Did anyone complain about the graphics in Super Mario Bros?

Did anyone complain about the graphics in Super Mario Bros?

Summary: Still working on full text feeds. Again, I'm sorry for the delay. The article talks about a thread on Web Worker Daily about whether or not we need Rich Internet Applications. I break out a video game analogy and have a cool screenshot of Mario from Wikipedia.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Super Mario BrothersThere's an open thread going on over at Web Worker Daily that asks, do Rich Internet Applications matter to you. Anne Zelenka has some commentary about what she thinks of RIAs and makes the point I see a lot, that things like Gmail, and del.icio.us offer "more-than-acceptable" interfaces with a lot of power. For the most part the comments consist of people saying they don't care about RIAs, they just want applications that perform the tasks needed. There's also a bit of a groundswell for offline connectivity which is important to note.

But here's the thing. I don't want to take your productivity away. My idea of a good Rich Internet Application isn't one that is all glitter and no substance. RIAs can be delivered inside the browser or they can be deployed on the desktop. The idea of putting a desktop like experience in the browser with RIAs is so that we can make them more powerful *and* easier to use. Make them sticky for the users and, god forbid, fun to use while being productive.

When Super Mario Brothers came out in 1985, we were all pretty blown away by the graphics and the experience. Those 8 little bits of plumber were really, really cool and no one was complaining about the graphics or the game. But did we stop there? Did we decide that Mario was good enough as a pixelated block man? No, and thank goodness. Mario got our juices flowing and thinking about how much further we could take this. Now we have games like Gears of War that look absolutely spectacular. We have games like Guitar Hero that are a blast to play. Why can't our applications be like that? Why can't we be productive and enjoy a great experience?

It's not a zero sum game, I promise.

Topic: Browser

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17 comments
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  • Seems we've lost our way

    Games today are rarely fun. Most, not all, are just a method of showing off flashy graphics while the game play sucks.

    I guess back in 1985 when you had only limited graphics to work with it forced you to concentrate on game play and fun.
    voska
    • RE: Seems we've lost our way

      I'll buy that to an extent, but I think part of that is just nostalgia. The Wii is awesome but it isn't a graphics powerhouse. But I'm a big fan of Oblivion and I think that's a fun game with great graphics.
      ryanstewart
      • RE: Seems we've lost our way

        I don't think it's entirely nostalgia. Companies have finite resources and when you spend on increased graphics, something else has to give.
        rpmyers1
    • Those are some nice rose colored glasses you've got there:

      In 1985, we had about the same good/bad ratio that we have now. For every Super Mario game, there were four E.T's.
      In 2007, for every Oblivion, there are 4 Charlie's Angels. The graphics still don't make a bad thing good, but graphics definitely make a good thing great.

      -Dingo
      Master Dingo
      • RE: Those are some nice rose colored glasses you've got there

        Very well said Dingo. I agree, the graphics make a good thing great. Much more realistically enjoyable. :)
        ryanstewart
    • Rose-tinted consoles

      I remember buying games in the 80s. Every month you'd buy a magazine and
      there would be something like 60 or 80 new games, a month - and of those
      games there would be about 3 that were worth buying. I remember games that
      came in outsize boxes and novellas. I remember people falling over themselves
      over the graphics in Elite and Mercenary - so I think it's a case of historical
      Darwinism - we remember the good stuff, and not the huge volume of trash.

      I also remember the reaction of people with DOS machines to GUI machines like
      the Amiga or Atari ST - 'toys' / 'games machines' - because they had more than
      16-colours and mice. You had business people, at the time, who quite seriously
      believed that GUI interfaces weren't going to catch on. All the software the world
      needed was in DOS, or on the VAX/IBM mainframe, connected by terminals (and I
      was still writing for monochrome terminal based systems in 1992) . . . you had
      businesses that didn't see the point of the Internet ('the new CB radio') - is it me,
      or is that displaying a complete failure of imagination?

