Favorite Game Aesthetics?

Spookybun

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Hello there! I'm wondering what everyone's favorite aesthetic is in games. This might have already been asked? But I would personally like to ask it myself, anyways.

I'm someone that really likes aesthetics. Gaming mechanics and genre aren't included in this--well, genre kind-of is, as it can play a part in an aesthetic, but I'm not asking about genre. By aesthetic, I'm aiming more for the design-appeal of games.

In terms of visuals, is there a certain style of artwork you like? Or overall visual-theme? And in terms of sounds, is there a certain type of music style you enjoy listening to? Voice-acting could also be considered an aesthetic, if it appeals to you more as a design over a feature.

The aesthetic of the environment of the game could be based off of visuals, sound, or both together. Though both work together, you could like only part of it.

You could list anything of aesthetics you enjoyed from certain games, or you can list any aesthetic you like in games overall. You can also ask me to expand on anything, if you're uncertain of what I'm asking.
 

Black Pagan

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I liked the Design in "Don't Starve". Its very simple yet blends perfectly with the Game Environment. Since its a Survival Game, The Design makes a lot of sense - Its Very Basic, Uses few Colors, Easy on the Eyes and makes good use of Color Combination. I think it invokes the Feeling of "Loneliness" and "Struggle for Survival" perfectly with its Color Palette which are somewhat on a lighter tone or darker tone, And not the bright Yellows, Greens, Red and Blues we see in most games.
 

cthulhusquid

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One of my favorite aesthetics is "uncovering lost history", which I have noticed in Fallout 3 and Lord of the Rings Online.

In Fallout 3, when you leave Vault 101, you see the entire Wasteland stretching before you, ready to be explored. However, it's clear that everything is dead, but there are still glimmers of the past buried beneath the rubble. I knew nothing about the Fallout lore when I got it, so I even downloaded some mods to try and get a better view of what the mysterious "Pre-War" looked like. Also, unlike many, I really like the green tint overlaying everything.

In Lord of the Rings Online, there's the Evendim region. It has the same feeling of a "forgotten past", where the descendants of the Dunadain are trying to reclaim their heritage among the ruins of Second Age Gondorian architecture. A lot of the quests deal with finding relics and other lost treasures that are buried under the sands of the nearby river, or in tombs of forgotten Kings.
 

NinjaKittyProductions

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I wish I could comment on a particular aesthetic or game aesthetic but I really like any game where all of the elements meld together and do not make anything really stand out. Things along the lines of foreground couldn't exist without background, shadows couldn't exist without something to block the light, etc.
 

MechScapeZH

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Like @Spookybun, I'm also someone who puts great emphasis on a game's aesthetics- I'd say it's one of the greatest factors in my overall enjoyment of a game.

One of the first games that comes to mind when I think of effective aesthetics is The World Ends With You. I am not a travel-oriented person- I have never even been out of my country. But this game? It made me feel like I'd teleported right into Shibuya, Japan in the mid-2000s. They say that's what good media does, right? It takes you someplace else. From the music to the graphics to the dialogue- it all gives you a feel of not only what the city looks like, but its culture- the way people there act and feel.

...Or maybe it's completely inaccurate- I've never been there. :guffaw: But the game made me feel like I have.

I'd be remiss not to mention The World Ends With You's aesthetic ancestor, Kingdom Hearts- I think the series' popularity does stem mostly from its aesthetic (and its actors too- Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee... Disney has money to hire these people, and they're famous for a reason!)- when Sora faces down a giant dragon in a white-covered alternate dimension and special effects are flying everywhere, do I understand exactly why it's happening? No, because the writing is iffy to say the least. But is it awesome? Yes!!! Yes, it is! It's the best thing since sliced bread! The animation is smooth, the effects are well-placed, and it's incredibly cool in the most primal, basic way- sheer number of special effects. Is it the most sophisticated aesthetic? No. But do I love it? Oh yes. When I want to forget about this-and-that and immerse myself in a game, I play this series- and I think that says a lot.:)

My favorite aesthetic, however (quite obviously- my own game's made in this style)? Probably late 90s/early 2000s cyberpunk sci-fi. Stuff like Final Fantasy VII, Tron 2.0, and MegaMan Battle Network blew my young mind. The idea of personifying technology as this quasi-magical force that creates alternate worlds and turns people into cyborgs just really appeals to me. Technology back then was kind of mystical- computers were new and not really understood by the public, and the internet was something we played Flash games on. So the idea that these kinds of sci-fi ideas could be explained by computers? It wasn't that implausible to me. And the idea that within these boxy, square-shaped Flash game-enabling devices were worlds composed of green gridlines and living programs? Not that implausible either.

