What makes a good game in my opinion, is an engaging story accompanied with refreshing gameplay. Of course there can be great games that have a simple story or none at all, but to me there needs to be a resolution in the game. The story grabs the player’s attention and they can become attached to the characters. Caring for the characters gives them the drive to continue and see what the ultimate outcome of their story is. A well balanced story can leave them wanting more, but don’t write a story specifically with sequels in mind. Doing so would dilute what could have been a really interesting game because you left details out to save for a sequel.
When it comes down to it, a game is mostly gameplay. That seems obvious, but lot of people don’t seem to understand that gameplay is what’s carrying you through the game. Gameplay is what everyone will be doing the most throughout the entire game, the only exception would be visual novels which can be considered games. Since it’s what you will be doing most often, you must develop it so that it doesn’t become tedious or extremely simple. Bad gameplay can make the player lose interest even if you have the world’s greatest story. Adding more things that the player can do in between plot points can add a good kind of filler if done correctly. There could an arcade that has mini games you could play and win tickets that could be used to buy special items at that shop. However, this filler content shouldn’t be forced to do unless pointed out to the player. You shouldn’t put a key item in the arcade shop and not tell them about it. Gameplay comes in many different varieties, so find a good balance that you could see being fun throughout the whole game.
Taking a lower priority is audio and visuals. A good game doesn’t require the best graphics that can be done. In fact most good looking games can have horrible gameplay, or a story that’s lacking. Don’t waste your time try to make perfect looking graphics, just go with what you see in you head and stick to a nice style. As long as everything works well with each other, it’s easier to overlook any flaws there might be.
A game just isn’t a game unless it has sounds and music. Unless of course it’s a board game (but even then there should be sounds for moving the pieces), or maybe a text adventure or something. Sounds break up the silence and give the player a feeling that they are physically doing something. Sounds bring objects and sprites to life, enhancing the overall game experience. Music can set the mood for plot points in the game, giving them a more profound effect. They can also give an area a specific feeling that can subtly affect the player. For example… there’s a dark tunnel, so you would play some quiet, slow music mixed in with some ambient sounds to give off a creepy feeling.
I hope my opinion helps your prioritize your efforts while trying to build the best game possible!
About the author:
James Davis, aka Dunce the 001 Beta Tester, helps improve the already awesome engine and look for errors and bugs when he isn’t working on his games. http://www.twitter.com/tokenmachine
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