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Realism vs. Style: the Zelda Debate

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the cell-vs.-polygon dept.

Nintendo 441

Bonnie Ruberg is a staff writer for Planet GameCube and Gaming Age, a freelance games journalist, and the author of Heroine Sheik, a blog dedicated to investigating sexuality in gaming cultures. Today, we have the pleasure of running a piece she's written for the site about a topic that's been brought up more than once in the comments here on Slashdot. "For Zelda fans, this is a time of anticipation. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is officially on its way, and everybody is talking. By now, we've all seen the pre-release screenshots and videos. Nintendo has made some major changes with the series' latest installment, and the gaming world has let out a unanimous gasp at the results." Read on for the rest of her analysis of this oft-debated issue."Realism vs. Style: the Zelda Debate"
By Bonnie Ruberg

*
With the stylized aesthetic of Wind Waker all but gone, Nintendo has implemented carefully rendered, highly realistic polygons in its place - perhaps in response to the outcry of fans who disapproved of "kiddy," cel-shaded Link. The game's release date has even been pushed back in part to allow developers more time to perfect the new look. The question of realism versus style is one that has plagued art for centuries, and video games are no exception. Since the 2003 release of Wind Waker, a title both adored and despised, the Zelda series has come to epitomize that debate for the gaming industry, and heated words have been exchanged on both sides. Now, with Twilight Princess on the horizon, the old argument has been rekindled. What better time to take a look back at the issue and ask, once and for all: Is this really just a question of a pretty face?

When The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker came out two years ago, it's cel-shaded graphics caused a big stir in the American gaming community. Since then, debate over the value of the game's stylized aesthetic continues to be a popular topic in online video game forums. While there are some gamers who openly defend the title and its style, it seems the majority of voices express disappointment, even disgust. Many feel that the cel-shading gave Wind Waker a "cartoon-like" or childish look. One fan writes of encountering the new aesthetic for the first time, "I felt as though something had been stolen from me." Other forums-users remark, in comments that mirror thousands by like-minded gamers, "The graphics ruined the game," and "[Wink Waker] destroyed everything Zelda stood for." Now that Nintendo is taking the series back in a more graphically realistic direction, one precedented by the artistic approach in Ocarina of Time, those same disappointed fans are starting to rejoice. "These screens are exactly what i have been waiting for [sic]," writes one forum-user. Another: "All I can say is wow!!! I am so glad the cartoonish Link is gone. That is what kept me away from the whole Zelda franchise."

*
The press too seems glad to see the return of realism. After playing the demo at E3, Gamespy called the change in graphics an "upgrade," noting that "the overall style is a lot more grownup" and that "the game simply looks more alive." Gaming Age said realism "seals the deal" on the title, which is "by far one of the best looking games Nintendo has ever made," while Gamespot simply refers to "the undeniable appeal of realistic Link." According to Eiji Aunoma, the director of Twilight Princess, the decision to move away from the highly stylized aesthetic of Wind Waker was based partially on fan reaction. It was also dictated in part by the new game's storyline, which follows an older Link and a more serious adventure, and therefore needed a more "adult" graphical style. Still, even this decision to focus the game on a mature hero was affected by criticism from gamers who didn't enjoy playing as younger Link. As Planet GameCube notes, in the end, "The fans asked for a realistic Zelda, and Nintendo is delivering in a big way."

While it's understandable that players would have opinions about the looks of a favorite game, the debate over the aesthetics of Zelda has gone beyond friendly banter. What makes the topic so important that gamers just can't let it go? It's not really all about looks. If Zelda weren't Zelda, no one would make such a big fuss. As it stands, the series has so strong a fan-base, full of so many die-hard followers, that it has come, in a way, to represent video games as a whole, if not the industry itself. This makes the question of realism versus style in Zelda a much larger one than if it were applied to an unpopular, or even moderately well-known game. The issue has been further complicated by Zelda's close association with Nintendo, which struggles constantly with its already "kiddy" image. While the developers of Wind Waker made an artistically bold decision in utilizing cel-shading, their choice may have weakening Nintendo's mainstream image - one which must remain welcoming to adult gamers if the company is to compete against Sony and Microsoft in the current market.

*
But for the video game community, the question of aesthetics is also a cultural one. Whereas, in the Japanese market, unique style is highly regarded, realism in games is more often an American ideal. This can be seen in the supposedly negative link that critical gamers draw between Wind Waker's cel-shading, officially called "toon-shading" by Nintendo, and cartoons themselves - considered by most Americans to be a juvenile form of entertainment. Yet in Japan, anime and manga (the Japanese equivalents of cartoon shows and comic books) are regarded as legitimate art forms, and though some are designed for children, men and women of all ages enjoy these products, which lack the "kiddy" connotations they hold in the United States. Similarly, the gender expectations that are so rigid in mainstream America are not as clearly defined in Japanese culture. Japanese gamers are less concerned with appearing "masculine," at least in the American sense of reveling in games that flex their graphical muscle. The comments of U. S. gamers, especially those participating in forums, are influenced by the need to protect a certain macho image, one in favor of "grownup" realism instead of "childish" stylization.

*
The larger question at hand, however, is perhaps unanswerable: Is the point of gaming to recreate reality, or should it go beyond realism, into the realm of art? Video games confront this issue directly through the use of interactivity. Developers must decide whether to make a gaming experience as realistic as possible, allowing the gamer to step inside the character and his actions, or to keep him at a distance through an unfamiliar visual style. Certain types of games logically benefit from an inclusive aesthetic; racing and fighting titles rely on increasingly robust graphics technology to bring you more believable interactivity. With other categories of games, such as action-adventure, the genre into which the Zelda series falls, the decision isn't so clear. Neither is who makes the call: Should it be the developers/creators/artists themselves, or the game's fanbase, its potential consumers? If gamers demand graphical prowess in a quality game, as their response to both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess implies they do, they also have to face the possibility that all games, if rendered as realistically as possible, may soon look the same - not so much art as playable photographs of the world around them. Then they must ask themselves, honestly, whether or not that's a bad thing.

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graphics (1, Funny)

msh104 (620136) | about 9 years ago | (#13491626)

well, the old graphics sucked...
if you ask me this was just a much needed change.

Re:graphics (2, Insightful)

michaeltoe (651785) | about 9 years ago | (#13491710)

The "old" graphics..? I'm not sure which game you're talking about, but I preferred the SNES version myself.

a vote for realism (2, Interesting)

amrust (686727) | about 9 years ago | (#13491634)

I'm excited enough about the new "realistic" Zelda I've even considered a Gamecube pruchase for it (can't justify it yet). I wish Ninetndo would port this to other consoles like PS2.

Re:a vote for realism (1)

Erioll (229536) | about 9 years ago | (#13491702)

Well the system-seller for me was Metroid Prime. Pick up a copy of that and MP2: Echoes, and then along with this purchase would really make it worth it.

