When a friend is telling you about a new or unfamiliar video game, they may describe the gameplay genre, or the narrative and story, and you might find yourself intrigued. But then you go to look up the game and discover that you lose interest when you see the art. Or maybe the opposite happens, where you’re not sure about a mechanic that dominates a game, but it’s just so visually interesting you try it and find yourself hooked. As a medium, video games have advanced a great deal over the years and developers have a number of options and tools when considering how the game should look. What’s your favorite art style for a game?
Early video games had technical limitations and were forced to use basic pixel art. Over the years there have been leaps and bounds made in the ability for computers, and thus video games, to render and display more complex and realistic graphics. While we may not quite yet be at the point that graphics are photorealistic, we grow closer to that with every passing year. While some players want the most powerful, realistic looking games, others prefer a more simple, pixelated art style, or at least a more stylized approach. The art in video games can help shape the experience of the player in direct and subtle ways, and different art can suit different games.
While we may prefer realistic graphics or a throwback pixel art style, just like many aspects of a video game, whether it’s music, story, or art, it’s most important that these parts fit with the whole. Some gameplay feels right in a more cartoon-like or pixelated style, like many platformers. When playing a modern FPS, it would be strange to have 8-bit graphics, and often a realistic or tone-specific style of art makes the most sense. Despite all of this, even if the art is the right choice for a game, sometimes it doesn’t resonate with us as individuals.
For me, I generally prefer pixel or hand-drawn art that is more stylized. I’ve also found myself growing in my appreciation of the art in some games after playing them. Wandersong comes to mind as a game where I was iffy about the art when I started, but fell in love with the characters and design as I continued to play it.
What about you? What’s your favorite art style in games? Have you ever been pulled into a game you didn’t expect to, because of art? Have you ever been turned off by a game’s art? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on the Boss Rush Discord.