Pictures/art in games

Do you guys like artwork or pictures in your games? I’ve seen some people go back and forth on this so I thought I would get the consensus from the people

  • Yes
  • No
  • Other

0 voters

Personally I’m not a fan, if it’s nice artwork of a place or area then sure, I will accept it. Not like but accept. But if it’s a character, hate it. It undermines the point of a text based game, putting an image of a character that I thought Would look cool in my head but in practice looks dumb or even ugly


I do appreciate drawings in books. Of course, some art style I’ll just avoid like hell, even downright despise them. But if that’s the case, I’ll usually ignore them anyway.


Yes, but only if they’re tasteful, and add to the world building. I love maps for example. I’d agree that drawing a character is rarely a good move.


As many images as possible, assuming the quality of the art is high. I love seeing a marriage of text and images, and although CoG’s official stance is “without images, sound effects, etc” I tend to think sticking to that same formula really limits what these games can do. As a reader, images make a lasting impression and can help me remember what characters, items, etc., look like, therefore helping me keep things straight in my head.

I’m working on another project at the moment and it will have tons of images and to be honest I am so excited to see my characters “come to life” in a way that will supplement and enhance the actual story.


Art is nice addition, I adore pictures, but I don’t consider it canon and hate when people do that. Because one of pros of text based games is imagination. So text description is only truth to me.


It depends on the game, and what the images are used for. If you are going to have a story that traverses a countryside or a lot of city encounters, then having a map helps me with immersion even if not necessary.

For that matter, if you are using creatures, whether fantasy/sci-fi, then pictures can help me picture them. I mean, in the latest Dinoknights game, I admit I would have liked to see pictures of the dinosaurs. For that matter, when/if I do my stone age game, pictures of some of the Pleistocene animals would help.

@Eric_Moser also mentions items; if they are integral to a game, then it is nice to have them. I mean, if I’m playing a game with Mech Suit combat, then visualizing them are great.

Where I think some people have a problem is when it comes to the NPCs themselves. Some of it can be a clashing of styles; if you use an anime style, there will be some readers who really dislike it.
Or else it can clash with the image they build in their head, even down to shades like skin color/eye color.


I actually like it if it’s well done. Images of places or even side characters can help me get a clear picture of them in my mind.

The images should be presented right away. If I get to know a character first I’ll probably have an image built up in my mind, at that point seeing a picture that didn’t match my mental image would hurt my enjoyment of the story.

I actually even like seeing my own character, but that’s really tricky. The thing I like most of all about video games and interactive fiction is the way it let’s me see myself as someone else. So an image of the player character needs to be a little customizable, or there needs to be a variety to choose from, and obviously that get’s harder and harder to do for an author working alone.


Overall, I don’t like artwork as I feel it destroys my image of the character but I do have to agree that maps are awesome. They really add depth to the game and make me think that the writer really put time and effort into making the universe.


Art and graphics in-game are one of those: “I know how to judge it when I see it” standards.

Cover art for all games is essential in my opinion.

Supplemental art, such as maps can make or break a game as well but are not as necessary as cover art is.

“Informational” or “teaching” art can help a game build immersion and connection with their audience - especially in areas that people may not be familiar with. Including pictures of dinosaurs in the latest release would have added a lot of value to the game, to provide a relevant example of this type of art.

Then there are the more subjective art categories such as thematic art. In strictly defined genres, ( ie. anime and film noir) the art can be essential to the game’s success. Some games, like Hong Kong Blood Opera by @Jose_Garcia would benefit greatly from showcasing the genre’s typical art-style.

Art can also be essential to establish name brand identification in a game. WoW’s oversized shoulder armor and cartoon sized swords are an example. When “Conan the Barbarian” is mentioned most people have expectations on what the game will be like - part of those expectations are a result of the original art established for the IP and any break from that tradition is open to criticism … Funcom tried breaking from that tradition in their games but got caught up in such push-back.

My opinion on character art is evolving. The reason why it is evolving is because I have become aware of a condition called prosopagnosia - face blindness.

This means (as far as I understand) that descriptions alone may not be enough for some to be able to picture and retain an image of a character.

