What Makes A Good Game? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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What Makes A Good Game?

 Everyone has a different favourite game. If you ask 100 people, many are going to love a modern FPS, some are going to love cult classic RPGs, a handful might mention FMV, and a couple are going to love simple puzzle games from the 90s. All very different genres, made by separate companies, all with their own unique ideas for gameplay. 

Considering all of those factors, how do you determine what makes a good game? What goes into game development that ensures a polished package comes out the other side? It's a very hard question to answer, and an even harder formula to follow. As such, let’s go through a few of the big reasons down below. 

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Is it the Story?

A game’s story elevates it to the next level. When there’s a good central premise, and you can follow a narrative from putting together background clues and character dialogue, you’re going to feel a lot more involved in a game. Plus, a good story has always spoken to humankind! 

However, not every game needs to have a story. You might think that’s insane to say, but games like sudoku are thousands of years old and are still being played in the masses to this day. 

And games like these are all over the world, albeit in modern forms that come with their own unique rules and tweaks to the main playstyle. So it’s clear a story can take a back seat from time to time. 

Is it the Amount of Hours You Can Sink in?

If you can play a game for a long time without getting bored, or occasionally getting bored and then coming back to it later, that’s a very good thing. Games are going to go through life cycles: the hype stage, the honeymoon stage, the critiquing stage, and then the casual fun stage. If a game can pass through all of these, it’s a great sign. 

Plus, the more hours a game can give you, the more it’s going to feel like the price you paid for it. It’s also part of becoming a pro-gamer; the more hours you sink in, the better you get at the game, meaning you rank on a higher tier, especially if you’re playing a game featuring ‘skill-based matchmaking’.  

Do Games Even Need to Look Good?

In truth? No. 2D games and pixel games prove that point. You can have the most basic of sprites to your game’s name and people are still going to laud it with praise if the gameplay deserves it! The need for ultra realism shouldn’t ever hold a developer back. 

Because above all, a game needs to have some kind of character. If something feels special about it, and it’s fun to try out, there’s no need for amazing graphics. You can waste all the time in the world trying to make a game ‘look good’, but it really isn’t a promise of quality. 

Accessibility Matters

A strong sense of accessibility doesn’t have to mean a lack of challenge. If there are no stakes, it’s going to be boring! But if someone can tweak the gameplay ever so slightly to suit them better, whether that means changing the colours on screen to make things easier to see or inverting the movement because it’s easier to use the buttons, that’s what really works. 

But the Number One Rule? Games Have to Be Fun to Play

That’s the crux of it. If something is fun when you play it, you’re going to keep playing it, and you’re going to feel positively about it. You can acknowledge that the story is a bit thin on the ground, and that the graphics feel a little outdated, but you’re still having fun! 

And that’s often the one thing a gamer wants from a new gaming experience. You need to have fun to make it a hobby worth having. Things can get frustrating, but the fun should always return. 

So there - a good game is a hard thing to make. But a fun game? That’s a lot easier! No game is going to be perfect, but it is going to be enjoyed by those who buy it. And as a gamer yourself, you’ve probably invested in hundreds of games that are ‘bad’ but you still had a good time with! Keep this in mind as new games come out; if you can have fun, and the game is accessible, it’s good enough to be in your library. 

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