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What makes a game good?


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#1 Davidobot

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 01:52 PM

Tell what makes a game good?
The graphics?
The story?
How do you make it clean?
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#2 Yal

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:21 PM

A good game has two things:

- Entertaining and addicting gameplay
- Loads of levels, especially sidequest/optional/randomized levels, that you can enjoy the gameplay in
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#3 Debels

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:25 PM

If you want to make a Epic Game This is what i do:

Example: I want to do an MMORPG

I Download an MMORPG game and each time your playing your going to see players asking for stuff and your self wanting more features those are the things you could add into your game (it's a great way to think on how to make a game
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#4 Artaex Media

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:55 PM

Tell what makes a game good?
The graphics?
The story?
How do you make it clean?

It's like asking which car you should buy without showing any pictures.

Go google all those questions, and you'll find different outcomes.

-Artaex ;)
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#5 Davve

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:59 PM

  • Gameplay (Whether the game is fun to play)
  • Replayability (Length)
  • Atmosphere (Through graphics and sound)

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#6 Lightang3l

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:06 PM

Ahhh the age old question... what makes a good game good.

Here is the ultimate truth, are you ready? This is gonna blow your mind..... EVERYTHING!

Gameplay+graphics+story = a good game... if one of them is missing.... it's not that good now is it? :rolleyes:
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#7 masterofhisowndomain

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:56 PM

I would disagree with almost everyone who has posted so far, and here's why.

@Yal - "Good" is obviously subjective, but a game doesn't have to be fun or entertaining to considered good; take many artistic games whose intentions are not to entertain but to provoke an emotional response. No-one could say that these games are not "good" because they elicit, for example, sadness instead of joy.

@Davve - Much the same as the previous reply. However, replayability as a criterion for quality is even more contentious (and are you suggesting replayability and length are the same?). Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it best with: "The designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing to take away". Any game which delivers a powerful impact in a short amount of time can never be considered inferior to that which delivers the same over a longer period.

@Lightang3l - But some games choose purposefully to neglect or foreground certain elements. I mean, many games do not even have a story, yet they can be considered classic examples of game design...

I'm not trying to be diminish anyone's opinion, but merely trying to create a more interesting debate than "Well it's just when you have...". And it's a question worth thinking about.
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#8 Saijee

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:51 PM

I second disagree with everyone.

But here is my take this. A good game is a game that successfully pleases it's target audience. If you make an arcade shooter, and RPG fans complain that their is no present story, their complaints are invalid as long as arcade shooter gamers think that you successfully made a nice arcade style game.

But my personal priority list is this:

Music: Music must be fun to listen, even on it's own when your not playing the game, and preferably should not be midi quality.

Graphics: In terms of graphics I'm in between the two extreams. I'm no graphicstard who will only play games with billions of polygons. But in most cases, I don't appreciate the graphics that today are considered "Retro Style", it can be done right, like in Cave Story, but that was because of a number of reasons. Primarily, the way he drew things, their shape, that was charming, and the animations were consistent. Now-a-days people will just slap on "retro graphics" as a tag more or less just because they are too lazy to create real graphics. But in terms of actually graphics, I will say the most important part, is that the animations must look good/fitting. And second most important is that the art style must be charming at the very least.

And lastly, gameplay/story: I put these two together because some games are story based, and others don't need a story at all. I put these last, because I'm the type of gamer that will play a game only after deciding it looks fun to play. And I base these usually off of screen shots or videos. If they present catchy music in the trailer, and the animations look great. That means that they took the effort to make sure that those things turned out great. And if they took the effort to do that, the chances are that the gameplay has just as much effort put into it.
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#9 epicpiedude

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:17 PM

Exactly. It all depends on what exactly you're aiming for.
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#10 Guest_RockmanXD_*

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:11 AM

Depending, on what you're aiming within creating a game. If you build a goal and hesitate to reach it. You would waste time and might not be able to get the chance to do it and continually saying you want to do the same thing but never did. For example, let's say Ash from Pokemon want to be a Pokemon master but never get the chance to become one. He encounter a trainer's party of strong pokemon and he say from there that I quit and don't want to be a Pokemon Master. Because, the challenge is hard for Ash to accomplish to beat.