Honestly, as a kid I wanted to live in these worlds- Midgar may be a mess, but they have robots and high technology and arm cannons, and they've got Cloud Strife (still the absolute coolest hero character I've ever seen- his position is perhaps contested only by the likes of Wolverine and Batman- and I'm not arguing this point. It's just true. :D)- and isn't that more exciting than going to school every day? I wanted to have a cyber-being as my friend- Siri just doesn't cut it, Apple! Where's my NetNavi? :guffaw: And at the end of the day, I have a lot of nostalgia for wireframes and synth music- that's why I like it so much, I guess.

This is a great thread and I look forward to see what everyone posts in it. :)
 

fop

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When I think of aesthetics that really tickle my pickle, the first game that comes to mind is Valkyrie Profile. Do I remember a thing about the mechanics? Absolutely not. All I remember is how PRETTY the game was!


Over the top sprite work and effects like clouds, etc. have always stood out to me in games. (And flowers! Lots and lots of flowers!) Furthermore, games that utilize pretty lens flares and lighting to create atmosphere are rated super high in my book, such as Tales of Xillia and Final Fantasy VII in certain scenes (such as the Mount Corel map).

I think the soft/snowy/piano aesthetic used in I am Setsuna was really lovely as well.

As far as visual themes in general, I think games with lots of map effects (leaves blowing in the wind, smoke billowing out of chimneys, weather effects, lighting, etc. give off the best vibes, whether they be depicting a fantasy forest village or a cyberpunk metropolis. Having details, movement, and things to look at just makes a game more appealing to me--even if the story or mechanics are god-awful.
 

Ninjakillzu

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The S.T.A.L.K.E.R games. So far I have played both Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat. I love the run-down soviet feel of them, along with mystery regarding "The Zone" and the artifacts found in it. These games are based off a book called "Roadside Picnic", which is one of my favorite books.

I'm also a huge fan of Cyberpunk, especially the 80/90s style. Blade Runner, Neuromancer, etc. I find the blend of cutting edge technology mixed with cultural/social-economic struggle to be fascinating.
 

Milennin

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For 2D RPG's, Pokémon R/B/E and Golden Sun 1-2 come to mind, all for GBA. Pokémon always had that pretty clean style, but I remember the first playing those and being mindblown by seeing my character's reflection in the water and it splashing when walking over it, lol, as well as having a much bigger colour palette. It was such a huge upgrade from the previous games.

Golden Sun on GBA was like having a Playstation game on your handheld, it looked that good. It managed to have 3D-like graphics in places like the overworld and battle backs that didn't look ugly (rare for that time period) and had epic cinematics for major attacks. The maps were colourful and varied with tons of visual detail.
 

TheoAllen

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If I don't know the game, I find myself like a colorful aesthetic (one with strong saturation). Dystopian color (less saturation) doesn't attract me much unless I know the game (like Fallout, or Doom). This works in both 2D and 3D games.

For RPG Maker, I really like the RTP style. One with rich texture and strong colorful color palette. Some people are trying to make a cheap color palette by only using a few palettes and disregard texturing, I don't like that even if they're trying to be original and retro.

For music, it's hard to describe, but I prefer something that closes to the classic JRPG style of music. Orchestra is also fine. Although I usually find myself bored to listen to the ambient orchestra when in a peaceful time like in town or exploring, they're so ambient and forgettable. Although in a game like that, the battle orchestra music is usually good.

For voice acting. I generally don't hate voice acting. It's fine if the game has a neutral mood and not really trying to convey emotion through the voice acting. But if it's RPG and it has voice acting in the dialogue, if it didn't match with how the character should react in voice acting, I'd be annoyed.

