07/21/2013 03:41 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2013

Graphics vs. Story


One of the biggest things that certain developers can't seem to get right is the importance of story over graphics, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I should first explain the technical difference between story and graphics.

Graphics are pretty self-explanatory. Graphics are the visual effects and detail in a movie or game. Meanwhile, story is what is happening in a movie or game. Story is, in my opinion, far more important, because a good story is what gives a movie or game immersion. Immersion is when the audience essentially enters the world of whatever they're doing. For a long time, advancing the graphics for entertainment was the priority for developers of games and directors of movies. A story was still important, but it was placed under the need for better graphics.

Which leads back to the issue from the beginning. Most games and movies today focus more on action sequences and explosions over an actual story. A perfect example is the Call of Duty series. They have prided themselves with some of the highest graphics of any game because of the amount of polygons (the shapes used to create 3d models) they use in each of the characters and environments. While this is true, they sacrificed any amount of story, and therefore lost the games' ability to create immersion for the player. Meanwhile, a game like the original Mario Bros has a much stronger and larger fan base, even though it is decades behind in graphics. The Mario Bros game has a better and more coherent story that kept its fans captivated, even though you could only move in one direction and your only goal was to save the princess.

For a successful game/movie, the story needs to trump the graphics in terms of priority. A great example of a movie that successfully incorporated both graphics and a strong story was "White House Down." While there were many explosions in the movie, it was evened out by the storyline. The story starts vague, but makes sense by the end, so that the audience is kept in the world of the movie to see what happens.

I have found a form of entertainment that almost always has a strong story with touches of amazing graphics. This is the most reliable form of entertainment because it has a limitation that movies or video games require, which is an image. I believe that books are easily the most reliable for a good story along with good "graphics" because the author is required to give detailed descriptions of characters and environments. The reader would otherwise be completely lost without some sort of image in their head of the character and environment described.

Obviously I'm not a professional critic of movies, books, or video games. On the other hand, I have noticed how certain franchises have done significantly better than others because of their strong stories, and less, but still enough, focus on the visual aspect. I will always choose a game, movie or book that spends more time developing a story rather than making it look better, and I think many people will do the same.