Raw with Jay: Graphics vs Gameplay

Raw with Jay: Graphics vs Gameplay

Update: 2021-05-14


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Graphics vs Gameplay

Graphics or gameplay, which is "more important" (hopefully you can hear the bunny quotes there)? Is a shiny veneer more important than an engrossing gameplay mechanic? Can't we just have both? What if we have neither? All of these questions, and more, will not be answered in this episode of Raw with Jay.

Series Intro

This is The Waffling Taylors Raw with Jay, a series of shorter episodes of indefinite length. These episodes will cover shorter topics which don't really fit well within the scope of the show, or topics that I want to cover in my own way. That's not to say that we won't cover these topics in the main show, but I'd like to take a whack at them here, first.

Anyway, let's get to it.

Graphics vs Gameplay

Firstly, this episode/rant/whatever was inspired by a tweet from Twitter user PlaySushiUK. Those who have heard our bonus episode with the folks behind lock-on - there'll be a link directly to it, in the show notes - will recognise PlayShushiUK as Jason Maddison, one of the folks behind the upcoming gaming journal.

It just feels like all I see is this exercise in mental masturbation and dick waving to try and prove a point as to which chosen console of yours can achieve this and that in terms of performance. What about story, mechanics, animation, collision detection, trigger events, etc?
- Jason Maddison

He was referring to a tweet by another user who had posited that:

It's bizarre nowadays, that alot of people I see who play a game are highlighting 4K, 60 fps, graphics, better textures, any technical jargon you can throw basically instead of talking about gameplay, story, characters, music first. There are some who do but we're in the minority
- Akira

Check the show notes for links to those tweets, by the way. And if you're not already following Jason, then you really should be.

This is another example of an age old argument which goes back to the playground at school - unless you're a long-in-the-tooth gaming journo (and by that I mean from the 80s, at the least). Remember when I brought this up in the previous [Raw with Jay on Gatekeeping?

And it's an argument which worked back in the day because each console had a completely different architecture and completely different graphics hardware. This meant that the games which were ported to different consoles naturally had a different graphical experience - go look into the differences between the original Resident Evil on the PlayStation vs the Sega Saturn version, for instance.

But since modern consoles are, effectively, PCs running Unix-like operating systems, that argument has been nullified. I mean, let's take a look at the PS5 vs Xbox Series X graphics hardware for instance:

In the white corner, sporting black trunks with white stripes is the PS5; weighing in with a Custom AMD RDNA 2 with 36 CUs @ variable frequency up to 2.23 GHz. And in the black corner, sporting white trunks with white stripes...

Seriously, the official brand colour guidelines even use the same colour pallet, THAT'S how similar they are

... Is the Xbox Series X; weighing in with a Custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2 architecture with 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz

Let's take a look at some of those terms because we don't want to get lost in alphabet soup.

First, both GPUs are created by the same company: AMD, with them both being the AMD Radeon RDNA 2 architecture. But even that argument is nullified by the fact that both are custom designs, so they don't match anything on the PC market.

Both GPUs sport a number of CUs - or compute units; technically

and mean technically

the more of these you have, the more things you can compute. But with the PS5 having fewer but faster CUs than the Xbox, they almost even out.

Full Show Notes

A full transcript of this "raw with Jay" episode is available over in the full show notes - because there are loads of books you can read, and web resources.

Do you prefer graphics or gameplay? Did you know what ray tracing was for before listening to this episode? Is ray tracing important to your gameplay experience? Did you know that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are essentially the same hardware? Would you like to hear more rants... I mean Raw with Jays?

Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, leave a comment on the show notes or try our brand new contact page.

And have you left us a rating or review? We really like to hear back from listeners about our show, so check out https://wafflingtaylors.rocks/our-podcast/ for links to services where you can leave us some wonderful feedback.

The Waffling Taylors is a proud member of Jay and Jay Media. If you like this episode, please consider supporting our Podcasting Network. One $3 donation provides a week of hosting for all of our shows. You can support this show, and the others like it, at https://ko-fi.com/jayandjaymedia

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Raw with Jay: Graphics vs Gameplay

Raw with Jay: Graphics vs Gameplay

The Waffling Taylors