In text-based games but for the most part I would rather allow a reader’s imagination to “paint their own portrait” of the NPC. Since learning about this condition, I am more open for the major NPCs to have accompanying art, so that those who do suffer from face-blindness will have a graphical reference to refer to as needed.

One of the reasons I feel Community College Hero by @Eric_Moser works better than other super-hero stories is because he doesn’t overplay the art aspect of the super-hero genre. It allows people who enjoy different aspects of the genre to enjoy the game, without pushing other aspects that they may not enjoy in their face.

The audience can imagine the CCH story taking place in a darker, grittier Middle America or the audience can imagine a more campy, comic-book feel of Middle America. It is left to imagination. Once the author takes this ability away by defining everything in art, the audience is forced to accept or reject what the author’s vision is. This could cause loss of sales, if the vision presented is different than that which could be accepted.

tldnr: Each project has different needs and should be judged differently because of those needs.


@ Eiwynn I’ve been thinking about art and illustration a lot lately. I’ve had a lot of experiencing getting cover art as I used to be a tabletop rpg and CCG publisher. I know how important cover art is but haven’t decided yet what I want the covert art for Hong Kong Blood Opera to be. Specifically if I should emphasize an exuberant wuxia action style or more of a Hong Kong noir feel. Any thoughts o advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

I am debating about using black and white stylized photos redone in illustration in the game to convey Hong Kong. I’m not sure if that’s really necessary though as I think most people can imagine what Hong Kong looks like from the game text.

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I will be happy to provide my feedback –

I’m going to think on this for a day or two - I want to take not only the current game into account but your possible future plans as discussed in your thread. I have conflicting initial thoughts, which is why I need to think it over a bit.

I agree and most people will have images they internalized from other sources as well and leaving it to their imagination would work best because of this (imo)

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Personally, I prefer no official pictures or art, especially of characters, since I don’t really like having my illusion of how I view the character to be shattered. I enjoy looking at fanart of those characters, since they show how other people view the same character, which is interesting, but if the author themself makes it, it becomes canon.

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@Jose_Garcia -

It took me less time than I thought:

My initial reaction was to tell you to go with wuxia action; something like:


but my concern would be that it would be very attractive to the niche fans but not have any cross-over capture from wider general audiences. The existing game is more than just wuxia, it also has a classic western noir element to it that I think will carry over to your other projects in the future, such as a prequel as well.

So this is my actual suggestion:

Something like:


mixed with the first cover from the Dragon series.

I think the mixture of the two would work best as a gateway cover - one that you can carry the themes and feel from game to game and provide consistency across all your projects.

I was going to send this private but then figured it might help others seeing my thoughts and feedback on this matter.

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Thank you so much, that’s brilliant! I like the composition and colours of the Dragon cover (just not the characters). And I love the look of the character in Assassin.

I think I might use either Baiyu or Seiko on one side and one of the gangsters on the other side.

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We are on the same wavelength :slight_smile: I’m glad I was able to help.

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My opinion on this topic is more the less the same as the majority, way I see it most art based on location or events I believe can very much help a game in the sense of world building or even to spark interest in the game itself. Not alot of you may be into Strategy games but one game that really used its art to sell itself was Iron Harvest.

(This was created by the amazing Jakub Rozalski there is a link to his art station)

Art like this was a selling point of that game as it got people interested in what the game had to offer and it made it unique to the sea of games like it on the market.

However for me at least I believe character art especially in text-based story games like the ones offered on this amazing site, usually hurts my enjoyment of it especially if the character description is a little more ambiguous leading to more interpretation in how the character looks. I try not to let it bother me too much however that does not mean character can’t be handled tastefully and in a way that matches with everyone’s interpretation of what the char looks like more or less.

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I would say I like it when it is done tastefully and strategically, such as how the maps and medals in the infinity series greatly helped in visualising that universe.

I don’t particularly like character art as it takes away quite a fair bit of imaginative quality of such text based games.

Definitely a plus, even it’s just an accessible map of the world we find ourselves in or portraits, it’s a nice thing to ad.