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 Post subject: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Hi,

I was thinking today, why do we still seem to love the nostalgia look and feel of the 320x200 VGA look. Am I the only one who is thinking that maybe its time to look beyond that?

What if a game like KQ1VGA was to be remade again in the future but using 720p or 1080p scaled graphics instead. Would you still play KQ1HD like you did KQ1VGA?

I mean LucasArts have raised the remake bar with their Monkey Island 1 remake using HD graphics. Does this now mean that 'MucasArts' will soon remake Monkey Island 2 the same way?

And most AGS games made right now still retain the old 320x200 resolution. Do we regard higher resolutions differently with less excitement because we are still used to low res look-and-feel?

I want to make a new AGS game one day which will also include a extended edition on my first one, I am contemplating whether to stick to 320x200 or move up to a higher resolution to get with the times.

Whats your opinion on the current VGA style we seem to have idolised for so long. Does anyone think the next Sierra remake (i.e: KQ4 or PQ2...whatever) should be in a higher resolution?


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:52 pm 
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deltamatrix wrote:
I mean LucasArts have raised the remake bar with their Monkey Island 1 remake using HD graphics. Does this now mean that 'MucasArts' will soon remake Monkey Island 2 the same way?

Already done. See here.

As for the main topic, I'm one of those people who don't get too nostalgic over seeing low resolution graphics. I've never seen the point in upgrading the music, the sounds, the animations, the number of colors... but leaving the game in a low resolution, as if that's the main thing that keeps the game "loyal." Not even close. As with anything else, it's all about the gameplay. The Monkey Island remakes are proof of this. Hell, even Sam & Max in 3D is a good example.

If you can, do everyone the favor and make your game in high resolution and make it look clean and sharp instead of pixelated.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:43 pm 
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I'm pretty sure, nevertheless, that a lot of amateur gamemakers would just love to make a high res game if only those darn animators who'd be willing to take the time to animate a complete game in high res wouldn't be so hard to find. It's not like Moore's law applies to people's free time.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:55 pm 
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320x200 is just easier to do. It's easier to draw, easier to animate, easier to match the style of the classics, etc. So I don't blame people, especially amateurs making a free game, for going with 320x200, and I do appreciate a good game in that resolution.

I think if they did manage to pull off a high-resolution game, with widescreen support and square pixels, that'd be even better.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:13 pm 
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I may be in the minority here, but I don't think the Monkey Island remake (the first one at least) transferred over to high-res as well as well as the hype would have us believe. I thought a lot of the charm was lost, the characters didn't look overly good (Flash art style definitely left a lot to be desired). The animations were also quite crude as the frame-rate wasn't increased from the low-res version. A one-frame door opening animation is barely acceptable for a low-res game, but it looks horrid in a hi-res one!

Lucasarts, being... well, LucasArts, could have made it much better and more polished. I mean, we copped a lot of flack over the animations in Al Emmo, but in spite of our low budget, we still put in the effort to make even simple animations detailed and fluid (like opening doors) by making them contain an adequate number of frames. With all the money LucasArts makes, they really skimped. Yet they still received overwhelming praise for aspects many low budget indies would be criticized for!

The whole thing felt very jarring for me to play through in comparison to the original VGA version and not even Dominic Armato's and Earl Boen's voices really helped to smooth things out. You could tell the actors were quickly rattling off lines from a script, rather than receiving the same kind of coaching/direction they would have received for their voicework on Tales. That really showed. To me, the graphics and voices felt forced. I think the major thing that threw things off for me was actually the pseudo high-res artwork, a lot of which was just lazy and rushed. (Probably outsourced.) I would have preferred to see a proper remake in "Curse" style.

I think if a game's going to be done in hi-res, it should be done right. If you're going to take advantage of including better-looking backgrounds, then skimping on the animation frame-rate and rushing actors through their lines so you don't have to pay them more, just ends up defeating the purpose and shows in the end result!


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Erpy wrote:
I'm pretty sure, nevertheless, that a lot of amateur gamemakers would just love to make a high res game if only those darn animators who'd be willing to take the time to animate a complete game in high res wouldn't be so hard to find. It's not like Moore's law applies to people's free time.

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From a traditional animator's perspective, high resolution is as costly as low resolution, but I concede low resolution tends to fix mistakes and make traces look smoother.

From a programmer's perspective, in the days of MS-DOS it was true that a 320x200 resolution was infinitely easier to handle than any other graphic mode, which is the reason almost all MS-DOS games were done with a 320x200 resolution. Coding had more weight than animation work in this choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:44 pm 
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For me, the 320x200 resolution is really a visual throwback to the late 80's/early 90's heydey of Adventure Games. It's the same reason why some film-makers choose to shoot in black and white or using an old Kodak Film Stock or an old 70's Panavision Camera - you're capturing the feel of an era. There's pluses, in my opinion, to low res and high res.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:21 am 
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I totally agree with everything AGC2 says here. I find myself saying that a lot lately, but I'm sorry, it's true.