#11 chance

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:13 PM

I love all these so-called answers: "fun to play", or "entertaining and addicting", or "please its audience". These aren't answers. They are just re-statements of the question with different words. :tongue:

So... exactly what design elements make it fun? Or entertaining? Or pleasing?

For me, there are several things I personal enjoy:

1. element of surprise
Something happens I didn't expect. A familiar aspect suddenly become very unfamiliar. Maybe an unexpected turn of events...

2. balance between challenge and reward
Players want challenge...and reward for their effort. But most of them don't enjoy endless frustration. Striking a balance is important.

3. an original twist
Totally original games are hard to design. But often, just an original twist on an old idea is just as good.

4. the basics (this part goes without saying)
Just the usual here: visual appeal, intuitive controls, clean player interface, variety of levels, etc.

Of course, you can have all these things and still make a bad game. There's no formula for success. No recipe for innovation. But these are good stating points.
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#12 masterofhisowndomain

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:57 PM

My second reply (retort):

@ Saijee (and @epicpiedude) - But if a game fails to please its target audience, but pleases another group entirely, surely it should still be considered 'good'? I mean, I use as an example My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; it is admittedly liked by its target audience of young girls, but it is also adored by an entirely different demographic of older males. If suddenly it failed to strike a chord with young girls, would its quality be any less?

@ chance - This is more of a constructive approach, definitely. Defining exactly what can produce entertainment and the qualities that everyone says are essential for a 'good game' is the way this topic should head.

In order to actually contribute something myself, rather than just tear into other people: A 'good' game is one which deploys or rejects certain qualities / aspects of its genre in order to elicit a strong emotional reaction of some kind, whether that be excitement, sadness or perplexity, in the player.
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#13 Saijee

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 06:25 PM

@ Saijee (and @epicpiedude) - But if a game fails to please its target audience, but pleases another group entirely, surely it should still be considered 'good'? I mean, I use as an example My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; it is admittedly liked by its target audience of young girls, but it is also adored by an entirely different demographic of older males. If suddenly it failed to strike a chord with young girls, would its quality be any less?

I'm going to have to say that's an invalid example. Because the older males is actually part of the target audience. Lauren Faust said she wanted to create a show that would be appropriate enough for children to watch but simultaneously, enjoyable enough for their parents to appreciate. As a result young children, as well as adults can find the show entertaining. A lot of the people who don't like the show happen to be part of the demographic that weren't part of the target audience. Boys between the age of 8 to 12.
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#14 masterofhisowndomain

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:08 PM

I'm going to have to say that's an invalid example. Because the older males is actually part of the target audience. Lauren Faust said she wanted to create a show that would be appropriate enough for children to watch but simultaneously, enjoyable enough for their parents to appreciate.

You're confusing a wide appeal with target audience. Lauren Faust made a show that could appeal to many people, but her target audience was never older males. As she says:

“This might be a little short-sighted on my part, but I just assumed that any adult man who didn’t have a little girl wouldn’t even give it a try,” Faust said in a phone interview. “The fact that they did and that they were open-minded and cool enough and secure in their masculinity enough to embrace it and love it and go online and talk about how much they love it — I’m kind of proud.”

Source: http://www.wired.com...y-little-ponys/

Edited by masterofhisowndomain, 09 December 2011 - 10:09 PM.

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#15 Saijee

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 02:14 AM


I'm going to have to say that's an invalid example. Because the older males is actually part of the target audience. Lauren Faust said she wanted to create a show that would be appropriate enough for children to watch but simultaneously, enjoyable enough for their parents to appreciate.