Since you seem to be in to action-adventure (Zelda), I don't think you'll be disappoined with MP. Just go into the game knowing that it is NOT a First-Person-Shooter, and you'll be happy. With the way weapons lock on to targets, it is more like Zelda than an FPS.

Re:a vote for realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491704)

That is like Microsoft releasing Halo for GameCube.

Re:a vote for realism (1, Troll)

amrust (686727) | about 9 years ago | (#13491780)

I like how someone moderated me "Troll" for just wishing they'd port what looks to be an awesome game to the console I play on. How tolerant.

I know it's an old debate. But (even given the "console seller" argument), I never understood why it would be bad business to port a game to multiple consoles. To me, it makes about as much sense as some musician only allowing their music to be played on "Sony" CD players.

Someone needs to prove to me how Nintendo makes more money by selling consoles with exclusive game content for, rather than publishing their games on any console or system a gamer decides to play.

Or is it simply a question of Sony/MS not allowing them to port games to their systems?

Re:a vote for realism (1)

jclast (888957) | about 9 years ago | (#13491873)

You don't port your exclusives because those are the games that move systems. Also, there are bound to be control issues and rework costs that may not outweigh the added income from PS2 sales on a LoZ game.

For what it's worth, I'm not sure you could put most GCN games on the PS2 without taking a graphics hit and using a controller that the game wasn't designed for. Have you seen the screen for RE4 on the PS2? They don't look anywhere near as nice as the GCN ones.

Console makers don't port games because it's bad business. Games houses port games to reach every audience. Nintendo is only interested in selling games to people with GameCubes. You want to play Zelda? You'll need a GameCube. Then when you play it, Nintendo got profit from the game and the system.

Re:a vote for realism (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | about 9 years ago | (#13491883)

because it would promote people buying their competitors hardware. Considering that Nintendo actually turns a profit on the hardware, I can see why they'd want you to buy it.

Re:a vote for realism (1)

benjcurry (754899) | about 9 years ago | (#13491892)

How does it not make sense? The fact that Zelda games are only released for Nintendo systems has been a major selling point for those systems for some time. People buy the system to play Zelda and end up purchasing other games as well.

Re:a vote for realism (1)

Pluvius (734915) | about 9 years ago | (#13491898)

If Nintendo ported its games to other systems, then no one would buy Nintendo consoles. If no one bought Nintendo consoles, then no one would buy games licensed for those consoles. Licensing fees are where Nintendo gets most of its money. It only takes a few moments of thought to realize this.

Rob

Re:a vote for realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491982)

In Soviet Russia, difference of opinion moderates you!
Or someone just doesn't like you.

Either way, one man's opinion is another man's flamebait, especially if it comes to something a fanboi might hold dear.

Re:a vote for realism (3, Insightful)

hazzey (679052) | about 9 years ago | (#13491709)

I think that there is just as much chance of Nintendo porting Zelda as there is of Sony porting Gran Turismo. The console manufacturers want there to be a game related reason for choosing their console. Having every game available for every platform is great for the consumer, but bad for the smaller console manufaturer.

Re:a vote for realism (3, Funny)

nihilistcanada (698105) | about 9 years ago | (#13491719)

Not bloody likely. Hiroshi Yamauchi would appear in the night as a Ninja of all that is Nintendo and eviscerate any executive stupid enough to do that with a katana. Of course the blood would be green.

Re:a vote for realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491729)

I dont think nintendo would be willing to sacrifice that so much quality in the graphics department. I guess they might consider porting it to the ps3 if they feel the market is large enough.

A vote for great gameplay either way (4, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | about 9 years ago | (#13491731)

Personally I'm 38, my kids were 11 when they played Windwaker, and I loved the emotive cartoon style. We haven't seen games that more gracefully bring across emotional reactions by the characters.

That said, there was almost nothing in the game that seriously challenged the kids. Despite the (deservedly) legendary depth of play from Zelda titles, I think the designers decided they were making a cartoony title so they should pitch it to kids in terms of the level of challenge too. Which sucked.

We can accept gritty realism or the cel shading thing. Either one has to be stylishly executed, and the game has to be far more than a shooter where I'm opening doors in order to hold my interest.

(Near as we can tell the delay with the new Zelda is the development group adding play depth. Props to them.)

Re:A vote for great gameplay either way (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | about 9 years ago | (#13491932)

We can accept gritty realism or the cel shading thing. Either one has to be stylishly executed, and the game has to be far more than a shooter where I'm opening doors in order to hold my interest.

Agreed. Personally I think caring about graphics in games so much is like going to a movie and being disappointed if they happily went through the storyline with no special effects. It's not like when you're playing the Wind Waker you say "Crap, I missed the enemy because my sword looks like a cartoon."

A vote against "realism" (0)

daniil (775990) | about 9 years ago | (#13491853)

I am strongly against this so-called 'realism' in games, for nothing could be further from the truth, or the reality, than what is depicted in these games. Such fairytales are fine for children, but when it comes to games aimed towards teenagers or young adults, it's unacceptable! These games turn them into mindless dreamers, instead of the productive members of the society they could be.

Games shouldn't be about childish fantasies, but teaching the youth valuable skills; helping them understand and cope with the reality, instead of escaping it. Now that computer games are widely being accepted as an art form, it is time to acknowledge and utilise [wikipedia.org] them as such. It is time to demand more realism in games, instead of this fake 'reality' that the current games offer!

Re:a vote for realism (1)

chris462 (656034) | about 9 years ago | (#13491868)

I wish Ninetndo would port this to other consoles like PS2. And give one of their killer apps away? I suspect you'll see Halo 2 on the GC before you'll see Zelda on anything not built by Nintendo.

Tradition vs. Evolution (5, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | about 9 years ago | (#13491635)

I think a major issue here is tradition vs. evolution. The stylized, cartoony look is "classic" Zelda, and for some people, their preference would be to put all the time and energy into gameplay and story while keeping a more classic feel to the visuals. On the other side are the people who feel that since the ability to present more realistically rendered worlds has evolved, so should the worlds of Zelda. More than art vs. reality, I believe the "don't fix what ain't broken" vs. "but there's so much more you could do" argument is what really drives this debate.

Tradition vs. evolution is such a classic set of counterpoints. It pops up in religions, in corporations, in clubs, and it's no wonder it rages now in video games. They now have enough history for tradition to take a foothold. In the long run, though, I doubt that it was the cartoony appearance that really made Zelda players into Zelda fans. It may have been endearing, but it was the gameplay and stories that really made it addictive. IMO, the story, gameplay, and AI quality will be the final arbiters of the fate of this game, not the visual realism or lack thereof.

- Greg

Re:Tradition vs. Evolution (5, Insightful)

jkuff (170923) | about 9 years ago | (#13491904)

Over the history of animated films, there has developed the concept of "suspension of disbelief" [wikipedia.org] that allows the audience to forget that they are watching a film and become emotionally attached to the characters. Disney films were particularly good at doing this, despite the fact that the renderings are not "realistic" (Mickey mouse has four fingers, etc.)

