Think about how many times we have to explain our favourite pastime to non-gamers… we stumble over words while they look at us with blank expressions on their face or sometimes they look at us like we are overgrown children. When explaining a game to newcomers it is difficult because there is just so many aspects and qualities to cover that a 5 minute conversation ( if we are lucky that they hold on that long) just doesn’t cut the mustard.
So what makes a game a game?
To me the biggest thing that makes a game is escapism and immersion. When playing games I want to escape away from my everyday life to a new place. It is an hour or two to get away from your daily tasks into a new realm where you can do things that would never be possible in the real world. We have rules and restrictions everywhere we go in real life in a game we can break the rules we can transport ourselves into a body that is just not accessible. This links in nicely with story, you want to play a game that you are compelled to learn more about the world you now occupy. This is the place where you will spend countless hours running around you don’t want to be stranger to it forever, you want to feel the emotions that you character goes through. You want to feel the hate that the good guys feel toward the villains. Like in my previous post I stated that sound and atmosphere goes hand in hand its what keeps you wanting to reside in your new virtual home.
Gameplay and mechanics is so vital that it’s the way your game is played, in order to keep your attention the game must flow flawlessly. Countless times I found myself fiddling through clunky combat instantly making me frustrated and pulling me out of the game entirely. We want to play something that is smooth and works without a second glance at the controller or keyboard.
The learning curve and motivation, there is no better feeling than reward. Games that do this well is ones with plenty of looting, blasting your way through borderlands various head scratching enemies is thrilling but when you defeat the big guys and pick up some epic loot that sense of achievement feel great, it keeps you wanting more. Games like Dota, hearthstone and League of Legends has a steep learning curve but when you finally master it you feel like a pro.
The community, may it be an Esport attracting millions of viewers, selling out stadiums or a game that just has a small forum with dedicated and loving fans, these are the people who can help you out when you are stuck on that god-damn boss that just wont bite the dust. These guys can be your in game or outside game friends. It’s great to find that thing you love but it better to have friends to share that with. I personally have spent countless hours reading through forums and tweets about Dragon age it’s been a massive help and it nice to spend the wee hours of the morning discussing your favourite game and franchise.
When we meld all these elements together we should get the game that hooks us in from start to finish. A world that we wish was real,a system that we are a master of and a virtual reality that we are in complete control of.
So tell me what makes a game for you?
(Images: dreamstime.com, skyrim official, .twinfinite.net)