Hello Lusi-fans! This week, I would like to talk about graphics and music. Long-time readers may remember that I have, in the past, gone on record as saying I do not think graphics or music are of great importance to a gaming experience. I have, however, grown quite a bit as a gamer during my time here at Lusipurr.com, and I realize now that I was somewhat misguided. While I still maintain the belief that gameplay is far and away the most important part of a video game, I have come to realize that for many games, the appearance and soundtrack are extremely important parts of presentation.
I feel now, as I did over a year ago, that graphics are not nearly as important as music when it comes to crafting a game, but graphics are something that need to be looked at when examining a game’s merits and faults. Yet what is it that makes graphics good? It is not purely technology, as many game which look excellent were made using technology that is by today’s standards extremely outdated. No, graphics are a far more complicated entity; art style is everything. A game like Bastion is not a technological wonder, but the game still looks wonderful. Likewise, Final Fantasy VI was made on a system that is vastly technically inferior to modern gaming consoles but manages to look phenomenal after almost twenty years. It seems, then, that graphics are more than simply a technical creation but also an artistic one. That said, of course, there are certainly games that blend technological advances in graphic modeling with wonderful art; I believe I would be hard-pressed to find a gamer that says Flower is not a visually stunning piece of work.
And now, I come to what may perhaps be the biggest mistake I have ever made during my time here at Lusipurr.com. I once said that music is not something I typically pay attention to in a game unless it is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, but lately I find that things have changed a bit. Forgettable music is a much worse offense to me now than it used to be; this is a product of my realization that many of my favorite games also have great music while many of the games I do not like had mediocre or flat-out bad soundtracks. While a good soundtrack still is not enough to redeem a game (Chrono Cross, for example), I am far more forgiving of a bad game with good music than I am of a bad game that also has bad music. I have also found myself listening to video game soundtracks more than I used to and remembering fond (and not so fond) times spent with these games. I have come to realize that a game’s soundtrack is an important part of a game’s presentation, perhaps even more than its story. Two perfect examples of this are the classic Mega Man and early Castlevania games. Both series have games with extremely minimalistic stories and phenomenal soundtracks. Even though the story of Mega Man 2 was barebones at best, the music still holds up more than twenty years later.
Well, readers, I hope this article has made my views on graphics and music a bit clearer. I am curious to know, though, Lusi-sprites: are there any cases of a mediocre or bad game that you found to be somewhat redeemed by graphics or music. Or, perhaps, are there otherwise good games that are kept from excellence by their lackluster appearance or audio? I know that in the latter case, I can certainly cite Magi-Nation as a case of a good game that is nearly ruined by its horrendous soundtrack. But what of your experiences with this trend, readers? Let me know what you think in the comments!