For computer animation and video games, audiences are especially critical of mistakes in the depiction of human characters (both appearance and movement), particularly if they attempt to be too "photorealistic". Remember how audiences reacted to the movie "Final Fantasy"? Making characters believable is not simply a function of realistic rendering, but depends deeply on the story and personalities. In the case of Final Fantasy, audiences were too distracted in noticing subtle rendering and animation flaws that they failed to suspend disbelief. If the rendering had been more stylized (like in Japanese anime), viewers may not have focused only on rendering flaws, but on the story and characters. This is what Pixar knows how to do very well, making movies about Toys, Bugs, Cars, etc.

I love the Zelda series, and I love how Nintendo has consistently worked hard at developing storyline and characters, and bringing it all to life with a unique stylized rendering. I simply hope that the new Zelda will not be too "realistic" that players will be distracted by any small flaws in the appearance to appreciate the underlying story.

Re:Tradition vs. Evolution (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 9 years ago | (#13492002)

Remember how audiences reacted to the movie "Final Fantasy"?

IIRC, everyone I remember talking to about it said "the graphics were great, but the plot and characters were shallow and undeveloped."

Re:Tradition vs. Evolution (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 9 years ago | (#13491915)

Exactly.

I too was in the "yuck" camp when I first saw and eventually played WindWaker... but once I got in the game and quit paying attention to the unusual styles, it turned out to be a fairly decent Zelda. My main real issue with it is the excruciatingly slow pacing until you get the cyclones and the way you are initially forced to go after the first two pearls... I wanted to at least visit the northern wallet fairy early in my gold game.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491636)

f to the p

Cartoonishness (1)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | about 9 years ago | (#13491643)

To me, the Mario and Kirby games are the ones that are supposed to be cartoony, not Zelda games. Looks like Nintendo has realized that a lot of people would at least agree with the third part of that statement.

Re:Cartoonishness (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#13491861)

To me, the Mario and Kirby games are the ones that are supposed to be cartoony, not Zelda games. Looks like Nintendo has realized that a lot of people would at least agree with the third part of that statement.

I'll take Game-Play over artwork style anyday, but I guess what you mean by "cartoony" is at the heart.

To borrow from Bill Griffith's Zippy The Pinhead, years back, there's levels of detail that disappear as you move from Realism to Terminal Cuteness (Zeepee!) like Hello Kitty, no fingers, no mouth, etc. When I'm playing my high level Mage in a game I see him in my mind's eye as a crusty old geezer with fire in his eyes, not some Merlin-esque guy with a puffy white beard and stars and moons on a pointy baby-blue hat.

I think we expect a level of grit and grime to match the level of seriousness of the game.

re (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491646)

i am the frist person to comment it

woo hoo (0, Redundant)

ghukov (854181) | about 9 years ago | (#13491650)

Legend of Zelda was a pretty kick ass game. Too bad it is only on Game Cube.

False dichotomy (5, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | about 9 years ago | (#13491662)

Realism isn't the opposite of style; it's just one kind of style.

Re:False dichotomy (5, Funny)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 9 years ago | (#13491796)

I love it when some guy blows away the entire premise of an article with one sentence :) Good job.

Re:False dichotomy (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13491897)

I defiantly agree with you there . I really like the look of the new Zelda game .. I also really like the look of Wind waker . both are very stylised .. it just so happens that cell shading is a more in you face (Jargonistic cringe) style . We obviously wont recognise Realism as a style as quickly as well... it takes a special eye to see the style in the ordinary

We do tend to appreciate realism more as it can help with the immersion in certain types of games .
I am glad this time around it is realistic as it does fit better with the older link .

Zelda 1 : hard to tell , perhaps more towards the Manga cartoon style though
Zelda 2 : Very defiantly going for the more adult realism , though it was a NES game so no miracles here
Zelda 3 : Very defiantly cartoon style
Zelda 4: same as above
Zelda 5 : The realism , though young link did have many things which would suggest it was slightly more cartoonish compared to old link
Zelda 5.5(Majoras mask is technically a side story) : Majoras mask whilst still on the same engine and using a lot of the same models was a middle ground , very fantastical but had an air of realism
Zelda 6: Cartoon cell shaded goodness , shame about the triforce hunt.
Zelda 7: realism .. quite beutifull , lets hope it lives up to expectations , though I am yet to be let down by a zelda game (we don't include those horrible CD-I abominations

The gaidens are all cartoonish

So having a look back at the games , they were a mixed bunch artistically . This is why i never understood the criticism of the wind walker as being "SACRALIDGE" , I normally just assumed the people complaining were not old enough to remember anything other than Ocarina of time ,oh and they didn't own a game boy .

Re:False dichotomy (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 9 years ago | (#13491959)

Why should it matter, anyway? As long as gameplay isn't sacrificed because of the new look, I'm fine with it. Let them do what they want with the graphics as long as the game is still fun.

Re:False dichotomy (1)

6OOOOO (600000) | about 9 years ago | (#13491967)

In the same way that zero is a number--it's special, and doesn't follow the same rules.

Style is about filling in the blanks between representation and reality. If the "style" is to mimic as closely as possible, the space for artistic expression necessarily decreases.

Realism and style (maybe stylism would be more appropriate) aren't literal opposites, but in this context they are in opposition.

That said, Wind Waker was beautiful. So-called realistic games fall too short of the mark--better to make something beautiful with the tools you have than to try to make them do something they can't.

Exactly! (1)

xmurf (236569) | about 9 years ago | (#13491972)

Take for example Metroid Prime (and Metroid Prime: Echoes), a very realistic looking game (as realistic as an alien planet can get anyway), not cartoony at all, and yet both games are very stylish.

I don't think you have to forego realism (or photo-realistic graphics) to keep an interesting artistic direction. Would you say that a city like.. say.. venice, is not stylish? I know I wouldn't. Does it look like "the real thing"? Hell, I guess so, I've never been there.

What I'm trying to say here, and based on what daniil just said, is that there really isn't a "realism vs. style" grudge match, that makes no sense, if your art/design/graphics team can't make your game look "real" while keeping the level design and graphics interesting, then I guess you need to get a new team.

Review completely misses the mark (4, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | about 9 years ago | (#13491665)

Sony and Microsoft are fighting a war to dominate the living room, Nintendo is making great toys for adults and children. There's a marked difference between the two strategies. While more realism is a move towards the current market, I like to think that Nintendo is going to last while Sony and Microsoft are going to sputter out... Perhaps I'm just idealistic in thinking customers don't WANT the complete dominance of a single appliance M$ and Sony are aiming for.

Zonk: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491673)

You are posting to many of your boring gaming editorials to the main page, please post them in Games.

