Game Theory: What Matters Most?



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Great story and immersion are the most important. If the game has a top notch story then who cares if the graphics aren't cutting edge? The rest are hard to rank, but I'd have to say second is replay value. I don't care how great the graphics are or even the story if I can beat the game in 15-20 hours. Graphics comes in third with gameplay/UI in fourth. A game that is difficult to navigate or difficult to learn to play ends up leaving you frustrated and, well, not wanting to play it.



If I'm playing casually, to pass a bit of time without wanting to be too involved, then it's simply fun gameplay that tops everything, along with either a potentially infinite design, or good replay value.

However, if I'm seriously gaming, sitting down at my computer with headphones and asking to not be interrupted for a few hours? Atmosphere and emotion. The games which I really remember, that stick with me and that I will keep coming back to for the experience they provide, are not the ones with great graphics, or a great story, or even great gameplay - they're the ones which caused me to have a lot of emotions.

Zelda: OoT, Thief, Unreal, and more recently, Bioshock, Arkham Asylum and Amnesia, are all games that I will forever remember very fondly (and occasionally return to) because while playing them, I got completely absorbed in the world they've created.

Admittedly, it's a hard thing to define; you can't really just tell game developers to focus on 'making their games atmospheric and create emotions,' but something purely focussed on fun, or story (though story helps), or graphics, will never top my list of favourites.



First and foremost, It must be FUN. Next I would say replay-ability.



Immersion is the most important part for me. A story that has many choices and those choices affect the game dynamic do a better job of getting me personally involved in the game. NPCs that I get to experience and grow a history with my character get me involved on a deeper level. Character customization helps too. I want to look and play a certain way. Voice acting, and sound are important. Can you imagine Star Wars without James Earl Jones and John Williams? I’ve raid 0 SSD drives for my games so load times are rather brief, but certainly a bit of preloading based on a characters map location would be nice for those with slower disk operations so the game flows smoothly. Don’t get me wrong eye candy graphics are nice, but some games from over a decade ago where very immersive even with the limited graphics of the day.



For me, I would say what matters most for my gaming experience is a good plot, or at least an open one. Having a lot of choices to make during a game has always been fun. Fallout New Vegas is the perfect example of this.



What's important to me is the single player game. Story, immersive world, and graphical detail. Skyrim and Infamous and Halo take the cake for me because of this. Resistance comes close as well. I rarely touch multiplayer because, honestly, I suck. I'm good enough to clear games on the highest difficulty, but I lack the squirrel-on-speed reflexes to match 12 year olds that spend all day gaming.


PC Friendly

Not all adventure games are built the same. I still haven't found the "perfect" adventure game yet. Until they come out with a game that doesn't have cut scenes, load times, chapters, and such, I will continue the hunt.

Mind you, I was blown away by Skyrim in it's scope, flexible story, and detail. However, every time I enter a new dungeon or location...Pause....Reality....Pause...Back to the adventure. Why it is that they couldn't have location aware areas in which new areas are pre-loaded and ready to take me to the next area without skipping a beat is beyond me.

Variety is nice. Intensity is great. However, I want a Fantasy which doesn't require me to watch a pretty load screen unless I choose to pause my game. Until this happens, I'll keep waiting and wishing.


The Corrupted One

You are so right about loading times.

It's sad that the only FPS I have ever played no loading bar ever is Metroid Prime Trilogy...


What are devs smoking these days...


Holly Golightly

What I don't understand is why every game has to be like World War III. Almost every game that does come out, requires that I shoot something to solve problems. I always seem to have a wide variety of guns to shoot people with, but it is unrealistic. Heck, even superheros now have a more military approach about them. Batman wears combat boots, and Robin is bald. Max Payne no longer looks cool... He looks like any old Iraq veteran. The Resident Evil series now feels more like a professional military game than a true horror game. Games that seem to sell so well are Call of Duty/Modern Warfare, and Battlefield 3. At some point, this one genre is eating up the creativity of other genres. Anyhow, I am glad to see some games aren't this hardcore World War III game everyone seems to follow these days. There is still a market out there for creative games that are 100% original.



"I always seem to have a wide variety of guns to shoot people with, but it is unrealistic."

When you start to get too realistic a lot of people complain. Depending on the genre, realistic may not be so fun. I mean, how many people can withstand more than 1 hit with a sniper rifle before going down? BF3 is about as close to real that I have seen when it comes to carrying capacity. If they made the load weight affect running speed I bet the anti-tank guys would be sitting ducks in the open. I can't imagine carrying that rocket launcher is pleasant.


