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View Full Version : What do you value the most in videogames?



SirDavies
02-10-2012, 11:53 PM
Different people have different preferences. I guess if I were to ask "what makes a videogame good?" I would get a lot of different answers that could be summed up into "a lot of stuff". But that's not what I'm asking. What I'm asking is, if you had to choose one key element of videogames that makes you enjoy playing them, what would it be? Would it be the graphics? How mentally/technically challenging it is? The interactivity between you and the digital world? Having an online experience? A good story? How "fun" it is? It's capacity to let you forget about the real world? How rewarding it is? ...

SirKicksalot
02-10-2012, 11:57 PM
The interactivity between you and the digital world?

This. I want everything to react to my input. From accurate physics to flushing toilets to appropriate AI feedback. Static game worlds suck.

Rauten
03-10-2012, 12:03 AM
Fun.

/10char.

Hypernetic
03-10-2012, 12:58 AM
Fun.

/10char.

This is the gist of it.

I could probably write several pages about what I value in each particular genre/sub-genre, but it all really boils down to whether or not the game is fun.

Heliocentric
03-10-2012, 04:07 AM
Variety, too many games try to be "leading game x" in everything they do. I'm just glad when a game has its own identity, whether its good or not almost seems irrelevant if its a clone.

sabrage
03-10-2012, 04:17 AM
Stand-ins for my absentee father.

And fun.

Gorzan
03-10-2012, 08:18 AM
Fun, and of course:


flushing toilets

Voon
03-10-2012, 09:03 AM
Fahn!

/10char

NathanH
03-10-2012, 09:08 AM
Capacity for deep concentration and flow.

MoLAoS
03-10-2012, 09:27 AM
Math. And by math I mean me winning. The higher the math requirements the more I win. But it just sounds better to say math, because then it makes it seem like I value challenging and intellectual games, but really I just want to win.

And it has to be in game math. It can't be something that can be solved and posted online so any idiot can do it. Alternatively any game that requires spending a lot of time. I win those, too.

Nothing requiring intense user input, I only have a touchpad.

Harlander
03-10-2012, 09:31 AM
Fun, or failing that, to be interesting enough to make up for the lack of fun.

Gozuu
03-10-2012, 09:37 AM
Atmosphere.

A world that drags me into its story and terrain as if it were my current surroundings. I don't need to follow a specific lore to know what I am dealing with in the story, which is why I was so incredibly fascinated by WoW. I haven't found a game similar to the feeling of experiencing Azeroth for the first time, mostly due to the atmosphere being so magnificent. With that being said, I wouldn't get the same feeling playing Vanilla again, but through each expansion up to MoP, I had a great feeling entering the atmosphere of WoW. It had to come to an end eventually though.

Hopefully Titan can spark that feeling up once again! Three years to go though.

Makariel
03-10-2012, 10:40 AM
Fun.
Is Dark Souls "fun"? ;)

Mohorovicic
03-10-2012, 11:02 AM
1. Tits
2. Swords

Avish
03-10-2012, 11:28 AM
I value a game when the developer knows what the game is about and focus on that.
Let's say you make a game about an assassin, focus on that and don't add stuff like wagon chases and naval battles, even if it's a good excuse to add cool explosions, that show how magnificent your home-made engine is.

I also value a game where I don't have to waste precious time on repeating stuff I already did a dozen times, just because the designer forgot to add a checkpoint or he/she thought that fast travel is immersion breaking or something silly like that...

Jesus_Phish
03-10-2012, 11:32 AM
he/she thought that fast travel is immersion breaking or something silly like that...

Depending on how it's done, for most people it can be. Morrowind got it right, fast travel was only available through in game services such as mage portals, spells and taxi services (boats, striders). Oblivion got it wrong, fast travel to anywhere you have previously found with no services (iirc) Skyrim got it kind of right by reintroducing taxi services.

Fun is the most valuable thing in games. If I'm not enjoying the game, it's of little value to me!

Drake Sigar
03-10-2012, 12:09 PM
1. Tits
2. Swords
To the Breastiary!

squirrel
03-10-2012, 12:51 PM
Learning opportunities and feeling of victory.

I believe that very first purpose of playing game is to learn in minimum to no pain, video game is no exception. One way to view it, playing video games almost certainly bears no risk. Either you learn something new, or you brush up skills you already learnt.

And I take frequent refuge in video games from my failures in the real world. Pathetic, huh.

deano2099
03-10-2012, 01:01 PM
Story.

Specifically, a story delivered in a way that couldn't be delivered in any other medium.

TillEulenspiegel
03-10-2012, 01:25 PM
Silly people saying "fun" like that means anything. Fun is not a useful metric because it's entirely subjective, unquantifiable, and poorly defined. It's the equivalent of proclaiming "I like it if I like it."

I like immersive, interactive, simulated game worlds.

Daiv
03-10-2012, 01:26 PM
To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Kadayi
03-10-2012, 01:32 PM
I like immersive, interactive, simulated game worlds.

I'd go with that and probably add atmospheric as well.

I'm not too fussy about things like Photorealism, but a game environment needs be cohesive and avoid things like invisible door syndrome.

apricotsoup
03-10-2012, 01:40 PM
Unique game worlds, gimme interesting environments that I want to explore and don't know what's coming and strange creatures I've not seen in other games.

No more bloody elves or grey manshoots.

Mohorovicic
03-10-2012, 01:46 PM
To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

So mostly Sengoku Rance then?

Oak
03-10-2012, 02:05 PM
Personality.

Rauten
03-10-2012, 02:38 PM
Silly people saying "fun" like that means anything. Fun is not a useful metric because it's entirely subjective, unquantifiable, and poorly defined. It's the equivalent of proclaiming "I like it if I like it."

I like immersive, interactive, simulated game worlds.

Silly people saying "immersion" like that means anything. Immersion is a not useful metric because it's entirely subjective, unquantifiable, and poorly defined.