I recently posted in another thread about how I am sort of "eh" about the new MI2SE screenshots and how I feel like they seem a bit sterile. Then I went back and took another look at MI1SE, and I will say that, while the upgraded backgrounds are certainly well done, a "proper" remake along the lines of "Curse" would have been preferable. People may say the MISE remakes are extremely faithful to the originals, and yeah that's true, but to me it seems like they half-assed it in simply sprucing up the existing art. It's the same thing LucasArts did with the EGA to VGA upgrades for Loom, Indiana and the original Monkey Island. I've always felt that LucasArts gets a pass for all kinds of things... like the shortness of many games, the lack of interaction with the environment (compared to Sierra games, LucasArts environments often feel like static, untouchable and unexaminable play drama sets rather than worlds to explore), the choppiness of the animation in some of their games like MI1, etc. I also find the character art and animation (both closeups and noncloseups) in MI1SE to be a bit lacking, in that the characters often look and move like personality-less puppets.

Having said all that, OF COURSE MI1 is a memorable classic, very original and, at times, a very funny game. Still, I expected more from the special edition.

As far as high res games go, one needs only to take a look at Curse of Monkey Island (way too short a game, by the way!) or Leisure Suit Larry 7 (very fun, satisfying game with great style, atmosphere, oodles of gameplay and areas to explore) to see that high res (or higher res than 320x200) games, if done right, can be as good as any... if not better. These games were designed from the beginning to take full advantage of the high res graphics. I believe it is when high res graphics are used to revamp old EGA graphics without major reworkings of the art style and essentially remaining within the same stylistic confines of what the original EGA aritists were bound by (which is basically what MI1SE is, since MI1VGA simply added more colors to the original MI1EGA design) that you run into problems leading to a less charming, more sterile and anemic-looking product.


Last edited by pbpb33 on Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:11 am 
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deltamatrix wrote:
What if a game like KQ1VGA was to be remade again in the future but using 720p or 1080p scaled graphics instead. Would you still play KQ1HD like you did KQ1VGA?

I mean LucasArts have raised the remake bar with their Monkey Island 1 remake using HD graphics. Does this now mean that 'MucasArts' will soon remake Monkey Island 2 the same way?

I would play either, without regard for resolution. Everyone appreciates beautiful graphics, but I think the classic-style adventure game audience, when compared to fans of other genres, generally tends to place greater value on other things like story, puzzles, sometimes humor, etc. The important things for me are quality/polish of the product, ease of play, originality, intelligent writing, clever but logical puzzles (quirky and unconventional is always good!), how engaging, atmospheric (good music helps), challenging it is, etc. I especially like games with mystery, drama (with cinematic elements, cutscenes, etc.), cliffhangers, plot twists and large, varied environments that are as explorable and interactive as possible.

Also, I find it interesting that you say that LucasArts raised the bar here; I actually think they set a very low bar for themselves with these "special edition" titles. The cosmetic improvements are, surprisingly, not that dramatic, and the voice acting, while good, sometimes has awkward pauses and less comedic impact than what I felt when I was simply reading in the older versions. Setting aside the (I believe less important) hi/low resolution issue, which seems to have to do with budget and production time issues, the three AGDI remakes (which are filled with gorgeous and effective virtual atmosphere-creating graphics, music and sound effects), especially my fvavorite, KQ2, are far more ambitious - and rewarding for players looking for a more fully improved gaming experience over the original titles they were based on - than these "special edition" releases, all things considered.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:22 pm 
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Am I the only one who wants to play an AGI parser version of Monkey Island? :p


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:29 am 
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Lambonius wrote:
Am I the only one who wants to play an AGI parser version of Monkey Island? :p


Agreed! :D If only we could clone the AGDI team over and over so that we'd have a small army of AGDIers to work their magic on more classic titles. I'm also looking forward to any new, original stuff they might come out with in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:16 pm 
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I can't help feeling a desire to want to watch movies and play games in higher resolutions. Guess I'm moving on. lol

As time goes by, the Nintendo Wii's 480p graphical limitation does seem to get more annoying when compared with my girlfriends Xbox 360 which is set as 1080p.

I would like to see an enhanced version of Day of the Tentacle with virtually the same graphics but upscaled to a higher and widescreen resolution. Although, if I had it my way, only the graphics would change and the original puzzle logic and voice samples would remain the same. Kinda a hacked version of DOTT you coudl say.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:43 pm 
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I'm glad to see that i'm not the only "freak" in the universe that still enjoys playing adventure games at 320x200 resolution. I don't know if its the nostalgia or not, but i really have a thing with the pixelated 320x200 graphics. They have a special appeal to me. It's like making a new version of the film Casablanca in full color. I think it would ruin the experience. The glory of the film was in good old black and white. Why do you think Steven Spielberg filmed Schindler's List in black and white? I think its just a matter of taste and nobody can blame you for that. If everyone wanted the same woman or everyone wanted the same car then the world would be in serious trouble.

Going back to adventure games i would like to make another example by saying that some people like character portraits in adventure games, but personally i like having the option to turn it on or off as i please. Also i would love the option to switch from point & click to text parser like AGDI did with Quest for Glory 2.

