Reasons to be cheerful

Many games claim to be the best of it’s genre, you will certainly find their descriptions littered with buzzwords like ‘unique’,’sandbox’,’cutting edge’. Of course many of a games features don’t appeal to all players and one persons holy grail is anothers poisoned chalice, Pinning down the qualities that make a game good isn’t a simple task.

64px-gnome-x-office-spreadsheetsvgI, like many, have sat and played a countless number of games over my gaming history, with a varied mixture of on/off line, single/multi player games. I like to feel my hype-amour is well worn & rusty at the edges, taking a game on it’s own merits not those pumped out by the PR machine.

I’m interested in what elements people find makes a game good, what makes it stand out from the crowd. I plan to list the elements of those games that have given me something different and the items that make you coming back for more.

I’ve highlighted games that I believe fit the bill for the game qualities I like. To make life easier I had to split out MMOs from other games due to their unique natures.

Non-MMO

  • Pretty graphics is a poor substitute for good gameplay
    • Too much dependence on the hottest new engine or graphical twist, games should be just as fun running on the lowest settings as well as the top settings (Assassins Creed)
  • Re-playability
    • Whether you dive back into a new game straight away or in 6 months time, it’s the interesting and exciting elements that draw you back in, these tend to be RTS games that I have long term addictions with. (Roller Coaster Tycoon, Dawn of War II )
  • Make it tough not impossible
    • Nothing is more annoying than getting deep into a game only to get stuck on a seemingly impossible area, Left4Dead is  good example of this in action, the Director controller manages overall gameplay making adjustments on the fly to enhance the overall player experience.

MMO

  • Not level dependant
    • Games that don’t care about max level in a traditionl sense, where there is still plenty of content once you get to the maximum level. (Guild Wars)
    • I also found the idea of a game were levels don’t equal more power, just increases the diversity of the avatar and game-play (Guild Wars, Planetside)
  • Enjoyable without Goals
    • I enjoy a game were I can play for 6 hours straight and not really achieve anything, but I can still walk away with a smile. Entertaining games that make the time fly.
  • Grouping with friends of any level/skill
    • As gamers become more social it’s only natural for them to want to play alongside friends both online and real-life, systems and methods that all (Planetside, City of Heroes)

Both

  • Realistic achievements
    • Increasing more game ship with a slew of merits that drive players to go out of their way to obtain a predetermined goals.

So what game elements appeal the most to you?
What drives you to fireup a game time and time again?

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