Music, people and things I like
Home - About - Contact - Overview - Resources

The Nintendo 64 graphics were better (Why perfection is the opposite of creativity)

by kbrecordzz August 14, 2022 video games

First of all, this isn’t any “The times were better back then” nostalgia. Yes, I grew up with Nintendo 64, but I also grew up with GameBoy Advance and I don’t have the same love for those graphics. So now I’m done with the self-deceptive lies and can go on with the text. I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, how perfectionism is uncreative because it means there’s only one single perfect goal to strive towards, but if you allow yourself to do things wrong and loosen up there are many more options on how to do things, which lets you be more creative. The 90s video game consoles experienced this when they started going into 3D because the machines of the time were so technically limited that they were forced to make things wrong and ugly, otherwise they couldn’t make it at all. Perfectionism wasn’t an option because it would take too much time to render on the screen. They probably wanted perfect HD graphics, but instead they got some weird looking boxes with stretched-out blurry images on them, and struck gold without even realizing it.

The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time (1998)

The castle in the background is modeled in 3D. The character in the foreground is too and has a reasonable level of detail. The ground is extremely undetailed and is just made of boxes with sharp edges. The trees are drawn to look like they’re 3D, but are actually just 2D images. The textures (the images that are wrapped onto the ground and other objects to give them their look) are really blurry. But not all of them, some are super crisp!! As you see, there is no consequence in how things are done here. Everything is wrong in different ways! 2D and 3D look very different from each other, and the weird style you get when you mix them together is something you would never see in a game with “good” graphics. For example, look below how different circles look when they’re in low-quality 3D compared to low-quality 2D:

3D modeled “circles”. Or more like something between a square and a circle. Can you really call something made of 8 straight lines a circle? – Banjo-Kazooie (1998)
2D “circle”. Still low-quality but in a different way. Blurry pixels instead of sharp straight lines. Totally different. Still not really a circle – Banjo-Kazooie (1998)

They tried two methods to create a circle, none worked. Or did they? A perfect circle would look like a circle, but no one would question it, no one would think about it, and no one would write a blog post about it. The Nintendo 64 circles at least give you a feeling! The consoles before (2D graphics) and after (3D graphics) Nintendo 64 perfected their styles, which is why their games look so good, but in my opinion nothing beats the ugly and weird chaos of Nintendo 64.

Golden emails