      I'm not expecting businesses to leap in feet-first - by their nature most
      businesses are conservative about new trends and the first web bubble is an
      example of what goes wrong when you leap at a technology before it's ready - but
      being unable to see the inevitability of certain changes just because you have so
      much investment in the old way of doing things is not good business sense.

      The internet only really got going after the first web bubble burst, and I expect
      we'll see something similar with web apps - an abundance, a crash and backlash,
      then the next thing we know . . . they're everywhere.
      JulesLt
      • RE: Rose-tinted consoles

        You are spot on Jules. I loved this paragraph:

        [pre]
        I also remember the reaction of people with DOS machines to GUI machines like
        the Amiga or Atari ST - 'toys' / 'games machines' - because they had more than
        16-colours and mice. You had business people, at the time, who quite seriously
        believed that GUI interfaces weren't going to catch on. All the software the world
        needed was in DOS, or on the VAX/IBM mainframe, connected by terminals (and I
        was still writing for monochrome terminal based systems in 1992) . . . you had
        businesses that didn't see the point of the Internet ('the new CB radio') - is it me,
        or is that displaying a complete failure of imagination?
        [/pre]

        I hope we don't have to have the crash to get abundance though. I'd like to think that the Web 2.0 movement can keep going and eventually people will start to see the value of great experiences.
        ryanstewart
        • Not the same situation Ryan

          The crash was brought about by a huge amount of greed backed by a wave of momentum when the industry was bloated with money, but didn't yet have a viable platform to return investment with. Honestly, it was like a macrocosm of the musical, "The Producers" where there was no possible way to make back the money that was being pumped into the concept stage of the Web as a whole. Web 2.0 doesn't evoke the same kind of excitement and blindness to the reality of the applicable use of the technology that 56k modems into broadband did back in the day.

          -Dingo
          Master Dingo
      • Well CLI *does* pwn GUI

        They were right about that. Much easier to say "type this" than "find the button that...no not that one...no...no the one that looks like..no, the other one..."
        macoafi
    • The iPhone answers the richness Question

      If people don't care about richness then why the heck people do care about the iPhone???
      apollohunter
      • Because they like driving off the road

        while trying to find a button on a touchscreen? I don't know. The whole idea of a phone that requires LOOKING to make sure you're dialing right just doesn't make sense outside the context of a rotary-dial landline. If it's a cell, it's going to be used in a car or under a desk for txt-ing. You have to be able to do those without looking, so touchscreens are just plain stupid. I don't get why anyone would want all that stuff integrated into one thing anyway. It doesn't make sense. A phone is a phone. Cameras, not phones, take photos. Calculators, brains, or paper & pencil, not phones, do math. Email is for computers. Hmm, maybe I just think like Unix. Lots of small parts are better than a big integrated mess (which is why I'll take webmail and Sunbird over Outlook/Evolution).
        macoafi
    • I agree somewhat...

      I am a Wii owner and don't see a reason to go to a PS3 or Xbox360.. Better graphics? Sure.. but with better graphics it seems, comes taking one week on how to use the damn controller.

      Instead with the focus not being on graphics so much and more on control and playability I can enjoy my games more.

      For hardcore gamers sitting there for the first few hours to learn isn't a bad thing. For the moderate gamers playing for a week to finally learn how to use the controls properly isn't a bad thing..

      To people who love games but don't care much for the 101 buttons on a controller that just gets confusing because we have to press the up at the same time as a forward and then an X to shoot just isn't as fun as... Pushing forward and using your wii to maneuver. Granted it still hasn't been perfect but it's alot easier to learn a game with a controller like that (or one like back in the SNES days) than it is with the games today.

      I mean look at FPS games on a computers today.. It's ridiculous how complex they have become. I can't even stand playing them (when I used to be a hardcore gamer back in the day), but all these new complications have turned me off to the new systems and the Wii has sucked me right back in.

