Gushing about Graphics

Double Jump Kris MiiAs you may have heard, Rachel and I finally got our Nintendo Switch over the weekend! We had tried to play it for the first time on Saturday. The game we fired up was, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!

And, holy sugar, that game is so pretty…!

zelda-breath-of-the-wild

It’s amazing to me how far the graphics for video games have come since they first started being developed. From the simple Pong to virtual reality systems…

legend_of_zelda_nesFor example, look at how far we’ve come with the Legend of Zelda series. Comparing images from the original game back from 1986 to Breath of the Wild from this year shows a vast improvement in the graphics.

The original Legend of Zelda was great in its innovative birds-eye view of the protagonist and the development of various dungeons and items (and, of course, starting this wonderful series), but Breath of the Wild is gorgeous with its individual blades of grass and the winds and the creatures, both monstrous and simple. Breath of the Wild’s world is alive, and it’s partly thanks to the amazing amount of work that was no-doubt painstaking put into the graphics of this game.

It’s definitely a game that makes me want to break out my sketch books again, but… Well, then I wouldn’t be able to play the game while drawing, right?

 

How are you enjoying Breath of the Wild? What’s your favorite gaming art style?

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Friday Favorites: Super Mario Games

Double Jump Kris MiiThere’s tons of hype going on for the Switch and the games slated to come out for the console, such as Super Mario Odyssey. While the Zelda and Pokemon franchises are more popular in our household, the Super Mario brothers are certainly up there as well, most likely due to the fact that it was Super Mario games that I have the most vivid memories of when I first started getting into gaming as a kid.

So, for this Friday Favorites, here’s a list of my personal favorite Super Mario games!

Super Mario Bros. 3

While I have vague memories of the first couple of Super Mario Bros. games, it was the third installment that I really remember as a kid. Rachel’s and my older sister actually used to play the game, helping to introduce me to gaming as a whole. While our older sister phased out of the gaming scene, I have fond memories of playing with her, especially during the two-player battle mode (which, in hindsight, probably paved the way to me loving the Super Smash Brothers series so much!).

Yoshi’s Island

Everyone knows how adorable the Yoshis are in the Super Mario games, so it was exciting to actually play as Yoshi during Yoshi’s Island. I always loved the art style of this game, finding the sketchy, drawing-like quality to the backgrounds and characters to be adorable. Having a team of Yoshis helping each other out to reunite the two Mario brothers was such a cute story line too!

Super Mario Maker

This game was an awesome concept and it’s utterly fascinating to be able to create your own Super Mario Bros. levels for others to try! Rachel and I had fun creating “impossible” levels for each other, haha!

Paper Mario

The Paper Mario line has a special place in our house, what with both Rachel and me being fond of the series. The first Paper Mario was my favorite out of the line, as its design was charming and the story line reminded me much of my favorite Super Mario game. Considering that Paper Mario was the spiritual successor of Super Mario RPG, it’s not much of a surprise.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I may not even really need to explain this one… Super Mario RPG was the game that started me on the path to being a gamer. Watching my uncle play it (usually after I pestered him) then picking it up myself to finally conquering the final boss on my own brings me so many memories and nostalgia. Sure, the story line could be a little cliche, but the characters, the music, the writing, it was all amazing. It’s still one of my favorite games to replay!

What are some of your favorite Super Mario games?

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Gamer Arena

Double Jump Kris MiiHello everyone!

I’ve been out of school for years and, while education is very important, the classroom setting was never for me. On that note, though, I heard of a university in California that is setting up a gamer haven… 

The University of California-Irvine is doling out scholarships just for playing video games. If I knew about this place back when I was getting ready to go to college, I would have given it serious consideration if it looked as it does now.

The university is set to open its state-of-the-art gaming arena this week, and it boasts 70 gaming computers, each with their own set of gaming headphones and oh-so-comfortable looking chairs for the ultimate gaming experience. Televisions and monitors are set to adorn the walls to showcase leadership boards, and a section of the place will be dedicated to gaming consoles, such as XBox and Playstation. There’s also an area that will be dedicated to livestreaming.

