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.


  • 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.


  • 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)


  • 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?

World in Conflict

So on top of updating the website I downloaded the demo of the new Sierra game called World in Conflict. I mentioned the promo blurb about the game back in late June.

Real Time Strategy games are a funny genre as there are many elements that the developers need to get correct in order to achieve the right balance.
One such element is the GUI and how easy it is to manage using the interface during the heat of battle. If you make it too cluttered the user we be frustrated, if it's too basic and requires accessing submenus to perform an action the game loses appeal very quickly. Another element is the gameplay, if each mission is the same thing over and over then you are likely to get bored easily.

I'm happy to say I think WIC has all the right elements that make it a good game. The sound and graphical effects are outstanding, providing you with quite a decent immersion into the world and the storyline.

Also WIC uses a different system to those normally employed on RTS games, rather that having a base to manage and power you are given reinforcement points. You can use these points to purchase units and if a unit is killed you regain the points and can reuse them to purchase a unit that will aid you better in the fight.

Finally the multiplayer mode offers a choice of time of commander (air, ground, support, infantry), each with own benefits and pitfalls. You really need to work with others to use their strengths to cover your weaknesses.

So after plying the demo for a good few hours Dok and I both picked up a copy of the game in Cwmbran today.

I was quite surprised at the install speed it was nice and quick and i didn't have to mess around with multiple options when all I want to do it get to the battlefield. The game has artwork it uses for the time between missions so it cuts down on the load times massively, but if this is a storyline cut-scene rather than being a video that's played it's rendered in the game engine effectively reducing load times further still.

The game appeared to be a beast on the requirement side of things but it has run smoothly sofar.

Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows® XP, Windows Vista™
CPU: 2.0 GHz or faster (2.2 GHz for Windows Vista™)
RAM: 512 MB (1 GB for Windows Vista™)
Disc Drive: DVD-ROM
Hard Drive: 1.2 GB of uncompressed free space
Video: 128 MB video RAM, DirectX® 9.0c-compatible
DX9 minimum card: NVIDIA® GeForce® 6600 GT and above
DX10 minimum card: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8500 GT and abov
Sound: DirectX® 9.0c-compatible
Input: Keyboard and mouse
Internet play: Cable, DSL or better
Note: GeForce® 4 MX, Radeon® 8500, 9200 not supported

For those of you that fancy trying out the demo you can download it from the website below.