Holly Golightly

I guess that is why we have combat sims and so on. But it seems just about every game comes with an unlimited amount of guns. Genres like horror, action, and adventure games seem to have waaay too many guns. Horror games are suppose to put fear onto the player's mind. Yet, I can whack ghost with a baseball bat in Silent Hill 4. I like horror games like Amnesia where you are the weakling trying to escape the darkness. The sound of a monster breathing down your neck as the lights are off and you are all alone playing the game. I like being a part of my games, and sadly, there are not enough games like Amnesia and Fatal Frame.



I do believe in the light
Raise your hands up to the sky
The fight is done
The war is won
Lift your hands
Towards the sun
- 30 seconds to Mars - "This is War"

Seriously, why all the first-person war games? The best first person games in years were Portal and Portal 2 (don't try to deny it).

I'm still waiting for a game to come out called Pacifism about a person who tries to end a war and never hurts or kills anyone (automatic game over if you do). Now that would be emotionally powerful stuff. The best game on pacifism I've seen yet is the Metroidvania Freeware "Iji" (which Maximum PC added to this list of greatest game soundtracks ever).

What is most important? Story and Gameplay. Burning Rangers for Saturn had enough story in it's manual to make me want to write fan fiction. Chrono Trigger for SNES had enough story to make me laugh and cry. And they both had gameplay to match.

On the PC side, the best story so far is Iji, and Alpha Centauri (the greatest game ever made in my opinion). And yes, they both had AMAZING gameplay.



i'd put bioshock 1 and 2 above portal as more stark examples that fps can be more than wwIII but agree with your sentiments.



I like simplicity. Easy to install, and easy to navigate menu system once the game is installed, and then of course, not keeping the saved game files in some random place since I backup and redo my disks a couple times a year and don't want to forget about and lose my saved games, and most games don't use the registry, and can be copied off to another disk and then copied back easily.

Nobody (including me) likes even a simple DRM scheme that even wants the CD to be in the drive when the game is played, is it usually easily krackable, and even if I legitimately own the game, I'll seek out that krack, because it's just a nuisance to have to keep the original CD handy and put it in every time I want to play.



What matters more than anything is immersion. It doesn't have to be graphically great, or have multiplayer, or a huge world to explore, its the ability to keep the player hooked - to get lost in the game you're playing. That is what matters most to me in a game. If you can play for hours and hours and not realize it, then that game has succeeded. If you can play for a couple hours before you get tired of the game, without coming back to it in the future, then that game hasn't reached its potential.

Many developers take the approach to immersing their player in different ways - harder levels, amazing graphics, great storytelling, or long-term goals - mixing and matching until they get it right. This is why some games can hold your attention for a long time (like World of Warcraft) and others a few minutes.

For instance, I would put hundreds of hours into Total War titles because the world I was in, the challenges presented, and the sheer fun of it all made me forget that I had to go to work the next day. Likewise, I play BF3 and Starcraft II intermittently, but always for a couple hours at a time, because those games keep bringing me back for more.

So the key is immersion - the ability to keep the player hooked whether it is hours and hours long on a single session or dozens (even hundreds of sessions) just a couple hours long.



I've been gaming since the first Pong machine came out and have played them all - or so it seems.

Today, I view shooters as simple time wasters. They're entertaining for about 15-30 minutes and I'm done. Beyond me how people can literally sit for hours and play those.

Indie puzzle games are 2nd on my list. Again, fun little time wasters that I may invest 45 minutes on. The types of games that you can play, walk away from for days if not weeks and come back without feeling like you've missed anything.

But as far as "what matters the most," it's definitely the in-depth interaction and feeling of participating in a world that keeps me going. Skyrim, Fallout series, Mass Effect series, Deux Ex, etc. are what gets the bulk of my attention these days. And an occasional simulator such as Rise of Flight. It's really entertaining to feel you are living in and doing something constructive (or destructive) in an alternate world.



I agree with this.

I enjoy shooters for the 30 minutes where I'm trying to waste time between two things I have to do in real life. Hmm, not enough time to go to the gym, start a movie or do something else? Fire up a shooter for 30 minutes.

Games like Mass Effect are reserved for the 2+ hours I want to be able to sit down without interrupt and immerse myself in the game. Those are the real games and I don't feel my IQ dropping as I play them.



I went through the same thing when World of Warcraft came out. Your just half a decade behind. Don't worry though. You will be back to war games sooner or later.

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