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They're ideas for huge, complex games, but I don't see why they'd all need billion dollar graphics.

Sometimes it seems to me that graphics are the biggest obstacle to complexity. If you decided on a whim to incorporate the fall of Blue Mountain, or shapeshifting, or recognition in a text adventure (or Interactive Fiction) you would, on top of the programming, merely have to find the right words, perhaps add an illustration - just like the fanfic authors and artists here at the forum.

In a game with top-notch 2006 graphical whiz-bang, however, you'd have to make a whole little movie every time you wanted to try something new.

Even if it's just story-less physical simulationism of no particular "plot consequence" like I described before. The shoplifting and basilisk examples were adapted from Nethack, a game that in its rawest forms has no music and no graphics beyond ASCII characters (# | * + %). And still its gameplay is a lot more variable and sophisticated than the considerably snazzier-looking but derivative Diablo II.

That is not to say that I wouldn't by far prefer an Elfquest game with pretty graphics ;) - but I'd settle for atmospheric/artistic, and that has little to do with the technologies used.