Happy Holidays: It's the Arts(tyle) - Destructoid

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On the wings of death, by the hands of doom;
By the darkest light from the darkest moon;
On the wings of life, by the hands of hope;
By the brightest light from the brightest sun.

And vice versa.

I'm ShadeOfLight.
I'm a Dutch law student who loves to play the vidya. I'm a Nintendo-fanboy at heart, but I don't feel that I'm blinded by that, at least not very often. I am also currently on the Cblog Recaps team for Thursdays, so if for some voyeuristic reason you want to know more about me, check out my weekly Shadeisms.

I'm obsessed with the Monolith Soft RPGs Xenoblade Chronicles and the Baten Kaitos series. I will not pass up the opportunity to mention them, ever, and I consider myself Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean's biggest fan. Finally, as is to be expected I'm super excited for the new WiiU "Xeno-" game!

The Wii is one of my favorite systems of all time, and my favorite games on this system include, but are most certainly not limited to;
Xenoblade Chronicles (see also: Baten Kaitos - Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean for GC)
Zelda: Twilight Princess / Skyward Sword
Smash Bros.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Muramasa - The Demon Blade
Wario Land: Shake it!
Sonic Colors
and Metroid Prime Trilogy.

I love my WiiU as well, and even though the library still needs expanding, I had tons of fun with:
New Super Mario Bros. U
Darksiders II
Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Pikmin 3
Super Mario 3D World
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Mario Kart 8
Hyrule Warriors
Bayonetta 2
Super Smash Bros. WiiU
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

And on the Nintendo front, let's not forget the 3DS I've had since early 2014! Like, say:
Super Smash Bros. 3DS
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Fire Emblem Awakening
Pokémon X
Super Mario 3D Land
Bravely Default
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright
Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
Crimson Shroud
Code of Princess

Apart from Nintendo, I'm a huge indie game enthousiast. Give me a game like Trine, VVVVVV, Sequence or Recettear, and you've made me a happy camper for sure. You can keep your shooters to yourself.

Favorite indie game round-up:
Trine (+ Trine 2)
Super Meat Boy
The Binding of Isaac
Dungeons of Dredmor
Thomas Was Alone
Mark of the Ninja
Cthulhu Saves the World
Recettear - An Item Shop's Tale
To The Moon
Cave Story
Orcs Must Die! 2
The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom
1001 Spikes
The Swapper
and many, many more!

Besides gaming itself, I like reading up on gaming-related news on my favorite website in the whole wide world: Destructoid. I love all the people here, and I'm glad that I get to be a part of this. Wouldn't know what to do without you!

And it turns out you guys love me too!
I've had some blogs promoted:
- Digital Property: Entering the Third Age
- And posted as The Wombat: 2014: I want to make love to you. Seriously.

MikeyTurvey drew me as an archer:

StriderHoang made me a Trading Card:

and a Spell Card for The Wombat:

RobertoPlankton drew the following scenario based on my username and avatar:

And Alphadeus wrote me a theme song:
Radiant Umbrae (ShadeOfLight)
Player Profile
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198005145371/
Wii U code:ShadeOfLight
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What do Okami, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Limbo have in common?

I just mentioned all three of them. But more importantly, all of them feature incredible, creative and unique art styles. Okami has its wash painting, Kirby has its cloth and Limbo does noir like nothing else. These are just a few examples of games that stand out because of their distinctive styles and I could think of (and will mention) many more.
Why do I mention this during the Happy Holidays? Because it makes me happy every time and I absolutely love it.

For many people nowadays, it seems that a good-looking game means a game with the best and most realistic graphics. As such, games like Crysis are considered the best looking games ever.
And yes, they can and do look good, but really? After bracing for the ensuing flamewar, I will gladly state that I’ll take the visuals of Muramasa: The Demon Blade (pictured above) over Crysis any day.

This love of unique or interesting art styles is strong enough to make me play games in genres I don’t usually like. For example, I’m not a fan of First Person Shooters. Don’t ask me why, I just don’t enjoy them very much. However, there are exceptions to this rule, because there are shooters I like: two of those would be XIII and Borderlands. XIII did everything it could to look like a playable comic book and Borderlands tried to become interesting by completely changing its art style to a cel-shaded look during development…with both of these, it worked like a charm.

“So then”, I know you’re asking, because I can read your mind, “what happens when it’s a game in a genre you do like?” Then I’m pretty much ready to declare ‘best.game.EVAR.’
I like platformers, point-and-click adventures and action-adventures, just to name a few. I will mention some of my favorites, which stand out simply because they constantly bombarded me with “Wow” and never fail to put a smile on my face. Some of my favorites in these genres, and by extension favorite games overall, include respectively; Wario Land: Shake it!, which had a great hand-drawn cartoon style, Machinarium with its futuristic sketchwork (see above), and Okami, which you should know by now, but here’s a picture anyway:

Does that mean realistic games can’t be good? Of course not, gameplay makes all the difference. In the same way, not every game with a unique style is automatically good. But could a cool style make a particular game seem much more interesting to me? Absolutely. (So if you know such a game that I don’t, be sure to mention it in the comments!)

Now comes the hard part, I have to explain why this stuff makes me so happy and why I love it so much. Unfortunately, I can’t just post dozens of screenshots and say “That’s why, this stuff is bloody gorgeous”. Not only because Destructoid won’t appreciate that, but also because screenshots just don’t do these games justice. In fact, I would argue that not even videos can do these games justice.
After all, in my experience the absolute best part of such art styles is being able to explore the worlds they bring to life for yourself.
Okami is the best example in this case: there is nothing like standing on a hilltop, turning the camera around, taking in the entire area at once and then running trough it to the other side. It makes the beauty come to life much better and therefore much more impressively than any screen or video ever could.

But what really grabs me with these games is that they’re able to show me stuff I’ve never experienced before and will never experience except in the game.
To elaborate: you know what it is with realistic graphics? 1) They are not and will not be perfect
and 2) I’ve seen it before.
Yes, it is very impressive that you can render a tree which looks so much like the real thing, but I’ve seen realistic trees before…outside. And yes, human faces are hard to recreate and it’s highly impressive that you managed to render a realistic face…but I’ve seen those before as well.
What I haven’t seen before is Chinatown in a style a la Sin City. What I’ve never done before is run through a forest which looks like it could’ve come straight from a painting.
So you see, not just the fantastical, but even the ‘mundane’ can become a great, “wow”-inducing and even adventurous experience in a way that realistic styles just can’t match.

If that’s not a joyful gaming experience, I don’t know what is.

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