My kids bought a Sony Playstation 3 last week-end and two games for it: Call of Duty MW3 and Lego Batman. The graphics is very good, but more importantly, the user interface is good too. The so-called game controller is a handsome piece and I think that's what makes PS3 games better than the online PC games. Those use the keyboard's cursor keys and thereby kill much of the joy of playing. Many of the online games have such excellent graphics that I fail to see what more the PS3 has to offer.
That brings me to my favorite game thesis that games are not about graphics. True gaming joy comes from a good intrigue and the satisfaction of using a good user interface. A beautiful backdrop is fine, but adds very little to the gaming experience. A racing game with simple graphics, but with a steering wheel and pedals, is great fun. Pac Man played with a joystick is great. Frogger, Missile Command, Centipede, Tetris are all good games with no remarkable graphics.
How can this be? Once you've started playing, the backdrop just vanishes and all you see is the game character or car or whatever. There isn't enough time for admiring the fantastic landscapes that someone meticulously crafted for the game. You are trying to stay alive and score points. Who cares what color the mountain or the grass is? If you do start thinking about it, your character is probably finished within short. Be concentrated, stay alert, never mind the backdrop, prepare for the next assault. It's about attention. You can't score points and watch graphics. It's either-or.
Finally, games are about scoring well or winning. Graphics is for the photo album.