Graphics Can’t Compare to the Power of Writing


Writing is everywhere; every job, hobby, school assignment and business venture involves some modicum of it. Writing in games, in particular, has a very interesting history. In the early days, game limitations expected the user to have some sort of imaginative ability. In the times of old home consoles and such, your creativity played a main role in your gameplay. I’m looking at you, Adventure.

adventure Gaming graphics writing

Looking back on some of the most loved games, you could argue that writing wasn’t a huge factor. Super Mario Bros. had next to no writing, and Zelda was never huge on it until recently. But look at standout titles nowadays: Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and The Last of Us, for goodness’ sake! These games bring out three major emotions with their writing; GTA always makes you laugh, Max Payne was a mentally taxing experience, and must I even talk of the tear jerking moments in The Last of Us? One thing that has been a constant lately is that almost all major games present stories – every game from the yearly, mandatory Call of Duty titles, all the way up to the now 20-year saga of absolute craziness that is Metal Gear.

On the other hand, graphics have always been a major selling point in gaming, growing in importance alongside writing. The concept goes all the way back to the bit wars that traveled from 8 bit to 16, to 32, and even 64. Then came polygons and full motion video. Once HD resolution and 3D gaming was achieved, literally anything was graphically possible. Games then began deciding which they could sell, a pretty world or engrossing narrative.

The biggest examples of the conflict between graphics and writing that come to mind are Quantic Dreams’s Heavy Rain and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. When the community was absolutely drooling over new consoles a little over a year ago, David Cage of Quantic Dream presented at the PlayStation Meeting in 2013. During this, he stated, “Technology is what we rely on in order to get the player emotionally involved.” He then showed off a tech demo displaying just how he could do that, using an old man’s beautiful eyes to relay a plethora of emotions.

Gaming graphics writing E3 presentation cage old man

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  • mr white

    The walking dead one of the best games ever

  • twinspectre

    @K.C. Milota you’re in the wrong side , Gaming shouldn’t be Movies (with script)
    a game should focus on Gameplay , Gameplay is the main reason
    if you think that Writing is important than it means you know nothing about Games and Gaming

    you’re one of the people that are killing the real meaning of GAMING (Playing) and not Gaming is not Entertainment (Tv shows , Movies , Cartoons , Sit Com)

    if you play a game for the story then i’m sorry , but you’re confused

    i saw that you loved the Last of US , now tell me
    why the Last of Us was so emotional? it has be done millions time on movies (especially Zombie Apocalypse)
    the Last of Us is nothing new in term of Gameplay and Story
    you guys judge a game only because the Hype

    • Alotuz

      @twinspectre, I can’t tell if intentional troll or being serious but I figured some kind of reasonable post has to counterbalance this.

      Story/Writing is one of the many artistic elements that Video Games bring to the table. I’m a big fan of gameplay when it comes to games, but I’m not naive enough to think that writing is obsolete. Games like Kingdom Hearts, Fallout 3, and Metroid would not feel as immersive as they do if they weren’t a hint of story in it. Even games that are less gameplay and more storyline driven like The Walking Dead are proven to be a huge success as evidenced by it’s game of the year award. Video Games are as cool as they are because they have the potential to be gameplay driven, storyline driven or even both. At the end of the day, they’re both games that people love playing and it’s ultimately up to the gamer to decide what they appreciate more. Video Games accommodate for all kinds of gamers; it’s one of the many charming qualities about them!

      In regards to the Last of Us, it received its well deserved hype not for its unique story or concept (as you mentioned, it’s been done before), but for it’s impeccable execution. Aside from its visually obvious gorgeous graphics, it’s seemingly genuine voice-acting and realistic character design made you feel a direct attachment to them. You’re vicariously experiencing their troubles and difficulties not as an observer – as a book would do it- but as a player. A good storyline motivates you to finish playing what you started. A fantastic storyline won’t let you finish the game in more than one sitting. I only hope that you can see that the universe VG developers present before you in video game is a direct result of art(including writing) and gameplay. :)