameplay. I find that the gameplay matters much more than a visual experience. For anyone that remembers Capcom's Onimusha franchise, they remember slightly older graphics, which countered back with an incredibly fast-paced, complex action experience. It is a bit of a shame that this franchise has died off. These are the kinds of games I want to see more of. I would happily throw off impressive graphics if it meant I would be getting a better user experience. I'm starting to get a bit wordy here, so I am going to close this article off. In general, when we look at games, graphics should not be the sole factor in whether or not a game will be good. It should be better to say that a game is "good" if the gameplay is brought to an acceptable and "complex enough" level and whether or not certain subjective criteria have been filled to make for a definitive experience. Take the new Pokemon games. They have mixed up the formula enough for early reviewers to say that this instance is a definitely good experience, a fresher one that has not been seen since the second generation. As far as what I have brought to the table, do you guys as a community agree with some of the points brought up? Do you think that graphics are the only deciding factor? Or are there other factors? Do you also find visually impressive gaming to have adverse side effects on the quality of gameplay? Chime off below, I look forward to seeing these responses.