What Kind of Graphics Snob Are You?

What Kind of Graphics Snob Are You?

Want to know one of the biggest lies in gaming?  “I don’t care what it looks like, as long as the gameplay is awesome.”

Let’s face it, we’re all graphics snobs of one kind or another.  If we weren’t, there wouldn’t be pages upon pages of graphics-related debates on message boards throughout gaming history.  Everybody has a kind of game that they think looks the best, and a line of perceived graphical poorness that causes them to decide the gameplay just isn’t worth it. Just for fun, let’s look at the different kinds of graphics snobs you’ll find throughout the gaming community.  Where do you fit in?


These folks are very much into the technical side of gaming.  If a technocrat is a PC gamer, they’re the person who actually understands all the stuff Nvidia lists in its product specs, and they’re probably a big fan of mods that claim to increase graphical fidelity. Console technocrats, on the other hand, are responsible for Resolutiongate.  “1080p, 60fps!” is their battle cry. If you want to hear all about bump mapping or participate in a lively discussion about the merits of motion blur, talk to the technocrats.


Graphical technology is getting closer and closer to photorealism every generation, and these folks couldn’t be happier.  The more a game looks like real life, the happier they are.  Realists applaud improvements in motion capture and join Technocrats in pushing for high-res gaming. They’re less concerned with performance issues, though, and more interested in appreciating gorgeous, true-to-life vistas in games. If they have to suffer a bit of slowdown in the name of a gorgeous view, that’s all right.  The screenshots are worth it.

Grey 4 Lifers

This group also believes that games should be realistic, but their particular view of the real world is saturated in greys and browns. Too much color is viewed as fake and childish. Grey 4 Lifers are the ones who criticized Diablo III as a rainbow unicorn world compared to its predecessors. They’re also responsible for the long string of grey-brown (sometimes with camo green!) shooters that dominated the marketplace last generation. Many a flame war has broken out over whether you can really be Grey 4 Life or if it’s a phase that most gamers grow out of eventually.

What Kind of Graphics Snob Are You?

Design Hipsters

This is my personal category of graphical snobbery.  You’ll find us design hipsters sipping overpriced lattes and talking about how Rayman Legends will look better than Star Wars Battlefront in ten years. Design hipsters prefer games with an interesting and consistent artistic style over games that strive for realism but look somewhat generic. You can find many of us in the Nintendo and indie gaming fandoms, but we’re happy any time a game adopts a striking style that sets it apart from the norm. Watercolor game?  Art Deco game?  Gimmie gimmie gimmie.

Pixel Pushers

The retro gaming trend is strongly supported by these folks, who go by the motto, “If it ain’t a sprite, it just ain’t right.”  Pixel Pushers believe that games looked best when they left more to the imagination, and believe that the limitations imposed upon 8- and 16-bit gaming created a special art style that deserves to be celebrated.  You’ll find a lot of pixel pushers in the console RPG and platforming communities, asking for sprite-based art, 2D game design, ultra-difficult platforming challenges, and turn-based battles in RPGs. Most of them grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, and the younger generation thinks they’re kind of odd.

So what kind of graphics snob are you? I don’t feel like any of these viewpoints are wrong (well, maybe the Grey 4 Lifers); they just show how much diversity of opinion there is in the gaming community. What do your favorite games look like, and what do you beg developers to do when it comes to graphics?  Let us know in the comments!

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