Yeah, I’m gritting my teeth over “gritty”. It seems that any A-title these days that’s a shooter or RPG has to be “gritty”. Darkish and gloomy and overall depressing, especially in the graphics.

For instance, when the first screenshots of Diablo II were released, there was an uproar among the fans. They complained the colors were too “bright”. The pics didn’t fit in with their idea of the “dark and gritty world of Diablo“.

Of course, the themes of recent games, from Bioshock to Fallout 3, can hardly be described as “cheery”. So it’s no surprise that the visuals are on a par with the story.

What I wonder is why these settings seem to be so popular. Games weren’t always this way. The early RPGs were pretty colorful, and no one complained that “a world full of monsters ought to look gloomy and depressing”.

Personally, I think the color added a lot to the feeling of fantasy in those games. After all, one reason to play in those quasi-feudal environments was to get away from the real world for awhile. And I certainly had no problem with being drawn in for hours a time.

But it appears that as the graphics become more realistic, they’re backpedaling towards black and white. Supposedly, that gives a more “real world” look to them.

Is the real world really that grim and dark? Are the colors around us so dull and washed-out? Or are these “new wave” graphics a reflection of our perceptions of the world as an increasingly “gritty” and depressing place?