Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

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Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

Postby Zanreo » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:49 am

Gameplay, story, graphics, artstyle, music, ect. All parts of what makes a video game. Some gamers argue about what parts are more important, and what parts doesn't matter that much.
What do YOU consider important in a game? Less important?

For me, that would be:
-Gameplay and good game mechanics. A game should be fun to play and have fun and interesting mechanics. If it's boring to play, it won't matter how great the story is or how amazing it looks, because I want to enjoy it as what it is, a game.

-As for graphics... I don't care a lot about "graphics" in the commonly-used definition of "advanced and photorealistic". I don't care about how many polygons you managed to put into the protagonist's nose, I'd rather have a cool-looking artstyle. (Besides, more stylized artstyles often age much better than whatever was considered "realistic" at the time... Lots of 16-bit SNES sprites still look amazing today) But in the "artstyle/design" definition, then yeah, I appreciate a game that looks great, and I prefer more stylized, colorful, and often "cartoony" designs. Give me something that's not realistic grays and browns! Some games definitely fit a realistic style better, but most of the time those aren't the games I'm into. But it's not really a dealbreaker if an otherwise good game has boring or just bad graphics, as long as it doesn't literally hurt my eyes to look at.

-Story is, generally, not very important for me. I don't care if the game doesn't have an interesting story, just give me some levels to beat, enemies to kill, secrets to find! No one plays Mario for the story. Might have something to do with how my favorite genres, platformers and rhythm games, are genres that by design focus on other things than story, and don't really need an interesting story to be good. If they tried, that could be cool too, but in some cases it might even backfire, taking away focus from what makes the game fun. The exception is genres like adventure games (visual novel-ish) and RPGs, the story is part of what makes them interesting. So how important a (good, deep and interesting) story is depends on the genre, but for a lot of genres it's just not that important. I don't really like the whole "cinematic gameplay" focus - those games have their place in the industry too, but it shouldn't be a standard every developer should aspire to, and story should never come at the expense of interesting gameplay.

-As for music... Nice music is great, of course, but in no way vital for my enjoyment of a game. Well, except for rhythm games. For a music-based game, I pretty much EXPECT great music since it's what the genre is all about. Otherwise, I don't mind if a game has "mediocre" music as long as the rest is good, that will usually be the least of my complaints.
Last edited by Zanreo on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

Postby Sky-Fox » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:03 am

There's a video I saw a while back that I think sums up my opinions on the subject very well.
"Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage: Dark Souls"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIx7Ot5Mq2Q

He talks about how games are fit together with a number of moving parts. And there's a significantly greater importance in the parts working well together than standing out individually. Of course, picking a favorite I have to pick responsive controls/interface. If playing the game is a chore in itself, it's unlikely there's going to be much else that will save the game for me. If I can get to the point where playing the game is second-nature however, I have no favorites so long as the game has all its other parts working together meaningfully. Of course, I should put player choice in here, but that's pretty broad and might be more than I'm comfortable covering here.

A personal favorite of mine that has pieces that come together really well is Thief: The Dark Project. The ambient-drone music, darkly lit but well-decorated levels loaded with secrets, and great stealth controls make it a classic in my book.
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Re: Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

Postby Golem » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:58 pm

Zanreo, reading your paragraph on graphics, I want to ask if you've played Metal Slug.

Yeah, I was going to say that I think cohesion is the most important feature. Like Hotel Dusk had a really charming cast and some okay puzzles, but the central mystery to it was so dumb that it fell apart for me. The science fiction chapter in Live-a-Live, on the other hand, has really dumb puzzles, but they're effectively put in service to the whole, which is a visual novel in JRPG clothing.

Sonic Heroes is one of my favorite 3D Sonic games because it knows its combat/platforming blend is the most interesting part, so it strips away parts that get in the way (overworld, story) and adds parts that highlight it (scoring).

That is to say, anything in a game can be important to me, so long as it's the interesting part of the game. The story in Sonic Heroes isn't important to me, but the story in the science fiction chapter is. Granted, I do skew towards games with a gameplay or level design focus.
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Re: Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

Postby Zanreo » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:52 pm

Golem wrote:Zanreo, reading your paragraph on graphics, I want to ask if you've played Metal Slug.

I haven't, but it's definitely an example of great-looking "old" graphics! A style like that could still work today, I think. When I talk about "good pixel art" that's the kind of stuff I wanna see more of.

Sky-Fox wrote:He talks about how games are fit together with a number of moving parts. And there's a significantly greater importance in the parts working well together than standing out individually. Of course, picking a favorite I have to pick responsive controls/interface. If playing the game is a chore in itself, it's unlikely there's going to be much else that will save the game for me. If I can get to the point where playing the game is second-nature however, I have no favorites so long as the game has all its other parts working together meaningfully. Of course, I should put player choice in here, but that's pretty broad and might be more than I'm comfortable covering here.

Yeah, good point there - the game has to "work" as a whole.
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Re: Game priorities: what's most important in a game?

Postby fantanoice » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:04 am

Honestly, I'm not fussed about mechanics, story, visuals, sound, etc, as long as it makes sense for the product.

- Ace Attorney has very simple mechanics / gameplay because it doesn't need anything more and gets by with its great story and characters
- Mario has a simple story because its focus is tight platforming mechanics
- Minecraft has simple visuals because it focuses on good mechanics (and texture mods)
- Zork is just text, but really well done text
etc...

However, if your game's focus isn't executed well, then that bugs me. For instance, I found the original Danganronpa was a really average game because I felt the story and characters were really cliche and annoying respectively, and while it looked and played better than something like Ace Attorney, it still fell flat because the story should have been the thing that really shone through. However, the second one really delivered on story and characters, while keeping the nice aesthetics/mechanics, so that was great.

So yeah...
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