If I were to make a list of all the bloody goddamn things I may enjoy about a game I could here all damn day. But at the end, what it all boils down to is "did I have fun"? After all, I'd say that's the damn point of a videogame.

And yes, Dark Souls was fun, until I tried to PvP as DarkMoon but couldn't find a single target to invade in all of blasted Lordran.

Xercies
03-10-2012, 02:43 PM
I find immersion a little bit more concrete then fun though, because fun I feel limits things somewhat, you can't have a schindlers list of gaming if all you care about is fun!

Rauten
03-10-2012, 02:53 PM
I find immersion a little bit more concrete then fun though, because fun I feel limits things somewhat, you can't have a schindlers list of gaming if all you care about is fun!

Hm, true. Can I change "fun" for "enjoyment"? Which is probably even more vague but should also encompass those more dramatic works.

Jesus_Phish
03-10-2012, 02:55 PM
Hm, true. Can I change "fun" for "enjoyment"? Which is probably even more vague but should also encompass those more dramatic works.

I immediately thought the same thing. Fun and enjoyment are often used (correctly or not) interchangeable.

"I enjoyed Schindlers List" sounds more reasonable than "Schindlers List is such a fun movie!"

Gorzan
03-10-2012, 03:12 PM
I'll say fun still, because "I appreciate the enjoyement that Schindler's List brings me, but I prefer the fun of Total Recall"

Rauten
03-10-2012, 03:27 PM
"I enjoyed Schindlers List" sounds more reasonable than "Schindlers List is such a fun movie!"

"I had so much fun watching that movie about the jews dying and being abused and that guy that saves some of them! It was really fun!"

*In shock, a look of horror in the face* "YOU MONSTER!"

I enjoyed The Path's gothic girl's playthrough, but calling it "fun" would quickly label me as an inhuman bastard that shouldn't be allowed to live. Same for the lolita one. *Shivers*

SirDavies
03-10-2012, 03:29 PM
Personally I'm gonna go for Interactivity. The more in control of my character and how he affects the world around him, the more I enjoy playing the game. When every possibility in the game is clearly highlighted it just doesn't feel like I'm playing, but watching while pressing the buttons they want me to press.

Tikey
03-10-2012, 03:43 PM
A high "start to crate" value.
You can't argue with science.

Rossi
03-10-2012, 03:43 PM
Replayability. I can forgive its faults if I can keep coming back to it and have as much fun if not more when I played it last time.

Sparkasaurusmex
03-10-2012, 03:50 PM
How long after I launch the game does it take until I'm playing? So yeah, obviously "fun" is more important, but this is something I have noticed that strangely has an impact on what game I choose to play in certain moods.

groovychainsaw
03-10-2012, 04:11 PM
I find my tastes change as I get older (and I've played sooo many games now, I really have...).

Things that excite me these days are (in no particular order): Exploration, procedural generation/randomisation, originality of concept/mechanic (even within a larger, more familiar framework).

Interestingly, that list doesn't include 'conflict'. I can take or leave that element of games these days.

I run out of patience with many games in the first hour or two that feel too similar to other games that have come before. First person shooters, third person shooters, RTS particularly need to be doing something radically different to get my attention these days (guilty pleasures notwithstanding).

Fun is a measure that gets involved, but there's games I like that I wouldn't necessarily describe as 'fun' (Dark Souls is the one others have used and I'll use that as my example too - it's brilliant, but 'fun' is not an adjective I'd choose to describe it). FTL also springs to mind. Its more 'harrowing' than fun, but damn, its enjoyable (also hits my 'original concept + randomisation' likes!).

mashakos
03-10-2012, 04:21 PM
Silly people saying "fun" like that means anything.

I know it might sound annoying for people to keep saying "fun" in the thread, but I think that anyone who is interested in games HAS to know what that means intuitively. It's obviously not helpful to anyone looking for a "factual" answer but I like it. It's sort of like a challenge to the person posing the question: "Fun. Find out how it's done."

I'll go with a concrete answer myself:
Single player games that have complex, mature experiences and have absolutely zero padding. Closest thing I've experienced to that was the original Metal Gear Solid (it lacked the complexity I desired, but was not 300000 hours long).

mashakos
03-10-2012, 04:23 PM
A high "start to crate" value.
You can't argue with science.

You will love Sonic The Hedgehog then.

Sparkasaurusmex
03-10-2012, 04:30 PM
I realize "Fun" is listed in the OP, but yeah it's a catch all answer... it's kind of as if the OP is asking, "What makes games fun for you?"

I admit I'm over a lot of the stuff I used to enjoy. I don't want to watch a movie or read a book while I'm playing a video game anymore. Recently I've been enjoying games that can offer a variety of experiences in multiple plays. This usually has some randomization, but I don't think randomly generated worlds are necessarily a requirement for fresh, new play throughs.

Xercies
03-10-2012, 05:18 PM
I think one that you can so easily make stories for I think Crusader Kings 2 is probably the master of it, no matter what happens you can just make an entertaining story out of it.

also has to have decent co-op I guess i like more social games now then single player epics, stories in gaming have stagnated somewhat.

Feldspar
03-10-2012, 05:38 PM
I enjoy games more when they let me build, tinker with and grow something, not necessarily a representation of a physical object, but also characters, nations and locations.

deano2099
03-10-2012, 05:56 PM
Silly people saying "immersion" like that means anything. Immersion is a not useful metric because it's entirely subjective, unquantifiable, and poorly defined.


We're not discussing metrics though. We're discussing what people value most in games. Sure, 'immersion' can be personal and can't be measured, and varies from game-to-game and person-to-person. But if the main reason you enjoy games is to feel like you're in an entirely different world, either because you like it, or because you want to forget about your miserable day-to-day existence, immersion is easily the most important thing in gaming.

Nalano
03-10-2012, 06:00 PM
Silly people saying "immersion" like that means anything. Immersion is a not useful metric because it's entirely subjective, unquantifiable, and poorly defined.