With plenty of popular games — League of Legends, Overwatch, Minecraft, just to name a few — already pre-loaded on the computers and costing only $4 an hour to spend some time on the machines, the university’s gaming community looks set to explode. Considering that Irvine is one of the few universities to offer a Computer Game Science degree and that it’s “also in the backyard of a bunch of game studios,” it seems like a great investment for the place.

In all honesty, this isn’t too much of a surprise. Nowadays, video games are a widely accepted form of entertainment with some of the most impressive technology (virtual reality, anyone?), gorgeous art, and immersive story lines that we’ve ever seen. Gamers are a dominant force in the consumer world, and having dedicated gaming arenas are certainly nice.

Defending Gamers

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday, everyone!

If you’re reading this post, if you follow this blog, then I assume you’re a gamer. You love video games.

And I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with that.

There’s more to gaming than just sitting on the couch, snacking on potato chips, and staring at the screen all day long.

I mean, let’s be honest. If you were really a gamer you wouldn’t eat potato chips while playing. It would get the controller all greasy.

Anyway… Yes, I’m playing the game as my hobby, for my down time after a long day of work. I want to do something mindless, something fun. But it’s not just about staring at the screen and letting my mind go blank.

When I play a video game, I see a number of things.

Artwork and Graphics

Now that we’re in 2016 and we’re getting updated consoles, the video games coming out have been much more high-tech than they used to be.

uncharted 4 graphics double jump
Via Wikipedia

Take a look at Uncharted 4 by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment for the Playstation 4. It’s release date was May 10, 2016 so the graphics are pretty high up there on the cool scale. I mean, just look at the cover. It looks like a movie poster!

The main character on the front looks so realistic and the gameplay to follow will only impress you more.

ocarina of time graphics double jump
Via Wikipedia

Then there’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 way back in 1998.

The graphics aren’t as good as today’s games, but they’re still great. One, because they worked with what little technology they had at the time, and two, because they’re just old classics.

Music

How many of you start humming along during the opening of your favorite game? How many of you keep your character still in the middle of a scene just to absorb the lovely melody in the background?

Video games create the best music, in my opinion.

Take the Legend of Zelda again for another example. A good portion of the game is about Link learning music on his ocarina or his wind waker or whatever other instruments he tends to carry. They’re short melodies, but easy to remember, and everyone does remember them. The other music in the game is just as catchy and memorable; especially since they remix certain songs and mask it to put in the newer games. They recycle the old fantastic songs and make them new again.

And what about all those Mario games, huh? You can’t tell me that you don’t hum to that music or even mimic his voice.

Story

As a writer, I look for the plot in every single video game.

I’m being biased because The Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite video game franchises, but I think it’s the best example, so I’m going to use this game one more time.

To create such a complex timeline, memorable heroes, and villains, and overall just recreate the same plot, but just in a different light reincarnating your same characters is just… amazing.

When you play Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, each case is connected in some way allowing the player to fit the pieces together and have that “A-ha!” moment when they figure it out. The characters are easy to like and get along with and are perfect for the job of solving those ridiculous crimes.

There’s a lot that goes into video games that I didn’t touch upon, but graphics, music, and the writing are the three that usually get my attention.

It all goes into the “arts” category. Some people don’t believe that be a real “profession.” But if you went into a museum and saw a portrait of Mario hanging up on the wall, would you not consider it art because it was originally in a video game?

If you heard the famous Pokemon song playing on the radio, would you not consider it music because it was in a video game?

If you picked up a novel based on a video game (they’re out there!), would you not consider it literature because it was from a video game?

No. Because while playing video games is a hobby to me, I know that the game I’m playing is a masterpiece to those who created it.

What do you think about this? What are some of your favorite gaming graphics, music, and storylines?