Very general? (3, Interesting)

Epistax (544591) | about 9 years ago | (#13491687)

Every game is different. The mood that is being established dictates the drawing style. Beyond that, it's not a matter of drawing style preference, it's a matter of mood preference. Serious will be realistic. Funny/comic will often be unrealistic (that's not to say low quality). This realistic/unrealistic is obviously JUST THE GRAPHICS. Everything else is quite variable.

Sheep! (1)

isaf (912891) | about 9 years ago | (#13491694)

The general public will always choose literal presentation over a stylized one. That's why there is so much boring CG in movies. That's why games all look the same. Truly visually innovative games like Rez will never get the attention they deserve. Abstraction and symbolism are lost on alot of people these days.

Re:Sheep! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491820)

Not always true.

Example: WoW vs EQ2
EQ2 went the realistic route while WoW went the other way.

Remind me which one of those is doing better?

While graphics aren't the only reason, they do play a part, and a large one.

Gamecube is finally breaking out of its shell (1, Insightful)

kypper (446750) | about 9 years ago | (#13491698)

I didn't play Zelda with the cell-shaded graphics except for about 10 minutes at a Best Buy, but I have to admit the control was phenonminal; I just hated the graphics.

With games like Resident Evil 4, and now Twilight Princess, Gamecube appears to be finally trying to break into the 20-something market that Playstation and Xbox have had in a death-grip.

I know I finally wanted to play Zelda again (having stopped at SNES) when I saw the previews for this one.

Re:Gamecube is finally breaking out of its shell (1)

Shadowin (312793) | about 9 years ago | (#13491816)

Perhaps that's one thing Nintendo forgot: when most of us played the first 3 Zelda's, we were much younger. Now that we're in our 20s, we expected something different. Instead, they handed us a cartoon.

Re:Gamecube is finally breaking out of its shell (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 9 years ago | (#13491857)

I'll agree with that for different reasons. I thought the play control on Ocarina was awful and I haven't touched Zelda since then. If there's one thing I hate more than a FPS, it's a 3rd person over the shoulder view. Ugh.

Cell "Shading"? (2, Informative)

crabpeople (720852) | about 9 years ago | (#13491716)

Well if your like me, you had to look that one up.

Sense you already looked it up ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cel-shaded_animation [wikipedia.org] ) that link was redundant to you. Perhaps some are more lazy.

Basically, cel shading is like commander keen but with more gamma.

Re:Cell "Shading"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491866)

Seriously, thanks for the link. This is not a review. IMHO, a review assumes your audience is interested and would like to know more. This seems to be a treatise about minutiae that presumes the reader is initmately familiar with all the old Zeldas, the new Zelda and all the mechanics and controversies of them. Bah.

I don't get this entire thing. (5, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | about 9 years ago | (#13491724)

I think the graphics for wind waker looked totally awesome. It was the most beautiful video game I had ever played.

I think the graphics for twilight princess also look totally awesome.

I think I may like the art style of wind waker better.

However, it seems reasonable to me to be able to like more than one thing!

When I see them doing something one way the first time, and another way the second time, and find that some people like the first way and some other people like the second way, my response here isn't to think "huh. we should figure out which way is 'better'." My response is something closer to "yay for variety". Doing it this way means that the people in group one get what they want in the first game, the people in group two get what they want in the second game, and I get exactly what I want in both cases-- because, much as I think both art styles look awesome, I think it could get a little tiresome to look at the same art style all the way through two games in a row, even if it was the one which I preferred (Wind Waker's). I think it's much neater that they are mixing things up, and thus satisfying my sense of artistic ADD.

It's just funny, Nintendo gets frequently accused of making the same game over and over but then on the other hand there's a huge contingent of people on every single game complaining about the things they changed.

Cartoon isn't bad.... (5, Insightful)

Zunni (565203) | about 9 years ago | (#13491725)

I'm not sure what the issue with the other graphics were. 8 bit Zelda was rather cartoonish, as was the 16 bit SNES Zelda.

Zelda was never touted as a "realistic" game, and was instead a fun RPG romp. Splinter Cell and the myriad of FPS games need to have realistic graphics in order to convey a sense of place and time. Zelda was never about being in a real world, it was the land of Hyrule where sticking out your sword in one direction was the name of the game. I'm not saying Zelda can't grow up and take advantage of the new graphics, but why push the game in a more realistic vein?? It's like making the new Street Fighter and using actors for Ken/Ryu. It worked for MK, but SF was about that cartoonish feeling.

Re:Cartoon isn't bad.... (1)

Shadowin (312793) | about 9 years ago | (#13491768)

Zelda was never about being in a real world, it was the land of Hyrule where sticking out your sword in one direction was the name of the game.

Sounds like you've been playing the Seduction of Zelda far too long. =)

Re:Cartoon isn't bad.... (1)

teslar (706653) | about 9 years ago | (#13491970)

I'm not sure what the issue with the other graphics were. 8 bit Zelda was rather cartoonish, as was the 16 bit SNES Zelda.

True. However, then along came the N64 and with it two truly awesome Zelda games. The graphics there were *phenomenal*. At last Link looked like the drawings of him in the user manuals of the earlier games. And that's the thing.... 8 and 16bit Zeldas might have been cartoonish, but we always had an image of Link from these drawings. For the NES games, he was drawn smaller than we know him now but even the 16bit manual had a Link who looked pretty closely like the one in the N64 games.
Then along came Windwaker. And with it a complete change in Link's image. And that's, I think, what upset so many people (including me :) ). It was not a variation on a theme we came to like, it was a 'and now for something completely different' trick that just didn't go down well with the fanbase (that and the fact that the game was ridiculously easy to complete). Just didn't work.
I guess that the fallacy of this argument is that lots of people have never played the original Zeldas, but then it probably only takes playing the N64 ones to see that Windwaker somehow skidded off the track and smashed into a pile of tyres.

Anyway. Looking forward to the new one. And no hard feelings about Windwaker, most Zeldas until then were fantastic (apart from Link's Adventure), they're allowed a miss every once in a while (not too often though, mind you :) )

Photographs of the World Around Us (1)

Shadowin (312793) | about 9 years ago | (#13491734)

not so much art as playable photographs of the world around them.

I'd like to see someone take a real photograph of whatever is in that bottom picture. I know I would not partake in the photography side of the game business!

Re:Photographs of the World Around Us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491846)

The funny thing is, people don't want realism in their color photographs. Instead, they want enhanced, saturated color and optimal contrast. The grass is always greener on the other side of the photography fence.

Order the Latest Zelda Here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491746)

FYI, you can pre-order the latest Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess [amazon.com]
here. Looks like the release date is April 4, 2006. And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

The problem with realism (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | about 9 years ago | (#13491751)

Is that it isn't realistic enough. One thing that has been pointed out, by more than one person, is that when graphics reach a certain level of realism, the brain looks for characteristics that would occur in the real world. Reflections, muscle movements, etc.


It is utterly impossible - at this point - to reproduce each and every pattern the brain is looking for. In consequence, realistic graphics often look slightly ghoulish. They aren't what the brain is expecting, so the brain signals that something isn't right. This is actually a part of why Gollum, in the Lord of the Rings movies, was so effective.


