In short: Why the fuck bother? Everyone likes pixel art and pixel art is the easiest artistic thing to do, unless you actually try at it but that clearly isn't expected so again, why bother?
I wrote a blog entry about this, it's really disheartening that any skill at art has fallen so utterly low in gaming today. Your game is either super-realistic or pixel eye rape. Excuse me if I do not feel properly valued in a field I'd love to get involved with.