      Easy to use, easy to understand.. and good playing time. Graphics are to be desired in comparison to the other next gen ones.. But really.. When it comes to ease, and playability, graphics are the least of my worries. They are just a good bonus to a good game.

      The only thing I hope the Wii gets are good RTS games now that it would be possible to point and click at your units to move them around. At that point I'd probably never use my computer again. :P

      For me graphics are secondary to game play. Graphics enhance game play to a point but eventually that plot line and obviously there are more people that agree with me than the people who are big graphic buffs as we can attest to the rate of people adopting Wii.
      ju1ce
    • It's true...Mario, Donkey Kong? Those were fun...new games aren't

      New games require too much coordination, have too many buttons, require too much time spent learning how it works...anyone can sit down with an original NES and Super Mario Brothers and have a blast.

      Not that I was alive in 1985 or anything...I just got my NES 5 years ago :) It's much more fun than my brother's PlayStation and PS2 and my cousin's GameCube and XBox.
      macoafi
  • Experience Matters

    When we talk about rich internet applications (RIA), I think it's important that we remember the reason behind the richness. It's a well proven and documented fact that "experience matters."

    Generic:
    You might eat at a restaurant with the best food in the world, but get terrible service. Will you come back? Likely not.

    Business:
    Starbucks charges $5 for a $0.50 cup of coffee. What's the difference? Experience - the smell, the music, the sounds, the sofas. Disney as an example is also all about the experience.

    Technology:
    Tell Apple that a clunky UI is satisfactory. Walk into an Apple store and see how it feels compared to CompUSA. From the sexy look and feel of the iPod, to the integrated browser in iTunes, Apple understands experience.

    Internet:
    HTML has historically been a distinctly poor experience. It is by its very nature about displaying textual documents. The 30-second page refresh isn't as gone as we like to think it is...

    Ajax, Flash, and Silverlight (et al) look to ease this pain. The problem comes when we abuse rich technologies. Not everything has to be rich. After all, sometimes I just want a cup of coffee and the $0.50 styrofoam cup will do just fine.

    Two cents,
    Kevin

    PS - For what its worth, Halo and the likes make me sick, but I can play Wii for hours.
    parkerkrhoyt
    • someone speaks of the light!

      we come from the dark ages, and there are still places were a console is useful... and it's all a matter of picking the battles.

      we must work on how nice it is to work with...

      graphics won't make the game, gameplay will...

      experience is king for keeping users around... business or game.

      tim hortons is the equivalent of Duncan Donuts in canada... except, no one will de-throme Tims from its position of control, as enough people just want a quick morning coffee on their way to work, they don't require a starbucks experience.

      meet the needs, at as many levels as possible, and don't do overkill, or you will lose sight of the needs, and get off track.
      shryko
  • Complain or Compliment?

    Ryan, the problem I have is the way you phrased your question:
    "Did anyone complain about..." That may have flown 20 years ago, but the truth is, consumers have become much more sophisticated. Expectations have risen, across all industries. Remember the auto and airline experiences 20 years ago?

    Buying a car in the 80's, you would get fleeced at the dealer, it was only a matter of how much. Cars, even new ones, would break down - I mean, just stop! This was, almost, expected.

    Flying - flights would be cancelled, and somehow, that was just an expected part of the travel experience.

    While the two examples still occur now, consumers do NOT accept them as the staus quo (nor should they). The business that ignores it's users demands, is the one that goes out of business.

    Quite frankly, I think we're on the edge of a revolution - a consumer revolution. They want computers that don't crash, and software that's easy to use.

    With all of the above, competition helped, and I think it's helping now, be it the solutions offered by MS, Adobe or some upstart startup.

    Cheers,

    David
    davidmartinomalley
    • graphic example still applicable

      people want stability, they want the easy-to-use...

      but that doesn't mean it has graphics power up the wazoo, doesn't mean the machine has everything and the kitchen sink... it means it has what it needs, and is well made.
      shryko