Actually I've found it quite the opposite - creating lower polygonal objects takes a LOT more work than detailed ones.

Yes, but then comes psychology (or headology, as you might put it) : People might consider games with polygonal objects with a lower number of polygones themselves as "weaker" and not so good than with more polygones - just out of the mere look.
Or maybe as more "comic-like", as some editors of German gaming magazines put it.

The question is : Would many polygones rather appeal to gamers or fewer polygones ? Are are gamers not affected at all, as long as the gameplay is good ?

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