Just a game

May 7, 2010
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“Games will never be mature as long as the designers create them with complete answers to their own puzzles in mind,” says Raph Koster, a speaker at the Austin Game Conference. I truly could care less about the maturity of games. In Left for Dead Two, I run around killing waves of infected people, there’s nothing mature about that. Yet, thousands of people love the game and will go out to spend fifty to sixty dollars to play it in their own homes. So, what makes this game, or any other game worth buying? “This question might be as hard to answer as “Define Fun.” states ‘ThatMacGuy’ a video game designer and critique. Game play, freedom, and graphics all add up to what is most important, replay value.


The first thing that I look for when a game advertisement interrupts my T.V. show, is what the game is going to be about. I want to know the story, or the game play. If I see that in the game I will have to race, fight, or strategize to get either a person, or special object, I want to know there is a specific reason for it. If the point of the game is to get a golden ring, I want to know why I need that particular ring, and why no other ring would suffice. “Sound can also be a very important part of game play and showing how well the game is put together,” says Cooper, a sixteen year old that has created games of his own and is an expert at playing others. Hearing a sword slash, car tires squeal, or villain scream,” ouch!” adds to the illusion that what is being played is real. Some games give a lot of freedom to help add to the story and let the player have more control.


In any game I want options. Options to pick out weapons before going into battle, choose a car before a race, and sometimes even pick out a character for different abilities they may have. Freedom to have different strategies and ways of going about getting objectives done is another. This allows the player to play through the same mission many ways and they themselves are playing the game, not just following a script. This could range anywhere from shortcuts to incredible sniping spots. Assassins Creed is one game that allows amazing freedom. The main story stays the same but the platform of the game allows the player to go about assassinating the target in many different ways. Computers go even further on giving people freedom. With computers, the graphics can even be changed to make a game run smoother or look cleaner, sometimes even both.


Graphics help create the illusion that the game is real. Games that are supposed to look real, like Call of Duty Modern Warfare Two, have high- end graphics and are necessary to make the game more realistic. Games such as Mario and Frogger don’t need great graphics because the games are based solely on game play. Graphics can make a game a portal to a new world, or leave me on earth behind a screen. Usually computers, if updated, will outperform consoles like the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. However, this will cost an upwards of three times as much and only provide graphics that aren’t much better. The ingredients of a game matters. Game play, freedom, and graphics all give a game replay value. This makes a player want to play the game then put it in the fridge, and come back to it later for leftovers.


Replay Value is crucial, this sells games after someone already rented it. Little unique tidbits in each game can also add a little bit of replay value. Most games have trophies that can be collected; this can add replay value because even after going through the career/story, challenges still exist. Alternate endings may also contribute to the replay value as Infamous does. This allows the player to play through a game being either a hero or villain. There could also be upgrades that I could go back to, or try and get all of the perks, some good and some bad. Spore Heroes is a perfect example of this. However, replay value is nothing if the game was not good in the first place. This is because no one wants to play a bad game twice. Another good way of deciding if I have a good game is if I go to school thinking about it all day. When this happens I will just have to remind myself, that a game, is just a game.





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