What Makes a Game Good?Jan 13, 2015 | 1 Votes
We all love games, that is why we are here, to find new, exciting or interesting games to play. It can be the latest MMO game, or maybe a new casual match 3 that grabs our attention and says play me. There are so many different genres of gaming around and each of them has millions of players all over the world. But when you take a step out of your niche, out of the games you play the most we can start to see trends and in this article we will try to find them and figure out how they have an effect.
One of the first things to grab our attention and in some places the most important feature is how good the game looks. The brighter the colors or the better the graphics they stand out and make us look again. It is this first instant grab of our attention that can start us on a road to a brilliant and fun place to be. Sometimes it can be as simple as a cute looking jelly or as detailed as a fully 3D beautifully animated horse.
While we may think that these cool designs or amazing graphics are the main reason we play this is not actually the case. There are many games that won’t top the charts in terms of how they look but are still incredible to play. In some cases the games are entirely text based, for exampleHowrse is a simulation game that uses a few 2D images, and yet is a really brilliant game to play full of depth and it has a huge player base running into the millions all over the world. In essence many of the game genres have their brilliant looking games, and those that don’t pack the same punch but still play really well.
One of the key things in a good game is lots of things to do. If there is a huge range of levels to play, or a world with hundreds of places to visit and explore players will stick around to play these levels, or to discover what you have hidden in the corners of the world. Giving us something to do is both a challenge and one of the most important features of any game. Without an activity, or new thing to see or goal to aim for we players will get a little bored, and leave the game.
And there is another reason for people to keep playing, to achieve something. Whether it is having the biggest house in a virtual world, or the best racehorse or even just completing all of the levels in something like Candy Crush Saga. Having a goal, and then rewarding you for it is a brilliant way to keep people entertained. In many cases just having a system of achievements without rewards drives some of us players to complete them. On the other side there are many people that strongly dislike any form of achievements in games, and yet they will still play these games.
One of the reasons they stick with a particular game is the actual gameplay itself. This is especially true of the more core and hardcore genres, like virtual worlds, MMO and the action games. How you move your avatar, what they can do and how they do it are all really important factors. If you can climb walls and pilot huge war machines in something like Titanfall you want to be able to do it easily and fast. And when you can it draws you into the game far more than if you have to think about the controls or worry about pressing the wrong button.
If a game runs smoothly it gives you the opportunity to explore the story more and lose yourself in the drama or adventure of a game. Many games have some kind of story, in Bubble Witch Saga 2 you have to save the country, in Star Stable there are forces at work trying to take over the world and then you have MMO games that have sometimes complicated or long stories that take years to play out. Interacting in a story, or having an effect on the way it plays out is a huge attraction for many people, just look at the range of options the Mass Effect series produced.
But having said that there are so many games with similar stories, across every style of game it is often save this person, or find this to stop the great evil. But what sets a great game apart is how they make these themes interesting and engaging. Having something unique is perhaps the most powerful tool to making a game good. There are always new developments, both in technology and graphics that can bring something truly different to a game. And sometimes it can be as simple as the opening lines of a story that get us hooked in and wanting to finish the game to see the ending.
Finally, and somewhat difficult to explain is the intangible feeling you sometimes get when you find that perfect game. It can be a little hard to describe but there is just something magnetic that pulls you into, or back to a game. This can be any of the things we described above, or something completely new that only you can really feel. But when you do, when that game just arrives in front of you and you can’t stop playing. That feeling is what developers are looking to create, and yet they too can’t describe what it is they are making.
There are many different components that make up a game, the graphics, story, gameplay and even something as simple as the genre it fits, or in some cases does not fit into that make a game feel good. Not every game is great for every person, a horse game lover is unlikely to play a shooting game. That is perfectly fine and normal, we see it all the time in everyday life and yet sometimes these lines are crossed, when a game is good enough.
We each have a different idea of what is a good game and there are often debates and questions about a game. Though sometimes a game comes out that takes over the world, that everyone plays and enjoys despite it not being something in their chosen niche. They enjoy it because it has a good look, cute items or characters or even just a fun story. And that’s the word that is most important when you look at what makes a game good, is it fun to play. Do I enjoy playing this is a question that has to have the answer yes, for you to come back and play it some more. Having fun is what games is all about, with friends, strangers or just by yourself.
That magical finale piece in the puzzle of what makes a game good is a simple 3 letter word that carries with it the momentum and design philosophies of hundreds of companies all over the world. Making things fun is great, and there are some companies that are very good at it and they cater to millions of players all over the world. This continued drive to make games good can only be a great thing for us players, and for the future too.