In consequence, the games that are labelled "realistic" are often deliberately unrealistic enough that the player can be comfortable. It's also often less demanding on the computer and the programmer.

Re:The problem with realism (1, Redundant)

tag (22464) | about 9 years ago | (#13491949)

You're talking about the Uncanny Valley [wikipedia.org] .

Yay for "bad" Link! (0, Troll)

jedir0x (522662) | about 9 years ago | (#13491758)

I'm very pleased to see that cartoon gay-boy Link is no more. When i saw videos for this at E3 (not the last one, but the one before) I knew that Nintendo was responding to the masses that share my sentiments. It was great to see Link riding a stalion through a battlefield toward a warthog/man thing swinging a sword through the air to cut it's head off. Oh, and after reading all of this... i realized that nobody had posted... so in a desperate attempt to be cool: FIRST POST! (although i'm sure i'll be number 20-30 anyway).

every franchise need to try stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491761)

I personally don't think windwaker graphics were good or bad. Zelda has always been the game that brings you into a world of, primarily, 2 people (link and zelda). To me, this is neither real nor does it advocate realism. I liked that they tried something new and am willing to try realism, but... the right tool for the right job, I feel. If the storyline is more serious, more realism. If the story is more kiddy, more cartoony. That's just my opinion.

This is pointless (5, Insightful)

Ekman (60679) | about 9 years ago | (#13491764)

Who cares what it looks like. Is it fun?

Zelda's growing pains (0, Flamebait)

PenguinCandidate (819243) | about 9 years ago | (#13491779)

Zelda came out when, in the mid to late 80s? I think this is a strong indicator that the median age of the gamer has risen from the early days when many of us started playing. It sounds corny, but Link appears to be growing up alongside the kids who first picked up the game with their NES. Many of us, meaning me, are 24 now, and there are a lot of me's out there who played Zelda and still follow the series.

However, Wind waker appears to be that 'funny period' where Link couldn't decide which side of the fence he wanted to play on, but from the looks of this latest title he seems to have settled on something. No, I didn't have such a period; not that there's anythign wrong with that.

Realism is not currently feasible or necessary (4, Insightful)

orangenormal (728999) | about 9 years ago | (#13491787)

So the graphics in Twilight Princess "realistic" and not stylized? Would anyone confuse them with reality?

The fact is, Twilight Princess, which embracing a darker style, is still heavily stylized. I do like the style, but I do not believe it's any better or worse than Wind Waker's style. (Wind Waker's graphics, in my opinion, were absolutely stunning and held a charm perfectly suited to the storyline.)

The problem with "realism" is that it's very difficult to get right. The closer to reality you get, the more grotesque the imperfections seem to the human mind. It's called "The Uncanny Valley," a term coined during the development of human-like robots. People have a much stronger negative reaction to graphics that look almost, but not quite, real than ones that approximate features.

Conclusionary question (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13491788)

FTA: "Is the point of gaming to recreate reality, or should it go beyond realism, into the realm of art?"

Realism and art are not opposed; rather, realism is one method of creating art.

IMO, the point of games such as the Zelda franchise is player immersion. Some people can feel immersed without realistic graphics; others have a harder time making the leap.

You want to know why gameplay is dead? (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13491790)

Wind Waker is a perfect example of why games are polish over substance these days. People bitch about how there's no focus on gameplay because the industry is too busy pushing more polygons, and this is why.

There were plenty of things wrong with Wind Waker, but the graphics weren't one of them. They successfully conveyed the mechanics and story. If you're one of the people who didn't by Wind Waker solely because of the graphics, you're part of the problem. How can game makers focus on good gameplay when financially everybody makes graphics king?

Worse, maybe we could have had a few more Zelda games this hardware generation with new plots and content... But instead they had to waste time writing a new engine.

Mod UP, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491951)

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Re:You want to know why gameplay is dead? (5, Insightful)

nekoes (613370) | about 9 years ago | (#13492006)

There were plenty of things wrong with Wind Waker, but the graphics weren't one of them. They successfully conveyed the mechanics and story. If you're one of the people who didn't by Wind Waker solely because of the graphics, you're part of the problem. How can game makers focus on good gameplay when financially everybody makes graphics king?

This is exactly how I feel. I originally was confused by the change in graphics, but understood that Cel shading had some potential after playing JSR for a bit. In the right hands, Cel Shaded games have the potential for an incredible amount of style. Nintendo didn't let me down - they made Wind Waker have one of the most animated worlds ever created for a video game. Often times while watching a roommate play it, I'd confuse it straight up for a cartoon. The animation in the game is just so fluid, and the visuals are dead on for the type of story they are used to convey.

Every time I read or hear someone saying they didn't play Wind Waker because of the 'kiddie' Cel Shaded graphics, I want to slap them. What the hell is kiddie about it? Link is still in there, kicking ass, and looking better than he did in all the rest of the games up to it. Especially now after seeing the screen shots for the new games, I'm annoyed that they switched to a more realistic style.

It seems whenever developers opt to make the game as realistic looking as possible, it ends up looking off and lifeless. Morrowind, Everquest 2, and other games come off as looking good in the screenshots, but seeing the game in motion really breaks the experience for me. The characters and backdrops seem dead and bleak. The Soul Calibur series has been the only one I've seen that doesn't seem to suffer this problem, probably since the character's motion plays such a huge part in the game.

At least it is heartening to see that for Twilight Princess they are keeping some of the stylized aesthetics and tying it in with the dry looking realistic stuff. The trailers had some nice footage of a stylish looking wolf running through a black and white castle, controlled by a character that looked partially remeniscient of a Wind Waker character...

Either way I guess it's good to know that at least it will play as good as any other game in the series, that is, it will be yet another Zelda game.

Typical Nintendo (-1, Troll)

Afrosheen (42464) | about 9 years ago | (#13491791)

It still puzzles me why Nintendo refuses to grow up. Since the Sega Genesis, they've been stuck in 'baby game' mode where you play as fruity little stuffed animal characters and use whistles instead of swords. Nintendo didn't even use 'blood' in their games at the time the Genesis did, and for them it was almost a selling point at the time.

  I understand that they feel they need to be kid and parent-friendly, but they need to understand that their user base is growing up, and to thrive in the market, you have to cater to your users. You can still have Mario and Luigi jumping around collecting coins, but RPG fans probably won't go for another round of tiny-little-kid-wielding-paring-knife-saving-yet-a nother-princess They've had so many FF games that have taught them to expect a whole lot more. The comments in the blog article from hardcore players, complaining about the graphics on the last title, bear this out. The world no longer consists of single platform living rooms, and Nintendo needs to face the facts.