For sound effects, it's hard to describe. As long as it isn't annoying to hear it in the long run, I think it's fine. Usually, the one that is annoying is the one with a strong effect and high pitch. A subtle sound effect is better.
 

l8rose

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I love when games make it clear that we're playing a world. Like villages may all appear the same but there is something unique about each one to make it feel like it's a new place as opposed to just a random shake up of the same buildings. I'm one of those folks that loves getting to know the lore and NPCs (the first time around anyway) as that's generally what hooks me. If it's the same thing in every place, then I tend to get bored super quick.

And music. The music has to be just right. I can handle just about any style of graphics but if the music feels off, I can't play. I also don't like the frequent use of unneeded loud beats (or just sudden loud/sharp noises in random places). I get so into the sound of what I'm playing or watching that it's a make or break thing for me. It's also why I can't play horror/scare games. But I also don't care too much about Voice Acting as I find most games are hit or miss with it (and there is nothing worse then hearing your battle companions shout the same thing over and over).

I'll be honest, the SNES and PS1 eras of RPGs are my thing. They had the right mix of world building with everything else.
 

FirestormNeos

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Futuristic settings (post-post-apocalypse where civilizations are starting to rebuild are an optional addition), sleek but functional UIs, boppin' techno music, contemplative stories with a sense of humor.

Basically, if your game feels like a Bionicle video game to me, I'm happy. Portal 2, Nier: Automata and Horizon: Zero Dawn all come the closest in this respect for me.
 

V_Aero

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I like the Asthetics of all Ubi Art games: Rayman Origins, Legends and Child of Light. I love how these games look like painted drawings and the way everything is animated.
 

BK-tdm

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Depends on the setting of the game itself, i can appreciate multiple art and stylesas long as the execution is good, from UHD gems like ps3's god of war to 2D hand made spriting animations like anything ArcSys makes (really), theres a few "honorary mentions" for me:

Monster Hunter has a special place for me as a beautiful enviroment with all its biomes and creatures adapted to them World made it an even bigger setting with its own eco system and food chain, the lights, the ambience, the little critters that run away when you approach, all of this makes beautiful places i never get tired to explore even after the 999th Rathalos hunt.

Ambience-wise Metal Gear Solid has a special place, the atmosphere of the first MGS was on point, the threat of a nuclear strike felt pretty real. Shadow Moses was cold literally and in ambience.

MMORPG-wise, World Of Warcraft takes the cake for me, see i my first pc game was Warcraft 3 and then its expension Frozen Throne, years later seeing all these maps outside the rts style, on "real scale" really took my breath, and the new expansions still do to this day.

Assasins creed games look awesome specially if you compare real life-buildings to their in-game recreations and how beatifully accurate they are, look at this screenshot vs real location comparison
That's beautiful in my book.


RPGMaker-wise i really like the RTP style, i sprite my stuff on that style for the maker to adapt to it rather than cause a dissonance in art style, i rather see rtp graphics than cheaply "made in ms paint" stuff or sudden changes on visuals like a cel-shaded couch on an rtp tileset house for the sake of "originality", the rtp can make beautiful games if you let it and if you're going to swap it, better be worth it.
 

MechScapeZH

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Futuristic settings (post-post-apocalypse where civilizations are starting to rebuild are an optional addition), sleek but functional UIs, boppin' techno music, contemplative stories with a sense of humor.

Basically, if your game feels like a Bionicle video game to me, I'm happy. Portal 2, Nier: Automata and Horizon: Zero Dawn all come the closest in this respect for me.
I second this- almost mentioned Bionicle myself, but the thread says game aesthetics, so...
 

MechScapeZH

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You know there are Bionicle games, right? Mata-Nui Online I and II (and a few others). If you haven't played those, you're in for a huge dose of nostalgia.
Oh, I know. I KNOW. :guffaw: I've played them all, even the terrible GBA movie tie-in. Maze of Shadows & the first MNOG are the best.
 

Josh_727

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Favorite aesthetics in games was definitely the pre-rendered background from older rpg's like FF7 and the like. Some of those backgrounds were incredible. And the way they animate between area's. Like golden saucer in FF7.
 

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