Do you want a bloody poll or do you want my answer?

Rauten
03-10-2012, 06:04 PM
Stuff


Slightly less stuff

Could both of you please go back to that post of mine you've quoted and check the one I quoted? Thank you.

Nalano
03-10-2012, 06:08 PM
Could both of you please go back to that post of mine you've quoted and check the one I quoted? Thank you.

I see your immersion/fun and raise you a lulz.

After all, that's why I do it.

Rauten
03-10-2012, 06:21 PM
I see your immersion/fun and raise you a lulz.

After all, that's why I do it.

I'll take the poll then.

Big_Z
03-10-2012, 06:39 PM
Fun.

/10char.

this.

//thread over

NathanH
03-10-2012, 06:46 PM
I also like games that are good at generating a story-in-my-head. This is a bit like immersion, but instead of the game drawing me into its made-up world, I draw the game into my made-up world. The advantage of this is clear: I'm not vulnerable to "immersion-breaking", because I am in ultimate command of the story-in-my-head. Also, it works for pretty much every game imaginable. Of course, it's easier to construct the story-in-my-head for some games, but it's possible for all games.

Faldrath
03-10-2012, 07:13 PM
I think my honest answer would be "escapism".

Mohorovicic
03-10-2012, 07:18 PM
fun

You might as well say "fnurglewitz".

Nalano
03-10-2012, 07:39 PM
You might as well say "fnurglewitz".

I'm onto you...

mickygor
03-10-2012, 08:25 PM
I don't think there's a word that encapsulates the concept, but my value of a game is the ratio of characters controlled to the direction of the game. E.g. in Supreme Commander, I completely disregarded the single player campaign and went straight to skirmish, because I'm controlling up to a thousand units at once and my enjoyment comes from the managing of them. Conversely, I enjoyed Jade Cocoon because in true Square fashion, it's entirely linear. I'm the last hope for the village facing impending doom, I don't have time to play hide and seek with the kids or go fetch a basket of vegetables a forgetful farmer left behind in their fields, or go check out that awesome looking mountain in the distance.

That said, there are exceptions. For example, I'm loving Guild Wars 2 because while I only control 1 character, that character is all but irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (ignoring the personal story, which incidentally I've by and large ignored).

I can't really place my finger on what it is exactly that decides whether I enjoy a game, what I wrote is just a guideline. I do know, however, that it means I hate most games.

Nalano
03-10-2012, 08:43 PM
Do they have to be micro'd individually or can they be discrete units a la Total War?

coldvvvave
03-10-2012, 08:47 PM
Word "fun" means nothing to me.

SP games: Some sense of progression. Fitting music. Good visuals. Whatever.

MP games: I'm happy if the game lets me ruin the "fun" for players who are using "cheap" tactics, "unfair" advantages, overpowered items or obvious exploits. If I have to use the dirty tactics myself against them, so be it. I don't care if I die or lose in the process. Never surrender to exploiters. Never tolerate people with 50 to 1 K/d ratio in BF games who roll around in APC's or Tanks. I don't care who wins, I'm going to hunt down that bastard and slit his throat when he is repairing or die in the process.

mickygor
03-10-2012, 08:51 PM
Do they have to be micro'd individually or can they be discrete units a la Total War?

They don't have to be individually micro'd, though I find the transition between map and battle screens in Total War a bit jarring. That you can still individually see the units, even if you can't control them individually, helps. I do still enjoy the Total War games, but there are games I would choose to play over it, again Supreme Commander being the ultimate choice. Even so, I don't individually micro in Supreme Commander; doing so too much would just get you flanked and crushed.

Jiiiiim
03-10-2012, 09:00 PM
I think I'm fundamentally looking for my input to actually matter - that is, you're able to play a game in a sufficiently creative way that your button presses couldn't be replicated by some simple computer program. If I get to a point where I know exactly how to respond to every situation, the game is done (hello Recettear)

Heliocentric
03-10-2012, 09:03 PM
I think I'm fundamentally looking for my input to actually matter - that is, you're able to play a game in a sufficiently creative way that your button presses couldn't be replicated by some simple computer program. If I get to a point where I know exactly how to respond to every situation, the game is done (hello Recettear)
I like this answer, its why I've tended towards strategy and stealth games where its not the "clickity clickity" but the actual thinking behind it that takes priority.

Also Binding of issac and spelunky because you don't really know what to expect in the next area.

Scumbag
03-10-2012, 09:05 PM
Entertainment that is consistent enough to either get through the whole game or make me feel I sunk my money / time into something worthwhile.
That and punishing mechanics.

deano2099
03-10-2012, 09:59 PM
Could both of you please go back to that post of mine you've quoted and check the one I quoted? Thank you.

Oops sorry. Pretend I was addressing the person you quoted instead then or something.

Finicky
03-10-2012, 10:36 PM
Good gameplay combined with an elaborate learning curve.

Very very few games focus on either anymore these days:(

deano2099
03-10-2012, 11:04 PM
Good gameplay combined with an elaborate learning curve.


I do love great learning curves. The first Guitar Hero game was paced incredibly well in terms of how it ramped up the challenge. Of course, once you know how to play a plastic guitar, you know how to play a plastic guitar and future games can never offer that same experience.

Berzee
03-10-2012, 11:04 PM
I was thinkin' about this for a good while, and I concluded that what I value most in The Video Games is Heroics, whatever that may mean.

Whether the game mechanics allow you to do heroic maneuvers, or the story is about heroism, or you can make heroic decisions -- I am willing to tolerate an otherwise-poor game if it succeeds in making me feel heroic. =P

Of course I play non-heroic games too (i.e. Hitman) but when I find myself wishing I had a game to play, and finding that none of my current ones fit the bill, it's usually because they are about stuff that's too abstract to allow me to witness some virtual heroism.

(Heroic here being a sort of catch-all for bravery, selflessness, and capability, probably other things too -- but not necessarily Freedom Force style =P).