  Back in the day, all you had to play was Nintendo. If you wanted platforming, you had SMB. If you wanted role playing, Zelda. Adventure, Metroid. Things have changed. Alot. Now, you may have an Xbox sitting next to your PS2, two rooms away from your PC with Battlefield 2 and WOW installed on it. Who cares about Nintendo anymore, seriously? Sure, they have a great handheld market...well except for the dismal sales of the DS and lack of titles. The GBA is still strong right?

  I think Nintendo sealed their own fate by refusing to switch to the CD format back in the late 90's. If the N64 would have been CD based like the original Playstation was (hell even the Saturn had one), they would have kept more developers around and might still have a position of dominance. AFAIK they're in third place, behind Microsoft for god's sake! 15 years ago this was unimaginable.

  I've said it before and I'll say it again..Nintendo, it's time to grow up.

Re:Typical Nintendo (4, Insightful)

orangenormal (728999) | about 9 years ago | (#13491864)

I feel bad that some people are willing to instantly dismiss some of the most fun and creative games because they feel the graphics are too "kiddy." Nintendo's games carry a charm which I think is sorely lacking in the industry today.

Paper Mario, Pikmin, Wind Waker, and other Nintendo franchises are games I think everyone should have the chance to play. They're charming and fun, and somehow manage to be so without featuring multiplayer killing action or large weapons to blow other players up in numerous ways.

Re:Typical Nintendo (1)

NoTheory (580275) | about 9 years ago | (#13491902)

It still puzzles me why Nintendo refuses to grow up

Uh, cause they keep succeeding? Where's sega now? Sure you can claim that they've lost their dominant position in the market, but so what? Apple isn't the dominant force in their market and nobody's telling them to grow up.

I've grown more and more fascinated with nintendo with each new system the release. It's clear that they've got a commitment to doing things that are innovative, rather than create programming sweatshops like EA, or other companies who are only interested in cranking out variations on the same engine. Granted, nintendo still does that (i.e. pokemon), but that doesn't overshadow the gems that they produce, and the interesting things that they try. Sometimes they're wrong, but when they get it right, they're definitely right.

Re:Typical Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13492004)

Why cater to a certain user base? Eventually, people who grew up with Nintendo will no longer be living. Does it make sense to market and create for one generation of gamers, or to become an evolving company creating games suitable--albeit a bit more appropriate--for a certain age group? By creating "toonier & squishier" games, Nintendo is aiming for the home market of Japan. Believe it or not, but people in the USA and people in Japan have different likes/dislikes. I like the way Nintendo creates games. The stay creative and smart.

Faux Debate (1)

NoTheory (580275) | about 9 years ago | (#13491803)

Arguments like this are stupid. Artistic choices (i.e. photo realistic, vs. stylization of varying sorts) should be used to further the story & representation that the artists/creators are trying to get across. They should choose what they want to express, and everyone else should shut the hell up.

You can complain that you like style x over style y, but don't tell people what they should use to tell their stories.

Re:Faux Debate (1)

NoTheory (580275) | about 9 years ago | (#13491840)

BTW, i loved Windwaker, and i'm waiting for the new game with baited breath :)

And a further note, people can express what styles they like or don't like, i just don't think they should compell creators to do what they want, solely cause they like one style over another.

Re:Faux Debate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13492007)

Yeah, but Han did shoot first.

Nintendo Blew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491806)

They really blew it when they released the gamecube tech demo. I remember seeing that awsome realistically rendered Link vs Gannon scene. It was just stunning at the time. Then they released the toon-shaded Windwaker leaving everyone a little confused.

Cell shading has it place but Nintendo needed to release a better game then wind walker to make it viable. I'm glad that all of the finishing touches are being applied to the new game. The fit and finish are what I know and love from Nintendo.
I'll be glad t see it back

Am I the only one... (1)

ben0207 (845105) | about 9 years ago | (#13491808)

....that prefers the WW style? The new one just looks shitty, and like every other game out there. Wind Waker was unique.

I don't suppose it matters (in terms of sales), Nintendo only sells to their fans these days anyway.

What's the fuss about? (1, Insightful)

konstant (63560) | about 9 years ago | (#13491811)

This newer title also seems very stylized. I certainly wouldn't mistake it for a video and the context (sword, elfin outfit, monsters) is obvious fantasy.

This isn't a conflict between realism and anime. It's a choice of ghost in the shell anime over hello kitty.

Cartoons "Kiddy" in the US? (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | about 9 years ago | (#13491813)

This can be seen in the supposedly negative link that critical gamers draw between Wind Waker's cel-shading, officially called "toon-shading" by Nintendo, and cartoons themselves - considered by most Americans to be a juvenile form of entertainment. Yet in Japan, anime and manga (the Japanese equivalents of cartoon shows and comic books) are regarded as legitimate art forms, and though some are designed for children, men and women of all ages enjoy these products, which lack the "kiddy" connotations they hold in the United States.

If this is true, then Anime is not one of the hottest entertainment media imported to the U.S., especially among the demographic that plays video games, it is not a forum topic on slashdot, and it does not occupy as much self space as any other single genra in the DVD section of your local BestBuy.

Why do ignorant people feel that it is necessary to write articles? All article writing does is showcase their ignorance.

Style vs. Realisim. (2, Insightful)

Skasta (594110) | about 9 years ago | (#13491818)

One thing I have to say with windwaker is the fact that it has a Timeless look, just like A Link to The Past before it. Both of these Zelda games took what the console hardware gave them, and rendered a style that as time goes on, does not lose graphic appeal. I feel like Ocarina of Time\Majoras Mask and maybe Twilight Princess, do not have this effect. I look at Ocarina of Time today and it looks ugly compared to todays games, yet I can still pop in my A Link to the Past cart and not have a problem with the way the game looks. The same with Wind Waker, It looks just as nice as the first time I popped the disc in my Gamecube, and it still has a unique style that works well with the gameplay world it lives in.

Out of line (1)

amliebsch (724858) | about 9 years ago | (#13491825)

Japanese gamers are less concerned with appearing "masculine," at least in the American sense of reveling in games that flex their graphical muscle. The comments of U. S. gamers, especially those participating in forums, are influenced by the need to protect a certain macho image, one in favor of "grownup" realism instead of "childish" stylization.

This rationalization is just asinine, and is demeaning to both Americans and men. Why is it so hard to accept that the appreciation of different styles (yes, realism is a style!) are simply a matter of cultural preferences? It seems like the submitter was really reaching here to find a way to bash those who prefer realism.

Zelda! More lik CELda! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491827)

m i rite?!

The issue isn't so polar (0)

Dragoon412 (648209) | about 9 years ago | (#13491828)

The chieg gripe with Wind Waker wasn't the cell-shaded graphics. I think many people, even those that decried the game, would enjoy them under different circumstances. For instance, I hated Wind Waker's visual stylings, but I think World of Warcraft is one of the most beautiful games ever made (visually).

The problem was that Wind Waker failed in suspension of belief. Here was link, rendered in a cartoonish style, with every visual cue reminding you of your 6 year-old cousin/brother/nephew. He hung out with a kid that had huge boogers hanging out of his nose, for crying out loud!