You're confusing a wide appeal with target audience. Lauren Faust made a show that could appeal to many people, but her target audience was never older males. As she says:

“This might be a little short-sighted on my part, but I just assumed that any adult man who didn’t have a little girl wouldn’t even give it a try,” Faust said in a phone interview. “The fact that they did and that they were open-minded and cool enough and secure in their masculinity enough to embrace it and love it and go online and talk about how much they love it — I’m kind of proud.”

Source: http://www.wired.com...y-little-ponys/

Touche. Although I don't really know if "age" is a legitimate way to segregate gamers.
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#16 yourtexthere

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 02:52 AM

I would say what makes a game great is, honestly, the amount of care and love you put into it. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but think of Cave Story, for instance. That game took YEARS to design, and I bet Daisuke Amaya was pouring his heart into every block in every cave, every character of code, every note of the music, and every pixel, no pun intended, of the sprites. If you look at truly great games, it seems as if the designers, the programmers, the artists and the sound guys all put the most effort they could into making it great. So, essentially, if you want your game to be great, you have to work at it, not just think of a good idea, some OK levels and just stop.

If you want to continue reading my almost-essay on game design, continue.
One integral part of game design is the idea behind it. Let's take, for example, Super Mario 64. What was the "hook"? Well, obviously, it was the prospect of platforming in not two but three glorious dimensions. If you have a good idea, you can still screw up but at least you will have a passable game, perhaps.
The next part of game design is, obviously, the actual code. If your code is slapped together, and has a bunch of bugs all over, hasn't been properly tested and stuff, NO ONE will play your game. If you've ever played a really glitchy game, you know what I'm saying.
Once you have a great idea and well-written code, you need some artwork. If your game looks like it was drawn by a five year old who's just discovered that his mommy's computer has MSPaint, your game will fail. If the animations are terrible and can be outdone using Pivot, your game will fail. Artwork is important. Not super duper important, but it is important.
Music is the next phase, possibly. Music is definitely not make-or-break for a game. Sure, it HELPS to have awesome music, but lots of people probably won't even listen to the music. Sound effects are as important as music. If your jump sound is irritating the first time, then the thousandth time it will be tenfold as irritating.
Next is the part where you revise your game, pour your heart into it. It's where you make a good game great.
Then, finally, comes level design. This is VERY VERY VERY VERY important. If you have a superb concept, flawless programming, beautiful artwork, orchestrated music and you've put all the love and care a game designer can muster, then you probably do have a very good game. Unless, of course, your levels stink. I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but there are probably many games where the concept is stellar but the levels are horrible.
There are a few other things you need to have for a good game, such as appeal. You need to decide beforehand your target audience. Is it RPG grinders? Is it Mario veterans? CoD teens? Hardcore gamers who have been playing games since Adventure on the 2600? Shmup fans? You get to choose.

Well, there's my essay. :P
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#17 ND4SPD

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:14 PM

Sigh. There are too many topics like this.

There is no single answer. There is no single formula. Everyone knows that you will need appealling gameplay and aesthetics. These are the only constants. You know this. So stop asking!
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#18 xhawkeyex

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:00 AM

There are many ways of making a good game, but the most important aspect of a game is its gameplay. When people make a game, they are usually thinking "Oh, I want to make this thing and that, and have all this cool stuff and have my player do this" but that is thinking of a theme. The core gameplay could be extremely simple. when you're done with the gameplay then you can add a theme and try to make sure it doesn't ruin the experience. That is how a good game is started...
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#19 Funk E. Gamez

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:12 PM

The question shouldn't be "what makes a game good", but rather how can you make a game as good as possible? Well, really, by making it exactly what you want. Because there are so many different directions you can take a game, as others have pointed out. Here are some tips about how various aspects affect the quality of the game:

- Physics/game engine: This limits the potential "fun factor" of a game. I recently played Sonic '06 (360) and I thought to myself... These graphics are good, and the level design isn't half bad. But the core engine SUCKS so bad it's the worst game I've played on the 360. It's so glitchy and the character doesn't move like you expect them to. Go with your intuation. If a game feels too fast/too slow, fix it. An experienced gamer can spot this issue as soon as they pick up a game.

