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Gabe Hawkins
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What aspects of a video game are the most important to you (i.e. difficulty, controls, graphical style, etc.)? Are those factors consistent across most games?
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Gabe Hawkins
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My apologies for the late post today.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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For me it is the difficulty settings. I like to start at low levels of difficulty then when I have enough practice I bump up the difficulty. Also I prefer games with superior graphics. I can't play poorly presented games.
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Evan Hill
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Graphical style and Difficulty are my two biggest I think. Setting is pretty important too... I can ignore bad controls, bad UI and bad story if the former three are something I dig.
Music and Sound are somewhere in the middle, when done right it feels extremely important to the game, yet when done wrong its not a deal breaker.
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Ryan S
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I think interesting characters is one of the top things that draws me into a game.

A game could have the best game play in the world, but if it's just a bunch of squares and triangles moving around, I'll have no interest in it.

I've even played games that had terrible storylines with no problems, so long as the characters themselves are interesting.

That said, I do have trouble with visual novels though (I just can't get into most of them). I do still want a decent amount of game mechanics along with my interesting characters.
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A lot of qualities are important to me in a game, but picking a few for extra emphasis:

1. Pacing. I want a game to move with purpose. I want a game to know when to get out of my way. I want a game to respect my intelligence, which means not dragging me into tedious self-indulgent cutscenes that accomplish very little, or burying me under lazy exposition.

2. Depth. Give me something to think about in terms of tactics, strategy, approach, method, etc. Are there fun decisions to make where I engineer my own success? Do not give me something where I'm just going through the motions.

3. UI (user interface). Give me a smooth and functional interface. Do not assume that my television is some 70 inch behemoth that allows you to use tiny font everywhere, or that I'm sitting at a computer with the screen two feet from my face. If there's a map, let me bring it up with a single button press. Make sure that there is not lag/loading as I am navigating menus.

4. Performance. Move heaven and earth so that your game loads as quickly and infrequently as possible. And for the love of god, find a way so that restarting after death takes a few seconds, rather than triggering a hard-reload of the entire god-damn gameworld. If other games can do it, so can yours!
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Jennifer Hanses
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1) Usually story. I play some games like Tetris and LYNE that are purely skill/puzzles, but most games I play have a story, even casual games like Doggie Dash or My Kingdom for Princess.

Basically, most of the time I play games, I want to go somewhere else and be someone else. That requires good world/character/plot elements.

2) Graphics. I'm a graphics snob. While my graphics card is far from up to date, I can remember playing Oregon Trail and King's Quest and being disappointed by the very basic graphics. Over time, I was excited by more detailed and more beautiful graphics. I'm happy with pixel graphics, but I want them to at least be of the same quality as Wadjet Eye's releases unless there's some artistic merit to an older style (Papers, Please is the best example of low quality graphics suiting the gameplay and time).

3) Gameplay. Maybe I should have made this number 2, but I like controls that work. I was recently playing Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward and was extremely frustrated by the difficulty of controlling the camera positioning (it's a visual novel with room escape puzzles, so being able to look around the room is kind of important). The problem wasn't so bad that I gave up, but I spent some time growling in frustration as I tried to get the camera to look into corners. For an alternate example, I play the Nancy Drew games, and there's a trick to how it does padlocks that isn't how any real life padlocks that I'm familiar with work. I don't find "figuring out how gameplay mechanics work" to be an enjoyable puzzle and had to comb through online pages first to verify that I had the right combination (I did) and then to figure out why it wasn't working. Again, I persevered, but I was very angry when I'd previously been having a good time.

4) Music/Sound. Oftentimes, a good score is what keeps quiet parts from being boring. The realistic wind and outdoor sounds of The Long Dark are peaceful and calming. As is the musical score for Glass Masquerade (a jigsaw puzzle game). Technobabylon has an excellent score and sound work that support the world building. As does Mass Effect (For whatever reason, it reminds me of the old Horizons ride in Epcot).

I think different games put an emphasis on these elements in different order based on what kinds of game they are. But these are the ones that I notice most.