Link is supposed to be a champion; a hero that rises up and smashes Gannon to rescue the princess and save the world. It's supposed to be epic, but Wind Waker had all the visual styling and epic urgency of the sort of formulaic cartoons you watched on Saturday morning as a young kid that involved some 11 year-old superhero saving the world. It was fine when you were a kid, but now when you're older (and I would guess most of the LoZ fanbase is in their 20s and 30s), it seems laughable. The same principle allies to Wind Waker.

In short, the visual style of Wind Waker - not just the cell shading, but the game's presentation as a whole - was just jarring with the ideals most people had for the series.

Wind Waker had good gameplay. It had a unique and creative visual style. It had top-tier presentation. The problem was that the way Nintendo just sort of haphazardly mashed them all together trampled all over peoples' expectations for the game.

Expectations (1)

non0score (890022) | about 9 years ago | (#13491830)

We all know that the outrage has nothing to do with cel-shading itself, given how well Katamari Damacy did. It must also not deal with the expectation that Zelda should somehow be "realistic," since Zelda's roots stem from being cartoony up until the N64 days. Therefore, this must have something to do with some sense of "continuation" or "evolution" with the series itself through the N64 "realism" Zelda. I would go even as far to say that this expectation is the sole reason for the outcry.

gameplay and graphics (1)

b00tleg (603482) | about 9 years ago | (#13491841)

I wouldn't mind the toonish look if I didnt have to put on masks and throw twigs. Cell shaded games can be adult as long as nintendo takes out the wind boats and masks. Invader Zim had a very adult tone with cell shaded action scenes.

Artistic Expression is of utmost importance (4, Insightful)

sycomonkey (666153) | about 9 years ago | (#13491843)

Realism is entirely overrated. It's just one of many styles, and one that's been used way too much lately. Twilight Princess looks to be very very pretty and cool, but I'd be sorely dissapointed if every zelda game for the rest of time looked like it. I don't dislike realistic graphics as a matter of course, but they have their place, and there's room for all kinds of expression. For example, what in the world would have been as appealing about Rez if it wasn't wireframe? Would Mario 64 have been nearly as fun if it was animated like Ocarina of Time?

The article is pretty much right on the money. The realistic look is popular, but I don't think that it should be to the exclusion of other forms of expression and style. Game designers are artists, and they should be able to paint their picture with less concern for what sells and what doesn't. But that's not the enviroment right now, so...

My Thoughts (1)

NaNO2x (856759) | about 9 years ago | (#13491845)

First thing I said when Wind Waker was released "This is not Zelda". Though I did not like the graphics, the game was alright. While I was talking to my friends about it I came to the realization that the new graphics were really really good...just not for Zelda. Since the announcment of Twilight Princess, I have been looking over screenshots and videos, this game has the type of graphics Zelda should. I mean sure sometimes you can have a really odd game and have it turn out well (Animal Crossing) but for a classic like Zelda, it has a mind of its own and what the people like is where it needs to go.

gimme a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491855)

the people who complained so much and vowed not to buy the game are sadly short-sighted. anyone who has played zelda more than a few games back should remember the snes (and even nes) days.

while the graphics were never awful for their time, they were never the focus of the game. the gameplay was, the story was, the fight and the search. the puzzles!!1 maybe even the romance :o

le sigh

I feel cheated. (2, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | about 9 years ago | (#13491863)

The article's first paragraph promised juicy discussion of sexuality in gaming. But there wasn't one single mention of sex, it's just a stupid, boring discussion about rendering styles.

Re:I feel cheated. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491929)

Bonnie Ruberg usually writes about issues of gender and sexuality in video games; this /. article - while an excellent piece - is a little different than what she is more accustomed to writing. For Ms. Ruberg's writings on sexuality in gaming, check out her blogsite, http://www.heroine-sheik.com/ [heroine-sheik.com] , which includes a number of posts on the subject, as well as links to more articles she's written. -sj

Re:I feel cheated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491983)

I did a "Find" in the article for the first mention of "sex" and ended up hitting your comment complaining about no sex.

I feel robbed.

American gamers are insecure (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491871)

They fear that anything that is not dark and realistic is calling them a "kid". That is why they get so upset. Americans would be embarrassed to play a game like Wind Waker because they fear that people will perceive them as not adult or not mature. Sure, the game may be FUN as hell... No, wait... it can't be fun... if I enjoyed it, that means I must also be a kid... No... Musn't play fun Ninja Turtles game... must maintain respectable mature, macho adult persona... :)

It's really sad, because many of the "dark and realistic" games are mediocre, at best, and yet they will become best sellers here because they re-inforce the player's ego as an "adult gamer" who has "adult needs". :)

I can see the reason and market for making a dark and mature game, but I think the game's "world view" should be what decides that, not a need to make players feel better about themselves. This is a real bummer because I like fun games, and yet they're being driven out of the marketplace by insecure gamers with lots of money to burn. Developers spend so much time making sure the sweat drips off the CG player's face so realistically that gameplay is almost an afterthought. I used to go to a video game store struggling over which game to buy, now I go and say "meh." Once I decide I don't want an FPS or sports game, I'm about ready to walk out of the place.

Japanese Adults and Manga (1)

bayers (155001) | about 9 years ago | (#13491880)

It's a popular myth in the US that anime and manga are respected art forms in Japan. In Japan, if you are an adult, and you get caught reading manga on your lunch hour, you will be held up to some redicule. I feel that the cultural relevance of manga are nearly equal to the cultural relevance of comics in the US.

Gimme Style - the Comic Book reader's view (3, Interesting)

unfortunateson (527551) | about 9 years ago | (#13491890)

I'll take style over realism when the style contributes to the storytelling and enjoyment of the tale.

I started reading comics in the late 70's/early 80's, and realism was big then. Artists such as Neal Adams (all over Marvel and DC), John Byrne (X-Men), Jim Layton (Iron Man), etc. had taken over from the 60's stylized art of Kirby, and Ditko (Aparo, Swan, Steranko and others sort of spanned the fence between aping an old style and trying for the new realism).

Then, suddenly, there were stylists that blew my mind: Bill Sinkiewicz' wild line style (Moon Knight, Stray Toasters), Mike Mignola's world-devouring blacks (Corum, Hellboy), Walt Simonson's angular structure (Thor), Howard Chaykin's zip-a-tone (American Flagg!, Black Kiss)... I could go on and on... oh, yeah, Frank Miller too.

But for every thing there is a season: sometimes the realistic style works better: Art Ross' painterly style works well for grand epics. Brent Anderson's realism works for Astro City's interaction with the real world, and sometimes a Jim Lee crisp and clean can be a relief.

But this is gaming we're talking about. Sometimes a 64-pixel sprite makes a fun game. Certainly the original Zelda can't be considered realistic. I thought that games such as Wind Waker and Paper Mario were innovative in their use of graphics, and should be applauded.