DarkFenix
04-10-2012, 12:12 AM
Fun. And I'll even elaborate as to what that means for me ;). Given that my tastes usually revolve around RPG, strategy and shooter/action, this mostly boils down to three things being interesting; the things I use to blow shit up, the way I use them to blow shit up and the shit I blow up. Doesn't have to be all three, but anything less than two makes for some really bland gameplay. Guns in a shooter need to feel powerful, enemies need to be more interesting than cardboard cutouts, that sort of thing. Of course that's not all there is to fun and certainly not all there is to a game, but the fastest turnoff for me is a game with bland combat mechanics (Doom 3 springs to mind; bland, piddly guns that do dull things to boring enemies).

Story. Not every game needs one and it doesn't have to be a Tolkien-esque epic, but it improves most games to have one. Hell I even liked Starcraft 2's almost universally reviled story and characters. I'm not too fussy when it comes to storyline so long as the delivery is at least reasonable.

Challenge, learning curve, fairness. The three go hand in hand, most games lack the first two now. The first two without the third are a waste of time. Dark Souls is a good example of the first and last, less so the second; the game is in general a challenge and never an unfair one, you never die because the game mechanics didn't work properly or because a completely unforseeable occurrance got you, if you died it was your own damn fault. The difficulty curve is there, but it's a bit unstable, prone to spiking both up and down, on average increasing throughout the game, but never with much consistency. I honestly can't think of a game that's got all three aspects of this perfect, I'd probably have to look back to the 80's or 90's.

Solid controls, tight mechanics. Not one that immediately came to mind, but no less important. I don't want to die because the game mechanics didn't function as intended, I don't want to lose my units because input delay reared its ugly head. Some games never lose the feel of constantly wrestling with the game and its controls to make the bloody thing do what you want, these are never good games.

Mindwedge
04-10-2012, 12:26 AM
A decent single-player that lasts more than a few hours. I want to play on my own schedule.

MeltdownInteractiveMedia
04-10-2012, 07:14 AM
Fun and Emotion.

If a game gives me a feeling of elation, when I've achieved something, then it's a good game.
If a game makes me very angry, because it beat me, and I knew it was only due to fault of my own, then it's a good game.
But most of all, if a game is fun to play, and you actually enjoy yourself most of the time while playing it, then it's a good game.

b0rsuk
04-10-2012, 01:43 PM
Learning opportunities and feeling of victory.


No. In games, you want puctual releases.

BillButNotBen
04-10-2012, 01:54 PM
Immersion. For me, personally, the immersion usually comes from sense of place (a game world I can explore and interact with), exploration and story.

But it depends on the game. Some games like Morrowind can grab me purely with sense of place and no need for a story. Others like KotoR might grab me mainly through story and visiting interesting places.

For this reason I usually, but not always, find 3d games to be more immersive, as they allow me to feel more freedom and more sense of exploration and being inside the world.

Games have a similar function to imagination for me. "gameplay" or "graphics" are all secondary considerations.

Jesus_Phish
04-10-2012, 02:09 PM
If I'm not allowed just say fun, then immersion is king for me.

If I can lose myself in a game and notice the next time I look at a clock its hours or days later I know it's given me great value.

karthink
04-10-2012, 02:59 PM
Internal consistency, unless the game makes a point of beating its own rules (McPixel)

Nalano
04-10-2012, 03:28 PM
No. In games, you want puctual releases.

Huh?

10char

Sparkasaurusmex
04-10-2012, 03:34 PM
I think he means in hockey games

SirDavies
04-10-2012, 05:19 PM
Yeah, maybe adding "fun" as a possible answer was kind of redundant. In the end, most people use the words enjoyment and fun in the same way.

I'm pretty happy to see almost all of you put more value into the interactive stuff (immersion, challenge, feeling of control), leaving the non-interactive (visuals, story, music) as a secondary condition for enjoyment, although of course they are directly related.

Barnox
04-10-2012, 06:13 PM
What I like most in games is creating my own story/customising things.

Which is why systems like Kingdoms of Amalur's crafting system, JRPG crafting, Dwarf Fortress and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts are among my favourite games.
I'm picky, though. Skyrim's world feels dead and empty to me.

Sadly, I can't find many games with decent (non-linear) crafting (I don't want "7 iron is an iron sword, that is all you get", I want "A sword made with 7 iron has more Cutting and less Heavy than one made of platinum, also you can decorate it with stats and odd abilities")

RakeShark
04-10-2012, 06:14 PM
Conan! What is best in video games?

Crush the mechanics. See them operate before you. And hear the lamentations of their developers.

Sparkasaurusmex
04-10-2012, 08:27 PM
I'm pretty happy to see almost all of you put more value into the interactive stuff (immersion, challenge, feeling of control), leaving the non-interactive (visuals, story, music) as a secondary condition for enjoyment
But even this depends on the game. A strategy game with horrible mechanics and a wonderful story, or a point and click adventure with great controls but a bland and boring story?

SirDavies
04-10-2012, 08:38 PM
Of course, any characteristic that you can name as an elemental part of what makes you enjoy a videogame can't stand on it's own; if all other characteristics suck, the game will not be all that enjoyable.

bad guy
04-10-2012, 10:37 PM
For me the focus is on the core gameplay. Challenging gameplay --> reward.

A big plus:
- style (art)
- good music (or none at all) and sounds
- damage modeling, realistic physics simulation
- depth

Mindwedge
05-10-2012, 12:30 AM
If I'm not allowed just say fun, then immersion is king for me.

If I can lose myself in a game and notice the next time I look at a clock its hours or days later I know it's given me great value.

He said the magic word: VALUE

BillButNotBen
05-10-2012, 01:21 PM
I'm pretty happy to see almost all of you put more value into the interactive stuff (immersion, challenge, feeling of control), leaving the non-interactive (visuals, story, music) as a secondary condition for enjoyment, although of course they are directly related.

