New Games Plus: I hate the uncanny valley

As our gaming systems become more and more powerful, the expectation of “better” graphics goes along with that. Ask 95% of gamers what “better graphics” means, and they’ll likely answer “realistic.” So what they’re really asking for is more realistic graphics. It’s a shame, too, because realistic graphics aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. Every generation’s attempts at graphics that try to imitate real life only look good until something comes out that looks even more real; after that, it’s hard to go back to the old style. The more realistic the graphics, the deeper into the uncanny valley they delve. And nobody likes the uncanny valley. It’s like looking at a soulless video game of real dolls.

Thankfully, developers are realizing that there are better ways to doing things. Now, we have games like Okami, Valkyria Chronicles, and now the new Prince of Persia — the latter conveniently being released this week. These games have diverged from the ever-popular life-like visual approach and instead opt for something a bit more, well, artistic. While such games might not draw in audiences with their graphics at the moment, they’ll hold up for years to come. Compare that to something like Condemned, which doesn’t look very good anymore — and it’s only three years old.

But hey, enough pointless rambling, it’s time for celebration. The winter rush will so be over, but already releases are thinning out! After the jump, witness the only two games worth a damn this week:

Prince of Persia: Ubisoft decided to reboot the Prince of Persia series, and boy did they ever. New Prince, new look, new story. If they could somehow capture the pure amazing factor that Sands of Time offered, this will be one helluva game. Fingers crossed.

Singstar ABBA: Everybody needs some ABBA karaoke. You all know the words to Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia, so don’t even pretend like you don’t want this game.

So yeah, that’s really it this week. Just wait until January when there’s a week with nothing but the newest Imagine: Babyz game.

8 thoughts on “New Games Plus: I hate the uncanny valley

  1. I picked up the remake of Kingdom Hearts: CoM for PS2. Its pretty decent, even if its almost identical in everything but the graphics to the GBA version.

  2. I forgot all about KH:CoM coming out this week. Guess it’ll have to wait until next year because I’m waiting for P4 next week.

  3. I, for one, look forward to those January weeks. Then I won’t be so tempted to buy the hot new awesome-looking game of the week every week.

    As a gamer, I both love and loathe this time of year. My backlog certainly hates it.

  4. I know what you mean about realistic graphics. My roomate ties up the plasma display with the new Call of Duty Games for 60 hours a week. While the game is well made and in many ways a technical marvel, I am sick of looking at it. It is a big finely detailed ball of mud. Mud sky, mud ground, mud blood. Give my blue skies and white sand. Give me turn of the century Sega!

  5. So when a game with good gameplay has low-res, grainy, blurry or otherwise “bad” graphics, the retort to this is “graphics don’t matter! It’s all about gameplay!”

    Yet: when a game with equally good gameplay is super-hi-res and features ultra-detailed photorealistic graphics, the first thing people do is complain that it’s got creepy faces or it’s all the wrong color palette.

    “Boo hoo! Fallout 3 is too brown for me!” Of course it’s brown. The first two games were brown. It’s a post-apocalyptic landscape.

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