But the market does rule this sort of thing. If *everybody* wants realism, that's what will be made. If 10% of the market wants some cool style, well, sometimes, they'll get ridden roughshod over.

Stretching the topic... (5, Insightful)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | about 9 years ago | (#13491894)

I'm not sure how many others are with me on this, but I am getting tired of realistic games in general.

It's cool to have physics that work like real life but then again, that's not why I play games! I play them so I can see things that can't be done in real life. Remember in Virtua Cop when you shot someone they flipped around like the bullet was 20 times powerful than it should be? That was cool! I loved it when RUSH came out because it let cars drive with semi-realistic physics but they could fly off cliffs and float in the air unrealisticly - but it was awesome and fun! I want the physics to be a little warped. I want characters to be huge compared to normal humans. I want them to be able to do things not possible in real life... I want to see things I've seen in a few games to be extended upon - such as jumping off walls, or small explosions that make characters bounce really far into the distance... I don't know! Just something new and crazy that isn't supposed to happen in our laws of physics!

Realism is a ceiling (1)

Andrew Lenahan (912846) | about 9 years ago | (#13491908)

We must remember that realism is a ceiling. Once a photorealistic 3D gaming engine achieved, there's really nowhere else to go but towards new realms of style and pushing the boundaries of gameplay. I'm fascinated to think what games are going to look like in 15 years... I'm still waiting for a game which looks like a 3D moving impresionist painting. But that's just me.

I see no particular "better" or "worse" in the realism vs. style debate. Realism draws the player in and helps to create a sense of connection with the player's real life and world... great for horror games and driving games in particular. An interesting visual style, on the other hand, helps a game stand out from the crowd and be memorable... there's a zillion realistic and serious games, but we tend to remember ones like Mario, and Katamari Damacy which create whole universes of their own. River City Ransom is recalled as a classic, while Double Dragon is scarcely remembered at all these days.

I see no reason at all why realism and style must be mutually-exclusive even within the same series. Final Fantasy games tend to be on the realistic side, but most gamers also enjoyed the chibi-ism found in Final Fantasy Tactics. Developers: pick whatever suits your game and go with it.

Style is fine, but certains games... (1)

SteveXE (641833) | about 9 years ago | (#13491916)

Style is fine by me but make a new game, dont take one as loved as Zelda and turn it into some saturday morning cartoon. I grew up playing the series and with OOT it seemed maybe the series would grow up with me but in standard Nintendo fashion they made it with a childish look that just didnt apeal to me. I bought Wind Waker and I liked it but graphics aside it was not as good as OOT, it was filled with so much boring sailing and BS tasks it was just a snooze fest for most of the game. Im glad they are changing the art direction but what about the gameplay? Call me crazy but I dont want to play as a Wolf, I want to play as Link! What if Aragorn suddenly turned into a wolf half way through the movie, it would be stupid. Hopefully the story mechanic is done well enough that it wont hurt gameplay, and more so I hope the gameplay is used well and not overdone simply to extend the wolf sequences.

Serious Question for Slashdot "Editors" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491925)

Why hasn't Slashdot donated any money to the victims of hurricane Katrina? I understand OSS people are cheapskates, but this is ridiculous.

Shame on you, Slashdot!

IS IT FUN??? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | about 9 years ago | (#13491927)


The larger question at hand, however, is perhaps unanswerable: Is the point of gaming to recreate reality, or should it go beyond realism, into the realm of art?

Yeah... Right.. IS IT FUN TO PLAY??!?!

It's fantasy, soooo... (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | about 9 years ago | (#13491947)


I already know what reality looks like, and the whole point of games is to ESCAPE that.

I don't want to feel like I'm playing a modern version of DOOM from 1997.

Roots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491955)

I was under the impression that Wind Waker was made for those who played Zelda on the NES and SNES, to induce some nostalgia. Personally I've never seen Zelda as a very adult franchise. Its always been fairly cutesy and cartoony. I like it that way. The graphics in a Link to the Past could have been much more "realistic" (ala Final Fantasy, for instance), but they chose very vibrant, and simplistic tiles and graphics for a reason...
If I want something serious and realistic, I'll buy an XBOX, or maybe I'll get Metroid Prime. I can also fire up Doom3 or HL2 on my PC. I literally bought a gamecube for two reasons. One, the Resident Evil franchise. Two, the stylized and unique Nintendo franchise games.

In any case, do you really think that a console can keep up with the PC after its been out for a few years? I dont believe that graphics should be a draw in console games, at least not years after their release. Stylized graphics seem to be a lot easier to pull off on older hardware, and if the gameplay is solid, do you really care?

pedantic flaw (1)

MegaFur (79453) | about 9 years ago | (#13491974)

The problem I have with this, is that one of the two types is called "realism", and, to me, realism means more than just, "well the polygons have all this nifty shading and lighting."

But hey, at least it's not Jon Katz! And there are little pictures along the side too. I like it.

They are all missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13491991)

There are only two candidates to the best Zelda game. A Link to the Past, and Ocarina of Time (to come out clean, I'm on the side of ALttP). Graphics had nothing to do with their greatness. They had big, expansive worlds, filled to the brim with intelligent puzzles and challenging enemies.

That is all there is to it. If they use ascii graphic, I won't care, as long as there are a lot of good dungeons to go through, and different ways to solve each of them.

Trix is for Kids! (1)

Mad Ogre (564694) | about 9 years ago | (#13491995)

The problem that the gaming industry needs to somehow resolve is the knee-jerk reaction/impression that Video Games are just for kids. The rating thing isn't seeming to do it. Movies, it's a given, that some are for kids, others for families, and others are for Dates, Chicks, Guys, and sicko-freaks. The "Summer Movies" are well known to be for guys that like big hair and big boobs on girls who are holding guns... and thusly not really movies for kids. But in essence there are movies that are not for everyone... and everyone pretty much knows that. With Video Games, the general opinion is that they are all for kids. Considering that the Gaming Industry is starting to take in more money that the Movie Industry (Look at the $ numbers for Halo II compaired to what the movies brought it) and we can see that obviously they have some financial power if they pulled together on some things like propper marketing strategies that divided the audiences. So that eventually people would just get used to the idea that Games are not just kiddie stuff. Funny how Congress got worked up over Hot Coffee, yet have no problem with the readily available porn on the Net. This stems from a base misunderstanding of the nature of the Gaming Industry, the games themselves, or the people playing the games.

I liked the cel shaded look. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13492001)

It is certainly more "realistic" looking than the SNES Zelda game I played last. I didn't play the N64 games when they were state of the art so I don't know if they were impressive at the time, but I think they are very pixellated. Nintendo would probably have been better served by going for something more like the cel shaded look for the N64 Zelda games. Anyways, I wouldn't mind if they did another cel shaded Zelda. They did a very good job on the last one. Are there any other cel shaded games out there like it?

It wasnt the Cell.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13492003)

It was the fact you made him look like a total faggot!
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