Keep It Unreal

Like any green-blooded video game nerd, i was excited to hear that 2KGames was remaking the X-Com series. One of the very best games i’ve ever played, the original X-Com: UFO Defense enabled me to play out an Independence Day-esque scenario, leading my underpowered soldiers into battle as we slowly researched and stole alien technology to defeat the invading extraterrestrial horde.

X-Com: UFO Defense

The gameplay of the original title was so good, and the visuals were so charming, that when Warballoon appeared on Kickstarter with Star Command, which had a similar aesthetic and tactical play style, they got funded. Twice.

X-Com: UFO Defense

Fund me once, shame on you …

X-Com’s visuals are so distinct that you can take one look at an original X-Com screenshot and immediately say “that’s X-Com.” But take a look at a few screens from the upcoming remake:

X-Com: Enemy Unknown

… euh?

X-Com: Enemy Unknown


i see generic space marines fighting through generic-looking environments. The gameplay mechanic may be the same, but gone is the brand recognition and, more importantly, the visual charm that X-Com had in spades.


Wind Waker

Duh na na NAAAA!!

Similarly, when Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker with a bold new art direction, many game fans balked. When the company succumbed to fan outcry and returned to a more “realistic” depiction of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, i had far fewer moments of awe. i remember just sitting and staring at certain Wind Waker scenes because they were so breath-takingly simple and gorgeous. But with Twilight Princess, eye candy had become eye broccoli.

Wind Waker

Duh na na … nerp.

While there’s no accounting for taste (unless you work for Accounts Receivable at a restaurant), i’m not a big fan of the video game industry’s relentless pursuit of photorealism. Give me charm, character, and unique eye-pleasing visuals over faithful representations of boring old real life any day.

1 thought on “Keep It Unreal

  1. Mushyrulez

    Something to note here is that games seem to be morphing into an ‘alternative life’ with all this photorealism, when way back, video games were just escapism. What worse way to escape life by stepping into another one?


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