The Strange Appeal of Lo-Fi Gaming

By Steve Pringle (freelance)

In the battle for substance over style, there have been many set piece battles but no resolution. Worse still, the gaming public seem to be swaying towards the latter, as indicated by the weekly charts. While benchmark, well-reviewed games always manage to do well, the amount of hidden, yet wonderfully coruscating gems that slip through the net is criminal. I am sure many reading this are definitely not guilty of style-buying, but until quality games crack the mainstream consistently, the problem remains.

I have personally formulated my own solution to this problem. Remember Resident Evil? Graphics were indescribably better on GameCube, agreed? However, this does not make the original PSone version any less scary. Playing it on the creaky old console, disc scraping as the agonisingly slow, horrendously animated door abrasively becomes ajar, still pumps the adrenaline on a par with Silent Hill 3 or whatever. I feel, as a gaming public, we ought to indulge in this more often.

These games emit so much intrinsic and idiosyncratic charm that, if anything, grows with age and becomes irresistible. The grainy graphics on the first Silent Hill, the ridiculous lack of blood on Time Crisis, the atrocious comedy commentary on the whole ISS series, I could go on.

Not to shun new technology, this would be brutally ignorant as we need developers to use this technology to give us a better gaming experience, not to shift games. These are the kind we should shun with my method, or any other we can think of to prevent these consumer games becoming successes.

I hope that this has driven home some of the overwhelming pluses of favouring substance over style when it comes to gaming.

Article written by Steve Pringle, an independent journalist whose views may not reflect those of

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