Personally i would prefer to play Monkey Island Special Edition with the old 320x200 graphics if only the new narrated voices would work for that mode. Unfortunately they don't. However its great that you can switch from the new graphics to the original resolution with the press of 1 button. To be honest i like to have different options, and it would be even more amazing if you could switch to 3d as well.

So i come to the conclusion that its all a matter of taste. Some people enjoy the fancy HD graphics with millions of colors and some others like myself prefer the 256 color 320x200 resolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:21 pm 
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pbpb33 wrote:
Lambonius wrote:
Am I the only one who wants to play an AGI parser version of Monkey Island? :p


Agreed! :D If only we could clone the AGDI team over and over so that we'd have a small army of AGDIers to work their magic on more classic titles. I'm also looking forward to any new, original stuff they might come out with in the future.


He said "AGI" not "AGDI". He means a remake of Monkey Island in the style of Sierra's first adventure games with the blocky graphics, 16 colours, parser interface, and no mouse support. Games like KQ1, KQ2, KQ3, SQ1, SQ2, PQ1, Gold Rush, etc. ;)

deltamatrix wrote:
As time goes by, the Nintendo Wii's 480p graphical limitation does seem to get more annoying when compared with my girlfriends Xbox 360 which is set as 1080p.


If it helps you, games for either the 360 or PS3 are RARELY natively in 1080p resolution. 95% of games are actually in 720p only and only a percentage of those games are actually able to upscale the 720p graphics to 1080p. So really, 19 times out of 20, it's the difference between 480p and 720p rather than 480p to 1080p. So it's not as big a difference....but it is still a difference. Nintendo needs to get on the ball and make a Wii HD console. With a hard drive. None of this cost-cutting nonsense.

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I would like to see an enhanced version of Day of the Tentacle with virtually the same graphics but upscaled to a higher and widescreen resolution. Although, if I had it my way, only the graphics would change and the original puzzle logic and voice samples would remain the same. Kinda a hacked version of DOTT you coudl say.


It would be neat if the same cast came back to rerecord the same dialogue but in HQ audio. Otherwise I agree.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:16 pm 
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papste wrote:
Personally i would prefer to play Monkey Island Special Edition with the old 320x200 graphics if only the new narrated voices would work for that mode. Unfortunately they don't.

You're hardly the only one with that opinion. It's why LucasArts stated that the LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition will have voicework in either mode.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:01 pm 
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Brainiac wrote:
papste wrote:
Personally i would prefer to play Monkey Island Special Edition with the old 320x200 graphics if only the new narrated voices would work for that mode. Unfortunately they don't.

You're hardly the only one with that opinion. It's why LucasArts stated that the LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition will have voicework in either mode.


Yeah, this really was an obvious oversight on their part, and one that seemingly would have been so easily corrected with little effort. It's not like they have to worry about lip synching or anything with 320X200 sprites! Playing the classic game that I grew up with with full voicework is one of the main reasons I'm looking forward to the new special edition so much!! I'm also interested in the new graphics, though, which I think are a really cool way to pay tribute without really changing the original feel of the game. I'm one of those people who really liked the revamped graphics of the first special edition, though I understand the criticisms they received from many others.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:29 pm 
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It wasn't an oversight. They flat out said they didn't put narration in classic mode in SMI:SE on purpose because they wanted the classic mode experience to be as authentic as possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:44 pm 
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MusicallyInspired wrote:
It wasn't an oversight. They flat out said they didn't put narration in classic mode in SMI:SE on purpose because they wanted the classic mode experience to be as authentic as possible.


True, I had read that as well. I guess I meant oversight in the sense that I personally think it was a bad design decision and that it should have been obvious to them that people would want to play the original version (graphics and music) but with voicework added. I mean, how hard would it really have been for them to simply include that option?


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:08 pm 
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Yeah. But really the LA of today doesn't have a clue what the fans want. They more or less approximated the best they could with SM:SE and got lucky for the most part. Now that they know they seem to be listening to the fans with the second remake.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:31 am 
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MusicallyInspired wrote:
Yeah. But really the LA of today doesn't have a clue what the fans want. They more or less approximated the best they could with SM:SE and got lucky for the most part. Now that they know they seem to be listening to the fans with the second remake.


Yeah. In the end, I'm glad it got made, period. For its few failings, it was awesome to re-experience the game with the revamped graphics/sound/music, and I'm super glad that Lucasarts seems to be remotely interested in reviving some of its old IPs. If only Activision would follow suit with some of the old Sierra IPs! But Activision's a very different company, and I won't be holding my breath.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do we still prefer 320x200?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:36 am 
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Lambonius wrote:
If only Activision would follow suit with some of the old Sierra IPs! But Activision's a very different company, and I won't be holding my breath.


Yeah, my prediction is that in the future we'll see more products billed as interactive fiction, and grouped more with movies/books/graphic novels/manga and less with action and RPG "games". Seems like there is a lot of potential to explore there. Jane Jensen has talked a lot about this. I could imagine companies like Activision revisiting their old adventure game lines when the interactive fiction niche market really catches on.


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