You know the feeling. You just finished an awesome game and now it feels like your entire world’s suspended. You’re often left with that nagging feeling that your boring and painfully ordinary reality can never compare to that amazing adventure you’ve just immerse from.
Indeed, great video games have a way of leaving their mark – sometimes in ugly-phrased associations like what is commonly known among the gaming community as post-game depression. Yet although often perceived negatively, this unusual feeling is also often the very hallmark of a good game. And more often than not, it helps gamers navigate through the overwhelming selection of new game options and sets the bar for selecting their next virtual adventures.
But how exactly does a good game look like?
While the quality of a game is highly subjective and relative to each gamer’s preferences and gaming experience, most of the notoriously-praised games in the short history of gaming may give you a good grip of what makes a game one for the books.
You can use these features as criteria when choosing the next game.
A video game’s gameplay is the tactical aspect of the game, the way it is played, the plot, and all the elements that set the player to interact and establish control within the game’s virtual universe. So what makes gameplay good or bad?
To put it simply, good gameplay is engagement in the game that the player enjoys while bad gameplay is the exact opposite. This might be an oversimplification so here’s a little breakdown.
When a game requires repetitive actions with very little changes throughout the game, that would constitute as bad. If your actions have no impact, that would be equally frustrating. If levels don’t feel distinctive and original, then what are they there for? Pointless busywork is also an easy way to make a player lose interest in a game.
What makes good gameplay is often harder to point out. Factors like the player’s skill level, timing, progression, and presentation all come into play.
Being able to play with other players is also another crucial element that a lot of gamers look for in a game.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to your overall experience. Choose one that promises both spectacle and challenge.
A lot of games sacrifice gameplay for a good story and sometimes it works. In reality, good gameplay and good story often outcompete each other when it comes to their significance in a game. But you also have to take into consideration the type of the game.
In most single player games, a good story is often the pull that moves the player forward. Meanwhile, MMOs and MOBAs can work even without a strong emphasis on the plot.
As much as possible, try to find a game that is good in both.
A game that sets you up for a challenge is a good game. It’s the Dark Souls effect. When the game gives you enough challenge to be engaged, it makes your efforts worthwhile. Choose a game that compels you to move forward with its unpredictability, one that lets you experiment and think on your feet. A game with great twists and often requires not just skill but also strategizing will surely make your game time fun and constantly exciting.
Good graphics does not always have to be realistic. The game’s art style and design help convey ambiance and set the overall atmosphere of the game. Although hyper-realistic graphics are always a nice catch to keep players hooked to the game, it’s not always appropriate.
For example, Limbo’s two-dimensional greyscale graphics coupled with minimalist ambient sounds help to create the game’s unique, eerie environment. These dark visuals are instrumental in concealing traps and hazards and really is undoubtedly what made the whole game unique.
Minecraft’s signature blocky graphics is another example that attests to a game’s potential to be fun and engaging beyond graphic design.
Your choice of graphics may also be limited to your gear. If you want to experience a game at its best, consider getting a cool gaming laptop with an awesome graphics card for an optimal gaming experience.
Player Ability to Choose
A player’s capacity to make a choice that will influence that outcome of the game is one of the many features of a game that many gamers would like to see. Choices increase player interaction with the game’s universe and can give them a sense of being in charge of one’s own fate at the conclusion.
The presence of choices also increases the opportunity for exploration.
You won’t want to play a game that’s too repetitive. Having variety of things to do within one game is definitely a big plus. So consider games with a mix of strategies, action adventures, skill leveling, crafting, etc. for a better gaming experience.
These are just the most common general preferences that most gamers consider to be key when selecting a game. While there’s no way of knowing a game’s true quality at the outset, reading game reviews and watching gameplay streams might help you assess game quality and “likeability” without shelling out your hard-earned dollars first.
What about you? What personal considerations and preferences do you hold when it comes to buying or selecting your next game? Tell us in the comments below.