- Uniqueness: Something different. Anything that the player hasn't tried/seen before. If it's completely new, that means the player is more excited and open to the game because they don't know what to expect just yet. Unlike sequels that feel like "more of the same", where the player gets bored because you're not discovering anything.

- Design/layout: This creative aspect will keep the player interested for a longer period of time, as well as increase the enjoyment because the player enjoys finding secrets or something they didn't expect. It also helps the game stand out from all the other games in its genre.

- Graphics: Graphics are primarily to draw people in. Yes, sometimes while playing a game you might say, "Wow! That explosion was really good!" But honestly, gameplay is gameplay regardless of what it looks like. As long as the player knows what they're looking at and can figure out necessary details to play, you're ok. (I.E. Drawing a square and telling the player it's a ball goes against intuition. Don't do that.)

- Storyline: Much like graphics, this is initially just to draw the player in. Once they get going and get into the story, it keeps them interested in playing more just because they want to know what happens next. Like reading books, however, some people don't care about this in a game. They want to do everything rather than be told what happens. Therefore, it's purely optional as player opinions vary greatly.

- Music/Sound: Merely emphasizes the game. It makes it feel like a game and increases (or decreases, depending on the goal) the feeling of reality. It also keeps the player's attention. (Imagine a modern-day game with no music or sound effects at all... Pretty dull.)

- Guiding: Whether this is through a tutorial, little tips on loading screens, etc. Any method that helps guide the player through the game can be seen in two ways. It either helps the player figure out what to do so they don't get frustrated, or it makes it too easy and unchallenging. Different people like different levels of challenge in a game, so you're probably best going with your own preference, or better yet, giving the player an option to turn it on or off.

- Length: This is only ONLY if quality is not sacrificed as length increases. All other aspects of the game have to be kept at consistently high standards from start to finish. This includes creativity throughout the game, meaning that the final level is more complex and has more features/items/switches/whatever than the early levels. Don't introduce all your ideas at the very beginning and then have a really long game of doing the same thing.

- Replayability: What motivates the player to play again? Is it possible to get a higher score, and if so what do they get from doing so? Can you choose multiple paths, with different outcomes? Are there optional levels, collectibles, or some other feature they may have missed the first time through? Regardless of what it is, if the player is offered a different experience when they play the game again, this drastical helps replayability and overall satisfaction with the game. (appreciation for attention to details)




Hopefully that helps you in same way. A lot of it is pretty much common sense, but you do have to think about it before you put something together or you'll come short somewhere. Consider before you start what direction you want to take it. Brainstorm and plan out what will change from start to finish, what will be hidden within, and what can you add to make it different than other games. You'll probably find yourself focusing in one section, which is perfectly fine, just make sure you adjust the others accordingly.
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#20 chance

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:08 PM

...add a theme and try to make sure it doesn't ruin the experience. That is how a good game is started...

lol... that's my favorite answer so far. :tongue: "Don't ruin the experience"


I'll stick with the basics:

1. some element of surprise
2. balance between challenge and reward
3. an original twist
4. visual appeal, and intuitive controls


Most every game I've liked myself, has those four features.
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#21 fluffydino2000

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

That question cannot be answered. "Good" is measurable via opinion, everyone's is different. The story of "Just Cause 2", in my opinion, sucked. The gameplay though was awesome and the same with graphics. Thus I believe it was a good game. Final Fantasy, in my opinion, have good story and graphics yet bad gameplay. Thus I conclude, Ok games. You get what I mean. I like graphics and gameplay. therefore that is what makes a game good to me. Story is unimportant to me. You could make a game like TES and you'd end up making a probably good game as those three main elements are good. But that is my opinion that the elements themselves are good. Thus I conclude, your player must like the individual elements they like.
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