One of the hobbies that has been with me ever since I was little is playing video games. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t play outside or neglected my friends, it just means that it’s been a part of my life for a very long time. From the Nintendo Entertainment System, to Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64, Xbox 360 (with Kinect <3) and recently also the Playstation 2 (with Singstar), I own my share of handhelds and home consoles. It doesn’t have to be latest thing for me, though. I got my lovely Xbox 360 shortly before the Xbox One came out and I decided to go for a Nintendo 64 long, long after it came out (more than 10 years, in fact).
So my emphasis isn’t on the latest equipment or amazing graphics. Even though that might impress me about some games, I do not judge a game by it. I’m not fussed about an online mode either (I’m not sure I ever played any console game online). For me it’s about having fun. But what is a fun game for me? Here are my Top 5 features I love in games. I do not expect all features in every single game, as they are all so different. But a healthy combination of some of my Top 5 is sure to make an enjoyable game for me.
1) A Sense of Achievement
I am one of the sad (or rather call me organised) people that is just a little obsessed with lists. So when a game has a 100% counter (Lego Games) I will HAVE TO finish it until the 100% shine and twinkle. And then I feel good about myself, even if it took me 2 weeks. I also love quest logs (Fable, Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic) and it’s so satisfying to finish a quest. No, it is more sad than organised, isn’t it? Anyway, the Xbox 360 feature of collecting Achievements throughout games totally got me as well. I love that little “ting” noise it does, when you have unlocked one. So a game that encourages me to collect things or that will reward me with a sense of achievement now and again will probably hold my attention.
2) Be the Game
I love a good story when I watch films and the same is true for games as well. So I get really excited about games that are almost like an interactive film and you are the protagonist. I guess I am the classic RPG person then, even though I do like quite a few Jump’N’Run titles as well. What’s great about many RPG games is the fact that you can make choices (within limits) and somehow influence what is going on around you. You as player really are at the centre of the game. So I like immersive gameplay and for me Kinect has set new and amazing standards there. Does it get any more personal than “you are the controller”?
3) A Whole New World
Some games give you the unique opportunity to explore another world. And in some cases you can easily lose yourself in the beauty and authenticity of the created world. Fable is a great example here, as I sometimes switch on my Xbox 360 simply to walk around Albion. Just stunning! And Disneyland Kinect always gives me the feel of actually being back in Disneyland Paris. Great games give us a sense of a complete and rounded world with nothing lacking in their very own style. These worlds then let us suspend our disbelief and enter new territory – so much to explore, so many adventures to be had! And I’m just sitting on my sofa with a nice hot tea on the coffee table!
4) Don’t go easy on me!
Okay, maybe do, please. But not too easy! I am a person who plays games for entertainment and not for competition. So I do want a challenge, but it shouldn’t be frustrating. It should be easy enough, but not patronisingly so. And that balance is of course difficult, but there are many games out there that are simply perfect. The Pokémon series or the Lego games for example. You can’t die in Lego games, which sounds way too easy. But then you want the 100%, so it’s not quite as simple, as you think…
5) (Anti-)Social Networks?
As I said before, I’m not into online co-op, so I guess I’m more of an offline anti-social gamer. That’s fine. I love just having that “me-time”, when I can immerse myself in that fantastic world. I can have endless fun on my own, but sometimes the local and social co-op mode can be awesome and just make the game a million times cooler. Whereas I’d rather play Star Wars, Pokémon and Fable on my own, Lego games are simply made for two players. Many things are much easier and it’s just fun figuring out the riddles together and insulting each other, the game, the characters and the screen. Shouting at the screen on your own can be just a little sad sometimes.
So these are my Top 5 features I like to see in great games. What makes a good game for you? Are you more into online battles? Or do you prefer state-of-the-art graphics and sound? Or is it about DLCs or additional content you can unlock? I know everyone has their own preferences and that’s why it’s so amazing that there are so many different games out there. There is something for everyone. I will definitely keep on training my Pokémon, jumping up and down in front of my Kinect like a maniac and collecting Lego studs to buy all the characters!