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p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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According to some quiz I took and forgot the name of, the most important aspects of gaming to me are Mastery and Immersion. And that sounds about right, actually.

By Mastery, I mean the game has to afford a strategic challenge; it has to be like chess in that respect, where you play to improve and at least dream about mastering the game someday even if you'll never actually do it.

By Immersion, I mean I want the game to feel like more than just a game; I want it to take me someplace in my imagination--make me conqueror of the galaxy or a mythical hero or something cool.

Difficulty, of course, has to be adjustable; controls have to be functional; graphics and sounds have to be tolerable. But as long as the minimal standards are met in those areas, I'm good. As to narrative, it's optional; if there's a story, I'll pay vague attention to it, but it's just a backdrop to me. Puzzles, if there are any, had better be the kind I can solve in a minute or so; otherwise they'll be frustrating obstacles and drive me away (or at least drive me to go look up the solution).
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At first blush none are of overriding importance to me.

For example most video gamers like to look down their noses at games with high quality graphics and treat them with disdain. I'm not in that camp. I actually like games to look good. But even I can have a great time with games like Cave Story or VVVVVV and it wasn't the graphics that put me off Undertale.

Or consider controls. I can enjoy a game like Ico or Shadow of the Colossus despite their wonky control schemes.

Music? I can have a ton of fun with games like Tetris or Dr. Mario that have one or maybe two songs for the entire game.

I have a hard time following complex plot-lines in video games. If you were to ask me what took place in something like Final Fantasy 7 or Final Fantasy Tactics I would hardly be able to tell you. And I can fully enjoy games like Super Mario Bros where the story is move to the right.

I would guess that some aspects of video games are more or less important to me depending on the genre of the game. But even narrowing it down to that I would be shocked if there were not counter examples.
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Story is usually most important. I realize if I'm not playing an RPG it won't have as much storywise which is why I mostly stick to RPGs. Characters are also very important.

There needs to be some depth and tactics. If things start getting grindy/samey I will start to get bored with the gameplay.

UI & controls are important too. I've had experiences ruined by poor implementations.


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Simon Woodward
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Hmm interesting question. I can pick my top 3 but not sure what order they are in.

Visuals - I love the feeling of being in a beautiful world, also especially love weather effects - Horizon Zero Dawn, Borderlands 2, Breath of the Wild, Mirror's Edge, Muramasa The Demon Blade.

Music - emotional and atmospheric, I listen to and buy a lot of video game soundtracks - Horizon Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy X, Mirror's Edge.

Movement - the feeling of smooth motion through the environment - Metroid Prime, Tomb Raider, Mirror's Edge, Darksiders II.

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Simon Lundström
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Now who are these five?
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MOOD

I can't give a better description than what attracts me to a video game is the mood, the sense, the atmosphere.

Abstract video games very rarely do it for me – my sweet spot is games that have a really narrative-esque style, but that sort of lets me figure out the background by myself. I liked Brothers – a Tale of Two Sons in that way. You saw tons of weird stuff in the background, that you never ever encountered. I really liked that.

And yeah, music. Good music can make a bad game good.
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Evan Hill
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Zimeon wrote:
MOOD



I call it Tone, and file it under setting. It really helps define a setting for better or worse (often worse ).
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Robert
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Game-play and systems/mechanics are most important to me. Kind of the whole point of the thing, really.
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Quote:
For example most video gamers like to look down their noses at games with high quality graphics and treat them with disdain.



I haven't experienced the whole "most gamers look down their noses at good graphics" thing, myself.

Most gamers I know, which is a fairly broad and diverse group, incorporating people I personally know and large groups online, seem to enjoy higher-quality graphics. That being said, there are smaller groups of counter-culture gamers who think they're much more artsy and hardcore and elite because they pooh-pooh graphics. The usual trite response is "gameplay trumps graphics" which is, of course, a maxim that people agree with but the reality is that GASP! why not have both? Are these elitists claiming that they'd rather have crap graphics when they could have great graphics and great gameplay? It's laughably silly when you analyze it.

