Graphics Vs. Gameplay

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Thesis: Gameplay and storyline are the two most consistent factors when defining a successful video game.


First I’d like to explain my thesis briefly so that it doesn’t seem as if I am simply dismissing every other aspect of a video game. The point of my thesis is to show that games with a rich and immersive storyline and comfortable controls are more important that a game is visually appealing with limited storyline and faulty control.





“In the early days of video gaming, graphics were seriously restricted by the weakness of the display hardware. The gameplay, as implemented by the programmers, was the source of most of the game’s appeal.”


“The public refused to accept games with bad gameplay, no matter how spectacular the graphics were.”


“What I am saying is that the pleasures of videogame play are not principally visual, but rather are kinaesthetic. In this way, the appearance of Lara or Vibri is not crucial to the primary-player during play.”


“Despite its primitive program and character designs and unsophisticated graphics, SF1 won the hearts of the players with an innovative control system (such as the use of separate keys for punching and kicking and the joystick for choosing direction, jumping or hiding) that later became the model for other two-dimensional combat games including the KOF and Samurai Spirit series.”


“Adding insult to injury, only a handful of video games that employ state-of-the-art graphics, such as Gears of War, have been successful.”



“Take Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast. If I'm informed correctly, I remember that it didn't shift many copies. Now maybe that was due to the Dreamcast's shaky situation, but maybe it was also due to the funky graphics, which may have scared off those who like realistic graphics better. If the Tony Hawk series had the graphics of Jet Set Radio, would it still have sold as well? I doubt it.”


“Consumers have come to only know and expect high-end graphics from next-generation video games.”


Outside Sources



“I’m going to blatantly begin by stating that gameplay is the most important element of a video game. It’s okay if you disagree with it, but I can prove it is like this in most cases.”



“However, there was a time when the best-selling games had only gameplay and no graphics.”



“Well Graphics are definitely more important because we all have bought a game simply because it looked like something you'd want to play you have to play a game to like its gameplay.”


“It is very much like women (or indeed men) when looked at from the perspective of someone you might like to date. We all know that fundamentally it is the personality that will be the ultimate decider on whether or not you want to see that person again, but it is the initial way that person presents themselves visually that will be what catches your attention. It is the same for video games.”


Preliminary Conclusion:

In researching this particular argument I was able to find numerous articles on the topic. What was difficult was finding very many scholarly sources to refute my thesis. The majority of sources seemed to dictate two things; one that gameplay was most important to video games, and two that video games must have a balance of graphics and gameplay in order to enjoy success. There were several cases I found which people felt graphics were more important (very few) mostly because games continue to utilize new technology.


Quotation Example:

Graphics in today’s gaming culture have caused many side effects on the gaming market. Prices of games have increased, and people are more critical of the elements which a game contains. The following statement exemplifies the idea that graphics do not ensure success among games, “Adding insult to injury, only a handful of video games that employ state-of-the-art graphics, such as Gears of War, have been successful” (Ramsay).

This article talked about the “blockbuster” type culture in video games in which advertisement for the newest and best has failed to deliver to its consumers.


Works Cited:

Gzz, Erick. “Graphics vs. Gameplay - The Eternal Battle.” 18 Nov. 2006 19 Jan. 2008.


Ng, Wai-ming Benjamin. “Street Fighter and the Kinf of Fighters in Hong Kong: A study

of Cultural Consumption and Localization of Japanese Games in an Asian Context.” The International

            Journal of Computer Game Research Vol. 6, Issue 1. (Dec. 2006)  19 Jan. 2008



Newman, James. “The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame.” The International Journal of

Computer Game Research Vol. 6, Issue 1. (Dec. 2006) 19 Jan. 2008.


Ramsay, Morgan. “Value Innovation for Video Games.” 15 August 2007. Heretic. 19

Jan. 2008


Adams, Ernest, and Andrew Rollings. Game Design. California: New Riders Games,



Strohm, Axel. “Is Gameplay Really All That Matters?” CNET Networks Entertainment.

Gamespot. 19 Jan. 2008.


“Graphics vs. Gameplay.” 18 Feb. 2005. play.forums.

19 Jan.2008.


“Graphics Matter.” 20 Mar. 2007. 19 Jan. 2008.



Brandon Gnesda said:

Sorry in advance for the Works Cited looking so unorganized no matter how I enter it thats how it comes out.

jonathon said:

very good article about graphics over gamesplay which is why the nintendo wii is out selling both the xbox360 and the PS3, gamesplay will always win over graphics.

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