Category Archives: Blog

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

Ugh.

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.

Zel-out

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.