I've realised something pretty significant - the further we go down the realism route the more difficult our games will be to play.
The game which really showed me this is Killzone 2 - the visuals are incredibly realistic and the developers have done a great job there. However, it's just so difficult to play as a game - apart from everything being sludge brown (as it is in many games these days) there is just so much detail on every surface that it makes picking out the enemies and shooting them a difficult task.
I realised that I'm sitting so close to my 32" TV for this reason. I used to sit across the room from my 14" portable in the Mega Drive and PlayStation days and had no problems controlling what was going on in the game. I tried sitting at the same distance from my current TV playing a couple of games and it's just not happening for me. I feel compelled to get up and shift myself as close to the screen as possible in driving and shooting games.
I think this is a lot to do with the visuals and the amount of stuff on screen. In the days of Sonic you were the blue guy and you had to walk along the green bit and bop the red things. Incredibly simple, but in many ways the visuals were better than they are today because it was so clear what you had to do. There wasn't really the opportunity to make a mistake and blame it on what was going on elsewhere because there wasn't much else happening on screen.
The same goes for driving games - we've got these amazing looking cars and circuits, but no one has really stopped for a minute to think about how we could improve the "readability" of the action. I think F1 Championship Edition on PS3 is a great example of a company accidentally getting on to a good thing. The visuals in that game are so crisp and there is such a clarity to the action that it is actually possible to play it from a distance. Not so for GRID, which like so many games these days is a combination of the sludge brown and piss yellow.
Does anyone else have an opinion on this?
i agree with you on some of this, i find myself having constantly try and pick out whats going on due to everything blurring together due to the high detail in all textures and backgrounds and no i dont have bad eye sight. There are quite a few games especially killzone 2 which start making my eyes water after about an hour due to the amount i have to concentrate on the screen. Where as a game like fifa which is basically players on a fairly plain green pitch is easy to pay attention to and doesnt make me concentrate to hard on whats happening to the action on screen.