I'm not sure I'd put it that way, personally. For me, graphics and sound are tertiary, but visuals, music and particularly story can have a big effect on immersion. I'm not sure I'd say immersion was interactive either, though it could be in some cases. Story and visuals can be very immersive, but pure gameplay (which is pure interaction) often isn't very immersive at all.

As you said, it's all directly related, and it varies from game to game and genre to genre.

I do think that the nature of CONTROL in games helps to make them more immersive... for example even the half life intro where you are just looking around feels more immersive than a movie clip might, but it's not really very interactive except in the most basic sense.

Nalano
05-10-2012, 01:23 PM
I'm pretty happy to see almost all of you put more value into the interactive stuff (immersion, challenge, feeling of control), leaving the non-interactive (visuals, story, music) as a secondary condition for enjoyment, although of course they are directly related.

Only a handful of games do story well.

But when they do, I like story above all other considerations.

SirDavies
29-11-2012, 05:07 PM
Sorry to revive this dead thread but I felt like this video was relevant to the discussion:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzpgOJ2ubI&list=UL

DWZippy
29-11-2012, 05:12 PM
Interesting mechanics and interactivity. This often means I'm drawn towards steath, turn based and open world games.

[Jagged Alliance 1.13 is still my favourite game solely because of how fascinating/detailed the mechanics are.]

JimBob
29-11-2012, 09:11 PM
Nothing. They are a complete waste of time.

42hrs in chivalry, 345 hrs of css, 293 of m2tw, 82 of ro:hos, etc...

dspimoni
30-11-2012, 06:38 AM
A good story. This can either be supplied by the game itself, like the adventures of the heroic mute, Gordon Freeman. Then again, if the game supplies the tools for me to make an awesome story, that's fine too, like my betrayal laden campaigns toward global conquest in Civilization II.

Challenge. There's no better feeling than when some seemingly impossible obstacle is finally overcome, like completing the solo to Freebird in Guitar Hero, or taking out an aimhacking AWP noob in Counter Strike with a pump shotgun.

Those are the two things I can think of, maybe the only things.

gwathdring
30-11-2012, 07:51 AM
Surprise is one of the things I value most. Some of my favorite video game moments were:



Getting the OMGWTFBBQ achievement by accident in TF2.
The turrets singing to me in Portal 2.
Pretty much every round of Frozen Synapse.
The ending to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
The ending to Prince of Persia 2008
Getting my legs blown off and crawling to the end of the training facility in Deus Ex.


Things like that. Another thing I really value is meaningful challenge. There are challenges that I find difficult but boring (like most boss fights), and then there are challenges like the entirety of VVVVVV. It wasn't deep, but it was meaningful to me. The game went out of it's way to provide me with direct access to challenges. I want to try Veni Vidi Vici or one of the less-well-known but still intricate bonus challenges? There's a convenient checkpoint at the beginning of every challenge, and sometimes in the middle of a challenge. I never have to backtrack too far just because I died on a completely unrelated challenge and the only penalty for failure is ... failure. I could do challenges in pretty much whatever order I wanted once I got the hang of the game enough to breeze through incidental challenges and movements. Hitman Blood Money deserves a nod here, too.

In Skyrim? I never feel challenged. Sometimes I die or get outgunned ... but a lot of those instances feel just as meaningless as my dominance over the wildlife of Skyrim. How difficult a given enemy often feels spastic, arbitrary and hollow. I'll decide to kill this or that NPC, take on an enemy I see from a distance ... only to find it way more simple or difficult than I expected. Skyrim provides me with lots of Surprise though, which saves it somewhat. I guess meaningful challenge is more important to me than Surprise though because I find Space Chem more compelling than Skyrim--though I log fewer hours in it for reasons more to do with pacing than preference. Or maybe Skyrim provides enough of the expected to balance out the surprise.


Some other things I value enormously are mechanical elegance and novelty. Give me a game that flows together beautifully or does something weird and interesting and I'll enjoy myself just as much (if not for as long) as a game with a more tired mechanical concept that gives more moment-to-moment surprise or more meaningful challenge (i.e. the two things above). Sequence is my poster child here. It's one of the more mechanically bizarre games I've ever played. It's not the most visually or fictionally inventive ... but that's not something I look for in games exclusively--fictional innovation is something I look for in a lot of mediums. Sequence has something else though: and exceptional JRPG style combat system combined with a fun and at times excruciatingly difficult rhythm game in the style of DDR. And they blend together perfectly. It's a glorious thing. I have high hopes for The Void, still haven't gotten around to it yet. Jedi Knight (Academy and Outcast are about the same to me, like them for slightly different things) really nailed being a Jedi for me. I felt like I could do all the things a Jedi could and I loved the chaotic saber fights. In singleplayer they had a tendency to get a little arbitrary at times (skill could get you to win battles against the same opponent 9/10 times but that 1 in ten was frustrating and seemingly chancy), but multiplayer felt more skill based. Not sure what the difference was in the saber mechanics (if there was one?) but I got a better impression of consistency in multiplayer. Anyway, solid mechanics that understood what they wanted to emulate.

For all that it is predictable and uneventful, the Half-Life series plays smooth as butter to me. It knows what it's doing. The pacing is apt, the mechanics click well, the guns function nicely, the gravity gun is a blast, the level design is workman-like, and the voice acting is excellent (especially Gordon). It's a shame there isn't more ... life in it. That didn't start as a pun, but I'm going to retcon it as such. The game is aptly named. It was all the pieces, but something is missing so I salute them as mechanical works but am not at all sorry to see the series fade into the mists of time. I do so enjoy playing through them every now and then. Same with the Portal games, really. It all felt so shiny and workman-like but there was something missing. In Portal is was due to the game being a fleshed out tech demo. The point was the mechanics, and it stuck to the point--there was a good deal of entertaining humor along the way (the final showdown was especially hilarious if a bit daft as gameplay) but mostly it was a slick mechanical showcase of what the Portal gun can do. A damn good, damn fun show case. Portal 2 was an absurd comedy piece stretched thinly over slick but heartless, toothless gameplay. It was, to be precise, a very long rendition of the ending of Portal 1 played backwards.

