There was a time, children, way back when calendars spoke of the 80s and video game home consoles were in their infancy… Games were fun despite looking like nothing. Atari 2800 games were awkward and odd-looking, but you didn’t care because they were trippy and fun. Even early NES games were colorful, but it was the joy of playing them that launched a legendary company that is still around to this day. Super Mario Brothers still feels fun to play to this day.
Then, something happened. Sega had found that their Master System wasn’t getting the sales that they wanted. It was the number 2, hell, even number 3 in some regions. And a far away 2/3. This wasn’t a close contest. So Sega made a new console with much better hardware including video cards. And they told EVERYONE. The Genesis should be bought and your NES locked away in a closet and forgotten because…. Genesis is 16-Bit graphics to the NES 8-Bit graphics.
Damn you, Sega. You started a Graphics Pissing Contest.
The problem is that it worked. It formed the backbone to their “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” campaign as the two companies waged a vicious war for sales. Sonic was begat to go to war with Mario. The SNES came out and Nintendo made a point that it was 16-bit so hey, it was equal to Genesis. So Sega goes Sega CD, inspired by PC games. And then, they created the 32X add-on. Nintendo still made excellent games.
Despite the CD and 32X not making Sega the money they wanted, Sega still rushed out the Saturn. 32 Bits. 32 vs 16. Nintendo skipped 32 and rolled out N64. 64 Bits. This was after the Atari Jaguar skipped a few gens and went 64 a few years before, but that was a bomb so bad that I’m going to just suggest you ask James Rolfe about it. He knows bad consoles. So with Jaguars and Saturns it felt like deja vu. Here we go again and again. And, yet again.
Let’s be blunt. Bad games and rushed hardware killed Sega. So, that should have been it. We went from cartridges to discs though Nintendo’s first foray with the GameCube mini-discs, which was not well received by everyone. No one talked about bits anymore as the Sony PlayStation (If you say PS1 or PSX, then imma cut a bitch.) made Sony enough money they doubled down. So, out came PlayStation 2, while Microsoft finally got bored with PCs and came up with the Xbox. We got the Resolution War.
Sony and Microsoft wouldn’t make the same mistakes as Sega and Atari, right? It’s not about Bits. It’s RESOLUTION. That’s totally different… NO IT’S NOT!
We have spawned multiple generations of gamers since the Bit Wars started, and folks from every corner of the industry demanded that you pay attention to the graphics. HD Remastering. UHD Remakes. It’s got to look real. More real. More detail! The game is only a couple years old, but we put out new consoles so buy the game again in it’s new port!
We deserve it. My generation who was young when Sega started this pissing contest. We fell for it. We started sacrificing gameplay and mechanics for visuals. We taught our descendants to seek visuals first and foremost. Generation X sacrificed fun for flash and bang.
Even the hipsters aren’t immune. Think about it, reader. What happened when deep artistes wanted to snub the Resolution Revolution they simply brought back “pixelated games“. Even those trying to go against the grain, they market their indy games on their visuals. Just old visuals. Dumb Hipsters infuriate me, by the way.
So, what do we do my friends? It’s easy!
- Find the companies who don’t brag about the graphical superiority as part of their marketing.
- Stop buying ports and remakes of games only a few years after the release because “Derp! Cutting edge pretty pictures!“
- Go to those conventions, and tell the programmers you want different priorities.
- Join Me in wanting fun first, and eye candy second.
Yeah, that’s all I got.