What makes a great game!

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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Doddsy
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What makes a great game!

Post by Doddsy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:51 am

I was reading the thread; worst games you've played and it got me thinking What Makes A Great Game! If you think you know what contributes to a great game post your ideas but you must have an example whether its retro or current to back it up. To get the ball rolling here are 2 i've come up with;

A great game has a random element(s) thrown in. Chaos for example, is playable because you never know what spells you are going to get so like life you have to succeed with what you have.

An easy learning Curve; The Arcade Shinobi has one of the best examples of this. As you play you memorise what enemies are coming next and through sometimes trial & error (a guaranteed coinop money eater) find a way in which to deal with them so you alway defeat them next time around.

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gmintyfresh
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Post by gmintyfresh » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:56 am

Treasure or Cave on the box obviously....... :lol:

psj3809
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Post by psj3809 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:59 am

To me its all about playability.

Dont care so much for amazing graphics, sound or video. The games i play the most are early arcade games or 80's home computer ones, most dont have great sound/visuals but the gameplay is just superb.

I do love non-linear games though such as Baldurs Gate, early Ultima ones etc.

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Coopdevil
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Post by Coopdevil » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:16 am

If I had to sum up one thing it would be polish. Not graphical or audio polish but just that a game shows signs of having been tweaked excessively until just right.

For example Pacman. The control system allowing you to press up on the stick before Pacman reaches an junction so that you can corner with no lag is genius and clearly comes from a lot of little changes being tried out during development to see what improves the game. Being quicker than the ghosts improves it as well. Try an early Spectrum clone that does neither of these and the playability gulf is starkly obvious.

Games don't need to be random. Rick Dangerous works because it isn't random and you keep saying "next time, that won't catch me out" and dive back in. Curiously though I lost interest in Crazy Taxi when I started to twig that gameplay revolves around finding one perfect route. My baby sister ruined Bombjack for me on the ST by showing that a perfect route allowed you to keep clocking it ad infinitum.

Something I will chuck into the pot is difficulty curve. For me Lemmings got this spot on and nothing has come close since. They way it introduced the gameplay then starting subtley teaching you lessons about playing well and rewarded you for cracking the hard levels by giving easy levels for a while afterwards rather than rewarding you for beating a challenge by smacking you with a harder one still (which is a trap a lot of games fall into).

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AlleyKat
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Post by AlleyKat » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:35 am

Fruit.
speed/missile/double/laser/option/?

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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:41 pm

Graphics

Many an average game has been made great thanks mainly to graphics
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BennyTheGreek
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Post by BennyTheGreek » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:07 pm

Hidden things.....

Secret levels...

Bonuses hidden in a tree

Secret passages.

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StickHead
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Post by StickHead » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:16 pm

Freedom

Always like some degree of choice in a game. Doesn't have to be open world/sandbox style, but a choice of strategies, forking story lines, play modes... whatever, I just like to be in control.
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C=Style
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Post by C=Style » Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:53 am

I don't understand people who say gfx don't matter, because they do put simply. We derive pleasure from great looking games just as we do looking at a piece of art. Which brings me to the point that artistic gfx are more desirable than dull power driven gfx with little character about them. I can still even enjoy looking at certain C64 games for instance, they still have their own charm and artistic merit in their lo-res blocky style.

Overall, I think that if you strike a fine balance of great gfx and fun gameplay then it's the winning combination for a great game.
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psj3809
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Post by psj3809 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:48 am

Of course great graphics are brilliant but i've played many games which looked great but there wasnt much to it and i would move onto the next one.

Some games i have played for yearsss (eg Elite, 1942, Pac Man) had basic graphics but just sooo playable.

Ideally i would love great graphics/sound and gameplay but that doesnt always happen. Practically every X-Box 360 game has great graphics but people are still getting bored of them soon after as its much of the same or theres not much depth to it.

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Matt_B
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Post by Matt_B » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:52 am

Originality

The first good game you play in a given genre is generally going to be the best one you ever see. You might find others that have a few small incremental improvements, but nothing is ever going to wow you as much unless it similarly defines its own genre. By way of example there are seemingly several billion first person shooters around these days, but I'll still go back and play the likes of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake over just about any of them.

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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:01 pm

psj3809 wrote:Of course great graphics are brilliant but i've played many games which looked great but there wasnt much to it and i would move onto the next one.

Some games i have played for yearsss (eg Elite, 1942, Pac Man) had basic graphics but just sooo playable.

Ideally i would love great graphics/sound and gameplay but that doesnt always happen. Practically every X-Box 360 game has great graphics but people are still getting bored of them soon after as its much of the same or theres not much depth to it.
but the games you mentioned had great graphics , certainly better than what was required of them , Elite in particular had astounding visuals for the time
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Chinnico
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Post by Chinnico » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:28 pm

Atmoshpere.
If the game manages to get me involved, I easily pass over rough graphics, gamplay glitches and other more or less serious issues.
This is especially true for early graphic or cinematic adventure games.
Titles that come to my mind are for example Future Wars, Deja Vu, Of Light and Darkness, A Fork in the Tale, Manhunter...
Or less known RTS like 7th Legion or Gender Wars, Shadow of the Horned Rat.
On the action side, Weird Dreams, Mind Walker, Barbarian (the Psygnosis one), Nocturne.
The list could go on and on...

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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:51 am

Chinnico wrote:Atmoshpere.
If the game manages to get me involved, I easily pass over rough graphics, gamplay glitches and other more or less serious issues.
This is especially true for early graphic or cinematic adventure games.
Titles that come to my mind are for example Future Wars, Deja Vu, Of Light and Darkness, A Fork in the Tale, Manhunter...
Or less known RTS like 7th Legion or Gender Wars, Shadow of the Horned Rat.
On the action side, Weird Dreams, Mind Walker, Barbarian (the Psygnosis one), Nocturne.
The list could go on and on...
although of course Atmosphere does not make a good song..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFPLk5mJ1D4
Mr Flibble says...
"Game over , boys!"

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