Hmm. I think that post, in agregate, sums up what I value in games nicely even if it rambles a bit and leaves out a lot of my favorite games and moments. Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.

**Sometimes I wish Xor weren't just a programming thing and that or meant logical or exclusively rather than inclusively.

gwathdring
30-11-2012, 08:00 AM
Only a handful of games do story well.

But when they do, I like story above all other considerations.

I can definitely enjoy games that engage me as stories even if I don't care overmuch for much else about them. I disliked a lot of things about Mass Effect 2, but damn did I want to know what happened to that bunch of characters. I will always remember PoP 2008 fondly even though I found the game functional but bland, just because I loved that ending so much. Good stories are behind all of my favorite individual pieces of across-the-board entertainment. I love a lot about games, but I love good stories more than the things I love most about games.

Nalano
30-11-2012, 01:15 PM
I can definitely enjoy games that engage me as stories even if I don't care overmuch for much else about them. I disliked a lot of things about Mass Effect 2, but damn did I want to know what happened to that bunch of characters. I will always remember PoP 2008 fondly even though I found the game functional but bland, just because I loved that ending so much. Good stories are behind all of my favorite individual pieces of across-the-board entertainment. I love a lot about games, but I love good stories more than the things I love most about games.

Good characterization (and good plot to go along with them) makes the world go 'round. Even people who hated the Mass Effect series saw the appeal of Mordin Solus.

To me, franchises like Saints Row or Borderlands would be average, unremarkable GTA-clones and FPS/RPG hybrids without their incredible attention to the characters. The adventure game genre would basically be stillborn without the likes of Guybrush Threepwood or Sam and Max or Manny Calavera. RPGs got a lot of their appeal from the flavor of Minsc and Boo. Hell, even Alpha Centauri, as wonkish as it gets, had an ongoing story between the player and Planet (not to mention scenarios between the factions that spawned their own books).

In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.

Kadayi
30-11-2012, 01:22 PM
In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.

Pretty much. There has to be a degree of peronal investment in what's going on for sure. Certainly I'll play RTS and the like, however giving a damn about the characters is key for me. Half the fun of XCOM is that my squads made up of my friends and I can get behind their survival.

SirDavies
30-11-2012, 02:02 PM
Surprise is one of the things I value most. Some of my favorite video game moments were:



Getting the OMGWTFBBQ achievement by accident in TF2.
The turrets singing to me in Portal 2.
Pretty much every round of Frozen Synapse.
The ending to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
The ending to Prince of Persia 2008
Getting my legs blown off and crawling to the end of the training facility in Deus Ex.


Things like that. Another thing I really value is meaningful challenge. There are challenges that I find difficult but boring (like most boss fights), and then there are challenges like the entirety of VVVVVV. It wasn't deep, but it was meaningful to me. The game went out of it's way to provide me with direct access to challenges. I want to try Veni Vidi Vici or one of the less-well-known but still intricate bonus challenges? There's a convenient checkpoint at the beginning of every challenge, and sometimes in the middle of a challenge. I never have to backtrack too far just because I died on a completely unrelated challenge and the only penalty for failure is ... failure. I could do challenges in pretty much whatever order I wanted once I got the hang of the game enough to breeze through incidental challenges and movements. Hitman Blood Money deserves a nod here, too.

In Skyrim? I never feel challenged. Sometimes I die or get outgunned ... but a lot of those instances feel just as meaningless as my dominance over the wildlife of Skyrim. How difficult a given enemy often feels spastic, arbitrary and hollow. I'll decide to kill this or that NPC, take on an enemy I see from a distance ... only to find it way more simple or difficult than I expected. Skyrim provides me with lots of Surprise though, which saves it somewhat. I guess meaningful challenge is more important to me than Surprise though because I find Space Chem more compelling than Skyrim--though I log fewer hours in it for reasons more to do with pacing than preference. Or maybe Skyrim provides enough of the expected to balance out the surprise.


Some other things I value enormously are mechanical elegance and novelty. Give me a game that flows together beautifully or does something weird and interesting and I'll enjoy myself just as much (if not for as long) as a game with a more tired mechanical concept that gives more moment-to-moment surprise or more meaningful challenge (i.e. the two things above). Sequence is my poster child here. It's one of the more mechanically bizarre games I've ever played. It's not the most visually or fictionally inventive ... but that's not something I look for in games exclusively--fictional innovation is something I look for in a lot of mediums. Sequence has something else though: and exceptional JRPG style combat system combined with a fun and at times excruciatingly difficult rhythm game in the style of DDR. And they blend together perfectly. It's a glorious thing. I have high hopes for The Void, still haven't gotten around to it yet. Jedi Knight (Academy and Outcast are about the same to me, like them for slightly different things) really nailed being a Jedi for me. I felt like I could do all the things a Jedi could and I loved the chaotic saber fights. In singleplayer they had a tendency to get a little arbitrary at times (skill could get you to win battles against the same opponent 9/10 times but that 1 in ten was frustrating and seemingly chancy), but multiplayer felt more skill based. Not sure what the difference was in the saber mechanics (if there was one?) but I got a better impression of consistency in multiplayer. Anyway, solid mechanics that understood what they wanted to emulate.