Myself, I'd say graphics are probably the most important because the immersion factor is high for me. I have to enjoy the art and color and style of what I'm seeing along with the good gameplay.

And of course this is all flavored and informed by our preferred platforms. If you were a console gamer from years past (BEFORe this generation's Xbox One/PS4 Pro), you'd probably claim graphics weren't a big deal because your chosen platform wasn't that pretty at times. While as a PC gamer, I'm used to high-end, gloriously beautiful visuals. So I expect and prefer them.

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Caroline Berg
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Narrative design, followed by game design (puzzles, gameplay), followed by level design.
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p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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adularia25 wrote:
Narrative design, followed by game design (puzzles, gameplay), followed by level design.

That makes me think I care less about design and more about the "something" that emerges during play and might come from the synergy of the design.
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wytefang wrote:
Quote:
For example most video gamers like to look down their noses at games with high quality graphics and treat them with disdain.


That being said, there are smaller groups of counter-culture gamers who think they're much more artsy and hardcore and elite because they pooh-pooh graphics.


I don't think either one of these things are true to be honest.

It seems clear enough that most of the money spent developing games is spent on graphics, and that a majority of advertising for games is also based on graphics (try finding a non-promo, actual gameplay screenshot for various AAA releases - sometimes a lot harder than you might guess). If sales are pursued so aggressively in this way, I think we have to assume that a lot of people who buy games want cutting edge visuals.

But it's also true that the pursuit of cutting edge visuals diverts resources from every other measure of quality. The longer you play games, the more evident this becomes. The pattern never goes away. New hardware never resolves the issue.

That means you get some percentage of people with a long-time investment in the hobby who see graphical advancement as a given. It's not what they care about - they know it will continue no matter what. They also know that it has the potential to compromise other features that they enjoy.

To say that this is "arty" or "elitist" seems like throwing the first punch, when no conflict yet exists.
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These are things I look for in any game, rather than things like genre that I love some and hate others.


Difficulty selection. I love video games. I suck at most of them. I tend to play games on the easiest setting. There a number of games aimed at hard mode only - and I get that - that's the publishers choice, but it means I won't even consider that kind of game.

Solid game play - I don't care if you game is photo-realistic, or looks 8 bit, as long as the gameplay is there, I don't care.

If the game has a solid narrative, that it is good, and the dialog is well written.
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JohnRayJr wrote:
But it's also true that the pursuit of cutting edge visuals diverts resources from every other measure of quality.


I have to use your own term here, not in a smart-alecky way though, because I don't think this is really true. It can be, certainly, but by no means are quality games and high-quality graphics mutually exclusive.

Not really trying to throw any punches, either way though.
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Evan Hill
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Graphics are important, I like them to various extents from all era's of gaming except the earliest.
Does a games graphics have an intrinsic value or is it all relative to the latest graphical improvements? To me they have an intrinsic value. I love going from the latest graphics to PS1 era or early 90's, then after those graphics have become commonplace moving to another ear of games. Either graphics are good or they are not, time should not play into it... if anything time lets us know what was a fad or hype, and what was truly well done because it has that timeless quality.
Thats probably my biggest disappointment with the increasingly high fidelity of modern 3d graphics, the focus on realism has diminished the visual artistry.
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Ryan S
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GibbRS wrote:
I think interesting characters is one of the top things that draws me into a game.


So this thing I said may cause me some issues in July, haha. I've already spent way more than I should on video games and other things lately, and I was thinking of skipping on Fire Emblem Switch just to save that $60. Then I read an article about how great the characters are, and it's back on my radar. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is coming out Tuesday, which I really want as well. These $60 games add up pretty quick.
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Yeah, it's why I've been fortunate over the past few years to be a PC gamer (the sales and Fanatical/Humble sites) really ease that burden. It's nice. Not that I can afford anything right now with no job.
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Lauren Allbritain
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For me, an easy difficulty and good controls go hand-in-hand in the number one spot. Games with tricky motion controls like Rec Room Games and ARMS I find annoying.

Graphics quality are a close second. I like 8-bit, 16-bit, and cute 3D graphics like the Kirby games.
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