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Cover image for What do you look for in a game?

What do you look for in a game?

cpluta profile image Chris Pluta ・1 min read

This morning I found this video and sent me down a YouTube spiral, which highlighted the differences are between western RPG's and JRPG's. The series went into some of the elements make up the genre. These were things like narrative, how the main character is personified, and not game mechanics, such as a leveling system.

When creating or playing a game, for me, there are some qualities I favor over others. The top three I think really bring a game together are:

  • Story
  • Audio(Sound Track and Effects)
  • Game Controls

To me, the story is the foundation of creative expression. The story is what gives a game its purpose. This is what motives the player to continue and see what's next. There are so many ways to tell a story. Whether this be via comic strips, or just plain text.

The audio invites the player to fully immerse themselves into the world. This works with the story to help create emotions and feelings. This can be achieved through increasing tempo of the soundtrack or a sound effect like footsteps letting the player know they are moving.

Lastly, the game controls need to feel natural to the environment. For example, in a platformer pressing A to jump just feels right. If there are controls that don't feel natural the player will need to spend more time learning how to play the game rather than experiencing it.

These are my thoughts, I want to hear from you. Do you disagree? What are your top qualities and why?

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Chris Pluta

@cpluta

Software developer by day, game maker by night. Co-Founder of Lets Build.

Discussion

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In my personal tastes, I've noticed that I usually care about gameplay & audio most; and story is sort of a nice to have. However I think that setting is something I latch onto very strongly. We'll use rocket league as an example; there is no story that I know of, but the setting is consistent, and I can almost flesh out a mini story in my head. I think that's what makes sandbox games so fun is that you can make your own stories. Those stories might not be nearly as detailed or interesting as something like the Last of Us, but I think setting can definitely make a good story better :)

Not sure if that was already included in the story bullet point though!

 

So I tend to think story and setting are two different things. Story is explains what is happening around the player, where setting explains why things are the way they are. It's one thing to say a war happened and discuss the history, but if the setting is ruined buildings you can infer what happened. I think this lends itself to your example of rocket league where you come up what is in the audience and how they got there. I think thats why diegetic ui, IE a pip boy, is what some people focus on because it really set the environment but it's up to the player to create the world.

 

Great point. I absolutely love Rocket League for it's gameplay and audio and don't need one ounce of story to enjoy it every time I play.

 

Story is definetly the most important personally because if a game fails to inspire you to care about its environment then the player will not care as much. I look a lot at the mechanics of a game as a main point before I buy as well; I thoroughly enjoyed Katana Zero because of the great story and mechanics.

 

I may have added that to my wishlist now... it looks pretty intense at least from the trailer I just watched.

What kinds of mechanics do you look for in a game?

 

Yeah it's super intense!

I like challenging gameplay usually platformers or shooters. Games that require fast reaction speed + precision.

Do you have any preferred mechanics in games?

I'm with you with platformers and shooters for sure. Super Meat Boy was a little too precise for me. But something like Braid and Bastion were definitely a good time. It's just something that's a bit different. But even something like Mirror's Edge just running around for me was enjoyable.

Specific mechanics would probably be stealth, puzzles and the occasional tower defense. 😄

Mirror's Edge was great! Braid and Bastion are great games too.

 

100% agree with the three you listed. Those are basically the most important to me when playing most games. While I'll always go back to a game like Rocket League for its simplicity and unpredictability, I find myself most interested in games like The Last Of Us and Uncharted because they have such good stories, music that helps drive the emotion behind your gameplay, and controls that are not only easy to pick up, but just FEEL right.

 

I think you nailed the three things a game should have. These all especially apply to me, the person writing this comment, on behalf of QGw (only my opinion), Banjo Kazooie. BK was such a good game, and nailed all three of those well, though, saying those 3 are always important is a lie.
There are some games that can be bad at 2 / 3 things on your list, but still be games, like Stick With It, a basic rage game, similar to Getting Over It.
I'd definitely go a Saberspark route, and make 5 (or X) points for certain parts, and give the game an over-all grade.

 

Yeah, I suppose if a game really crushes it at 1/3 it can still be worth the other 2 not being all that great. Stick With It looks hilarious 😂

 

I'd probably get super annoyed at some point lol. It does look like an interesting idea if your just trying to do something quick and try out some mechanics. I wouldn't have thought to do something with soft body.

I think it would be interesting to develop a game with like 50 points or something then randomize it against the game quality like stats and give a focus on each of those areas. Something like Game Dev Tycoon but real life. 😄