For all that it is predictable and uneventful, the Half-Life series plays smooth as butter to me. It knows what it's doing. The pacing is apt, the mechanics click well, the guns function nicely, the gravity gun is a blast, the level design is workman-like, and the voice acting is excellent (especially Gordon). It's a shame there isn't more ... life in it. That didn't start as a pun, but I'm going to retcon it as such. The game is aptly named. It was all the pieces, but something is missing so I salute them as mechanical works but am not at all sorry to see the series fade into the mists of time. I do so enjoy playing through them every now and then. Same with the Portal games, really. It all felt so shiny and workman-like but there was something missing. In Portal is was due to the game being a fleshed out tech demo. The point was the mechanics, and it stuck to the point--there was a good deal of entertaining humor along the way (the final showdown was especially hilarious if a bit daft as gameplay) but mostly it was a slick mechanical showcase of what the Portal gun can do. A damn good, damn fun show case. Portal 2 was an absurd comedy piece stretched thinly over slick but heartless, toothless gameplay. It was, to be precise, a very long rendition of the ending of Portal 1 played backwards.

Hmm. I think that post, in agregate, sums up what I value in games nicely even if it rambles a bit and leaves out a lot of my favorite games and moments. Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.

**Sometimes I wish Xor weren't just a programming thing and that or meant logical or exclusively rather than inclusively.

I mostly agree with your point of view, but Portal 2? Seriously? Are you trying to tell me that Portal 2 did not have surprising moments, mechanical elegance or meaningful challenge?

gwathdring
30-11-2012, 02:53 PM
I mostly agree with your point of view, but Portal 2? Seriously? Are you trying to tell me that Portal 2 did not have surprising moments, mechanical elegance or meaningful challenge?

It had surprising moments in the fictional sphere. And that was a lot of fun. But a lot of the jokes felt hollow to me. Like ... they were funny before they got put through a filter of some sort. Similarly the game was beautiful and it had some elegant mechanics ... that were not used interestingly. I didn't feel challenged by the puzzles in singleplayer. I felt like I was walking through them rather than solving them. Having the most elegant mechanics ever made won't help if the player is never called upon to make use of them elegantly or creatively of their own volition. I never felt clever in Portal 2, nor did I feel outmatched. I just sort of wandered around in a very pretty and mostly funny environment finding surprisingly funny fictional elements only to meet with surprisingly predictable pacing and surprisingly bland levels in between those fictional surprises.

The co-op mode, however? Hit all of my bullet points. Still not as challenging as I would have liked, but far better than the single-player in terms of meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance, and mechanical surprise. Maybe you found Portal 2 challenging in a meaningful way; I didn't. It doesn't mean I'm better at puzzles, either. It means I'm either so in line with or so orthogonal to the thought process Valve used to make the puzzles that they didn't behave as expect for me. Or they could have been too easy for me, but I have no reason to assume I was better at them than people who found them difficult. There were certainly puzzles I thought I couldn't do until I realized there was a hidden thing around the corner ... but I don't really count that as a meaningfully difficult puzzle in the Portal 2 setting. I didn't see that there was a portal-able surface over there! Damn, well good thing I never try to play hidden object games, I'd be rubbish at them.

Toothless, heartless gameplay and mostly-funny writting ... because the story being told wasn't all that interesting other than as a comedy routine, that didn't really carry the day for me either so I'm left with a funny, but rather robotic single player game.

SirDavies
30-11-2012, 10:34 PM
Fair enough

Namdrol
01-12-2012, 09:50 AM
Sorry to revive this dead thread but I felt like this video was relevant to the discussion:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzpgOJ2ubI&list=UL


thx. good vid.

Finicky
01-12-2012, 09:58 AM
Rewarding gameplay (not pseudo rewarding 'gameplay' through unlocks or achievements or filling bars).
Good learning curve.

lowest possible input lag needed to facilitate both.

Video is a load of crap, games haven't been about fun ina long time, they are now about a false sense of accomplishment and power fantasies. Neither even remotely have anything to do with fun.

Namdrol
01-12-2012, 09:58 AM
-snip-

Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.

+1. you said it better than i could ever have, great post.

Outright Villainy
01-12-2012, 07:26 PM
Many different things, but I think there's one common trait that I always look for: Make me pay attention. It could be a story worth telling, or a great world worth seeing; I'd say Portal 2 was great on both of those counts. It could be completely different to that, make your goals ambiguous, and rely on paying attention and exploration to make your wary forward (a la Dark Souls and Cave story.) Big hint arrows telling you where to go completely kill a game for me most of the time since I'll just zone out and auto-pilot. On that point, having combat that forces you think. Not just spam grenades and make you replay it until you twitch fast enough, but actually require you to use different tactics and ideas. Games will often tout choice heavily, but I want to be forced to use it, to have to weigh the tactical pros and cons of each choice, instead of it just being the variety show. Or it could be the mechanics themselves having such underlying complexity that they require constant thinking about what you're doing for them to be effective; Counter strike is a good example here, with its spray patterns, strafe cancelling and burst firing.

I think the main thing is I don't play games to relax, I want them to take as much of my attention as possible.

Jamison Dance
02-12-2012, 07:24 AM
I value meaningful interactions with other people and learning complex systems. This is why I gravitate mostly towards multiplayer games, and why Dota 2 is currently owning my life. It is endlessly complex, and as team-based as any sport. Nothing brings you together with random internet strangers like putting together a wombo-combo to win a teamfight.

NathanH
02-12-2012, 09:34 AM
I value most a game that makes me stop thinking of other things while I'm playing it, and keep thinking about it when I'm not playing it. In the end I think that's what really matters.

SirDavies
02-12-2012, 05:38 PM
Video is a load of crap, games haven't been about fun ina long time, they are now about a false sense of accomplishment and power fantasies. Neither even remotely have anything to do with fun.

These false sensation of accomplishment doesn't feel false to most people. Look at the CoD players at 15 prestige. But this is not what the video is talking about. The sense of progression, power fantasies, the objective of all those mechanics is to make you enjoy yourself, to make the game more fun. What the video argues is that fun is not the only thing videogames can deliver, and that they have potential for so much more.

sonson
02-12-2012, 06:50 PM
Good characterization (and good plot to go along with them) makes the world go 'round. Even people who hated the Mass Effect series saw the appeal of Mordin Solus.

