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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Poll - Video Game Elements

It's the middle of October, so here's another poll result. This time being about what elements of video games are deemed the most important.

Which is the most important element in a video game?
Fun Gameplay - 4 votes
Immersive Story - 4 votes
Likeable Protagonist - 1 vote
High Replay Value - 1 vote
Pretty/Realistic Graphics - 0 votes
Proper, Mood-Setting Music - 0 votes
Satisfying Sounds - 0 votes
Lengthy/Long-lasting - 0 votes
Good (Online) Multiplayer - 0 votes
Other - 0 votes

This is one of those big topics that I enjoy talking about, and it's about what makes video games good. Naturally, I thought it would make a good poll, so I went ahead and made this poll. The results surely turned out to be interesting, and I wonder if it's because of the audience that I have attracted?

Anyway, the top two elements according to the poll is gameplay and story. Gameplay is a no-brainer, as it's usually argued to be the most important element in a video game anyway. I mean, games are generally designed to be fun. If a game isn't fun, then why play it at all? Back when video games were new, it had a lot fewer elements to focus on due to technological restrictions. Those elements included gameplay, difficulty, and replay value mainly. Out of those three, the most important element was definitely gameplay, unless you're a masochist. Without gameplay, you probably wouldn't bother replaying the game either.

Now-a-days however, video games have many different elements that makes up the game, which might have different appeals to different gamers. Some gamers may prefer games that are visually appealing, like my girlfriend (She ultimately voted for Immersive Story though), or perhaps some want some competitive, multiplayer aspects of the game. Others may want to find a game that will entertain them for a very long time, either due to how long it takes to complete the game, or has good replay value, giving the buyer more bang for their buck than a game that might only last 8 hours for the same price.

So aside from the obvious answer of gameplay, what else makes video games good? Well, perhaps due to what games I have spoken about on the blog, it makes sense to see immersive story being tied with gameplay. Some games are all about the story, mainly graphic-novel-type games like Phoenix Wright, Ghost Trick, and the first game I did a review on, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. With these games, the story is so well written, that even though the gameplay might not be all that impressive, like thinking with logic to point out contradictions, or solving puzzles, it is a strong enough driving force to keep you wanting to play more. It is akin to books that you can't put down, but I'm not much of a book person myself. I enjoy the mood and environment that a video game can produce through images (or maybe my imagination when reading is a bit lackluster) and music. The problem with games that focuses on story is that they tend to have low replay values, and are generally not touched once you finish the game. With 999 being the rare exception where it has multiple paths and multiple endings, different combinations of elements can be possible to make a unique game.

There are so many different elements that a video game can excel in now, that gameplay may not necessarily be the biggest driving force in a game. Heck, making something competitive alone can make the stupidest of gameplay slightly more interesting, like how many times you can hit the A button in 10 seconds, much like some of Mario Party minigames. There is so much more that can be done for a real, competitive gameplay however, like in the case with fighting games like Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, and League of Legends.

What's nice about competitive games is that the competition is what keeps the game fun AND replayable as long as the gaming community that supports the game is around. I'm kind of surprised that Good (Online) Multiplayer didn't get any votes because of that, honestly. Some games are just simply more fun because of being able to play with or against friends. I barely play Scott Pilgrim VS The World now because my friends haven't been able to come visit in a while, and playing by myself is just nowhere near fun, which is with most beat-em-up games it seems.

Then there are unique games that play completely differently than others due to having some special mechanic that makes them playable. Perhaps the sense of freedom and creativity in sandbox games like Terraria and Minecraft gives the games what makes them so fun. Or motion-sensor games like Dance Central or even Wii-Fit provides that healthy exercise that some people want or need. Or maybe, veering away from traditional video games for a bit, games that are played passively like FourSquare and the Nethernet, if it still exists, a passive multiplayer online game where you play by browsing the internet, and happen to encounter things. These are definitely unique from each other as well as what most mainstream games are like, and some worked better than others as a whole.

These are only some of the things I've observed, and hopefully there will be plenty to discuss about this in the comments about game elements. If not... well, point me to where similar discussions are being made. It's always a fun topic to talk about.

1 comment:

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