10 Things That Make A Video Game Awesome

Sheer Awesomeness...

What really makes a game awesome? One of the biggest debates in Dev Studios.

In any game, there are several factors that determine how good a game can be. Most Game Development Studios strive for a perfect balance between all these elements, other teams try to find the top criteria that decide the game’s outcome and set their preferences in order from the most important factor to the least important one. Some decide to brave the risks and gamble on choosing one single factor that might help their game to truly stand out and pay little attention to the other things.

This article will explore which factors when given the right amount of attention can deliver a truly engrossing game that will remain etched in the trigger fingers of gamers for a long time to come.

1.Story Narration

Possibly the single most important factor any video game can have. Throw a believable and interesting story at even the most meager of games that feature the most primitive graphics and the worst gameplay features, and you can just watch that story work wonders for the game.

A deeply suspenseful story with all the right elements will hook the player in and give them a purpose and a vendetta to destroy that enemy vessel which was the reason he had lost his most beloved friend in-game. Some players may not be lucky enough to immerse themselves this deeply into the game, but will still hack and slash through the game just to find where the story leads to or whether the protagonist is reunited with his long lost love, sounds too cliché? Yeah I know, but it’ll work, as long as it’s suspenseful enough.

If a game development team decides to put all its resources and effort into one basket, then this might be the best basket there is.

2.Gameplay

The next most important thing that every game should concentrate on is the gameplay. The style of gameplay when done in the right way might even outplay boring storylines. But if this goes wrong, gamers will simply become sick of it and leave the game halfway through and nothing but the best of storylines will be able to rescue the game. So, every game studio has to pay some, if not lots of attention to this criterion, as it plays a major role in the success of the game.

There is one game that can be called as the undisputed king of gameplay, and that is… *suspense drum roll* …GTA. For its time, every single GTA game rocked the very limits of gameplay. You can virtually do anything you ever wanted. Everyone wants to shed the chains that kept them tied down and run around town not giving a damn about anything. Go on a killing spree, hijack any vehicle and drive around town, you name it and you’ll be able to do it in this game. Maybe this is what made the game one of the biggest hits of all time, shedding all your inhibitions, setting yourself free.

3.Graphics

Top notch graphics does make a game look good, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the single most important factor in the game. Most first-time inexperienced game studios make this mistake of channeling all their resources into making the game look good.

But there are some games that have made their name solely on the graphics itself. Yeah, I’m talking about Crysis, notoriously known for running only on high end machines of its time, stretching its processing capabilities to its limits. Yet, it’s only famous for its graphics and not for its gameplay or any other factor, a game that has made its name by simply looking realistically awesome.

So, in a nutshell, eye candy graphics is a huge plus to a lot of games but it’s not everything a game can be.

4.Immersion

Games that provide the true feeling of immersion are not commonplace. Over the years, the actual meaning of immersion has blurred somewhat as this word has been casually thrown around by both pro gamers and wanna be noobs. Immersion is the sole point of playing a game; it must be given the due respect it deserves. Losing yourself within the virtual realm, losing track of all things earthly from the passage of time to rumbling stomachs is the mark of true immersive gaming.

And there is no game in history that can provide the true feeling of immersion on multiple replays. One great example of a false positive kind of an immersive experience would be Call of Duty. The first play through will hook the player in, anticipating what the hell will happen next. But once you are done with the game and fire it up for a second play through, it immediately becomes a drag and almost becomes a chore, because you simply know what’s gonna happen next.

The whole point of immersion is lost, very few games are capable of providing an immersive experience on the third play through and beyond that the record is yet to be broken.

5.Voice Acting

The most underrated and unnoticed aspect of a game by the majority of gamers, but this is what truly breathes life into the story, especially in games which use cutscenes to move the story forward. The tone of the voice and the manner in which the lines are spoken play a huge role in expressing what the character is actually feeling in correlation with how the story is playing out. It’s also a major deciding factor on whether a character in the game strikes a chord within the gaming community and becomes a hit.

If the dev team is going to concentrate on the story, this is one of the factors it has to pay more attention to as this is directly related to the impact and emphasis the story can create.

6.The Protagonist

The lead guy, after all has a lot to do with how the game works out, because he should be the one the player must be able to relate with. Basically, the player should easily fit into the shoes of the protagonist in the game. But the way in which his character plays out is also equally important, most games would prefer not to concentrate on keeping the guy easily relatable but decide to go for a cinematic experience where the player gets to take part and play out the action sequences in the movie.

One good example of this kind of a game would be the Uncharted series, and the Resident Evil series is not as cinematic as Uncharted but still plays along the same lines. But the lead characters nevertheless played an important role on how these games shaped out.

7.Level Design

This is another majorly crucial factor in a game. The environment in which the game takes place, the type of terrain to be used and what kind of objects are included in the game and where they’re supposed to be placed and in what manner is very important in how the game looks and feels to the player. It cannot be said that the player is consciously aware of all the surroundings in the immediate environment of the game, but it plays a major role in constructing the overall ambience of the game.

Level designs are more important where the gameplay in some sections are fast paced and the player has to find his way through as quickly as possible, then the play through needs to be completely fluid for a good experience.

But it’s even more important when the player has to spend a lot of time in a particular room analyzing it for clues in order to progress further, as he will take notice of a lot of minute details within the level. And if it is done right, the player will remember the experience he had gone through in that particular room and it will add to the overall positive appeal of the game.

8.Ambience

The ambience a game can instill in its players is priceless, and it’s not determined by the level design alone. There are plenty of factors that combine together to create the ambience in-game. Whether it’s the eerie chillness you feel before you open the door on which your flashlight’s circle of light is trained on or the sense of freedom you feel after traversing through underground tunnels and finally toppling out into the sunshine with a huge city sprawling out before you, the ambience can make you feel more involved within the game.

Just like the undisputed king of gameplay would be the GTA series, the undisputable ambience award should rightfully go to Half Life 2. There are simply no words to describe how the ambience in that game makes you feel, combined with the background score, you feel as though you are stuck within the dystopian world of Half Life, as you scratch and claw towards your next destination.

9.Easter Eggs

Who says no to Easter Eggs, the thrill of discovery you feel when you find out something not everyone was supposed to find is unparalleled. Most Easter Eggs are placed in such a way that they are meant to be found by players but some Easter Eggs are inside jokes within the dev team and will make sense only to them, leaving players scratching their heads at some strange object stashed out of sight, wondering whether it has any relation to the game and do they have to investigate it further and see if you can interact with it.

Nevertheless Easter Eggs sure are a great add on to an otherwise passable game and make it more interesting egging the player on a wild hunt for more of it, whether there are more or not.

10.Character Progression

The way in which the lead characters in a game’s story develop and shape up is pretty important in adding that tangible factor to make the story feel more realistic and believable. Some games prefer to reveal the shady traits of characters one by one slowly, composing up the final picture of the character gradually. While others prefer to withhold behaviors and expose them in bursts of sudden torrents causing the player to be violently surprised by how the character turns out to be.

However, the way in which the story revolves around its characters and building those up is another critical element to consider when the team decides on prioritizing the story and making it engaging.

 

An Article More Relevant to Game Devs

This article could as well as do the job of being a guide to aspiring game developers on what elements they should concentrate on in order to deliver a hit. Whether they would like to give equal preferences to all the deciding factors or prioritize based on their beliefs on what can truly make their game tick, this article should help them out. These factors are one in many that make a game truly awesome.

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