To me, franchises like Saints Row or Borderlands would be average, unremarkable GTA-clones and FPS/RPG hybrids without their incredible attention to the characters. The adventure game genre would basically be stillborn without the likes of Guybrush Threepwood or Sam and Max or Manny Calavera. RPGs got a lot of their appeal from the flavor of Minsc and Boo. Hell, even Alpha Centauri, as wonkish as it gets, had an ongoing story between the player and Planet (not to mention scenarios between the factions that spawned their own books).

In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.

This. I think I would full on hate Max Payne 3 without Max and the cast, like full on hate-it's nasty and dumb and preposterous and poorly balanced. But I've kept going back to it to follow the plot and see what there is to see. It's the ideas which pull me in. I don't care how fun they are or how good they feel to play, gaming is just another experience to me and as long as I enjoy it I don't care how pure or otherwise it is. If I'm enjoying it, I'm enjoying it.

TheXand
03-12-2012, 01:19 AM
I love just becoming the toughest, most heavily armoured knight/Jedi/whatever out there. Simple tastes.

RobF
03-12-2012, 01:26 AM
Lasers, really.

Maybe colours too.

TheXand
03-12-2012, 03:06 AM
You must have had a field day with Geometry Wars.

harhis23
03-12-2012, 03:56 AM
adventures and challenge - if both are present, there is no reason for you not to enjoy the gameplay. It is very overwhelming once you overcome a challenge. And of course, adventure is always present in one’s quest.

augustuskent
03-12-2012, 04:56 AM
This ^^^

Plus ultimately, self expression, and I love games that do that, Far Cry, Dishonoured, Total War, Oblivion.

Generally sandbox games, or games that have a high degree of randomness and unpredictability.

ambing1
03-12-2012, 07:07 AM
A good story coupled with decent visuals are my minimum requirements for good games. I not that fond of multiplayer games to a good plot is important to me.

RobF
03-12-2012, 08:12 AM
You must have had a field day with Geometry Wars.

I near wet myself.

TheXand
03-12-2012, 08:19 AM
I near wet myself.

That's the second best response I could hope for. Epileptic fans of the game could tell you the first.

DWZippy
03-12-2012, 10:12 AM
Upgradable tattoo's.

sonson
03-12-2012, 12:27 PM
Also-butts, asses, bums

sabrage
03-12-2012, 12:41 PM
That's the second best response I could hope for. Epileptic fans of the game could tell you the first.
"No, I literally wet myself."

rasatouche
03-12-2012, 04:17 PM
I guess it depends what I feel like playing. If i'm on my phone, I want something simple, puzzler's are my go to, can keep my brain occupied, simple mechanics that aren't time sensitive, so if I'm distracted I don't die kind of thing, just plain, short, challenge.

When I get home though, If i'm playing online, I want solid mechanics & excellent controls before anything else. I dislike league of legends immensely because it's pathfinding is often nonsensical, especially compared to dota2. But Dota2, SC2, CS:GO, and even the cod's, all nail that good mechanical 'feel'.

Solo gaming on the other hand, it depends what i'm in the mood for really. If i'm in the mood for awesome mechanics and challenge, I play something like super meat boy, ninja gaiden, devil may cry, hotline miami even if you go for combo runs, the key is hyper difficulty, controls that work, the ability to dodge roll mid being attacked animation (if that's not there it can GTFO!), and a reasonable fail state. Meat boy has the right idea, 15second level, try many times. It's hard but never frustrating. I don't really care about story or characters, I mean if it has one and it's good, bonus, but no loss if it's not there. I'm playing the game for the games sake, not for 'the experience', but for the pure mechanical bliss of jumping around and smashing through hordes of people. Take away the challenge & the mechanics, like the latest ninja gaiden, and you ruin the whole thing.

If I just want to relax and explore, one game I always seem to come back to is prince of persia (the 2008 one), awesome art style, great sense of what the world 'is', the story is ok, it's not challenging if you just want to relax, but if you want challenge (ala the die less than 75 times in one playthrough achievement), you can make it challenging.

But if i'm just relaxing, on the couch, feet up, controller in hand, I want that immersion factor, something bethesda games deliver this in spades, I have many good memories of staying up late, way late, playing fallout 3 until the sun came up, thinking i'd been playing for an hour when I'd actually played for 6. Total immersion is something they know how to nail, and sure, on release they usually make a buggy mess, and mechanically their games are nothing special, but nothing else comes close to making you feel like you are in the game. But give me immersion, a good sense of style (visual & audio), and a story if it needs it, and i'm in heaven. Mechanics are nice here, but not important, the gameplay loop of challenge / reward isn't anywhere as important as I'm playing to adventure, to see new sights and sounds, to be dazzled while I lie on the couch covered in cheese dust. Journey is another game, well, experience is probably a better word, no real 'story' or characters, but it's such a joyous experience, not to mention excellent use of seamless co-op.

So really, I guess it depends. I don't think we'll ever really get games that are both perfect in the pure mechanical sense & also in the story and I suppose 'experience' sense. Portal came close, but it's a game of cerebral rather than mechanical challenge, I get the sense that I 'solved' it as opposed to I 'beat' it. They're both nice, but they're different. I think the problem is if the game is really going to push me mechanically, it has to have a fail state, otherwise I can never get that satisfaction from mopping the floor with it. Conversely, that fail state, no matter how minor, will always ruin immersion, and remind me that as much as the NPC's in fallout like to remind me that I'm just a humble vault dweller, I have access to a time machine & therefore am immortal. The bonus for bethesda games is they're usually so damn easy you don't see it very often. Games that nail the experience sense for me, don't really have a fail state, Prince of Persia you always get 'saved' (which comes full circle at the end really nicely I might add), same with journey, no fail state.

Tactful
03-12-2012, 04:28 PM
For me it's the ability to make an impact on the world, either through interaction with systems or otherwise. For me the point of videogames is that they're an interactive experience