What Makes a Gimmick (And How Can We Avoid Them)?

A “gimmick” is an unusual feature in a game that breaks convention in some way. It could be a unique mechanic or a strange control scheme. In gaming culture, the word “gimmick” mostly refers to hardware features. After they hit the big time with Nintendo’s Wii Remote, motion controls became one of the most condemned gimmicks in recent memory. But why? What makes a gimmick a gimmick, and what can developers do to transcend the label?

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1388d ago Replies(1)
wonderfulmonkeyman1388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

This may just be me, but I think that the term "gimmick" has been used far too often, mostly by fanboys during these inane console wars, as an insult or a negative connotation by people who hate anything that strays too far outside of what they're comfortable with giving a chance.

A lot of the things that people use the word "gimmick" to dismiss actually have a lot of potential for making games better, and all it usually takes is for someone to be open-minded enough to get used to a new idea, for an idea to transcend the negative connotations of being a "gimmick" and going into the realm of being an "innovation".[though , sadly, that term, too, is used incorrectly in this industry more often than not]

I think it's time that more people started stepping outside of their comfort zone to give "gimmicks" a chance to improve their gaming lives.

randomass1711388d ago

Gimmick is used to describe features that seem tacked on and unneeded to the gameplay. Amiibo can be seen as a gimmick for instance but that doesn't at all mean they are bad. It's not that gimmick gets used too much, it's that context is all wrong. People use gimmick to crap on things they don't like because it became a huge buzzword last generation. I found it so annoying when people said Move was a gimmick despite the fact that it was not forced on you and it was compatible with a fair number of games. And that's just Move I'm sure Wii got it much worse. :U

tinkypop1388d ago

This may just be me, but I think that the term "gimmick" has been used far too often, mostly by fanboys during these inane console wars.

let me correct you on this.

This may just be me, but I think that the term "gimmick" has been used far too often, mostly by Superchiller during these time on n4g

superchiller1388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

The master of gimmicks by far is Nintendo . . . they know they haven't been able to compete in terms of solid hardware for over a decade, so they resort to silly gimmicks to try to set themselves apart, making their gaming systems much worse than the competition. This was true for the 3DS (2nd screen and 3D are both gimmicks, most people just turn the 3D off and the second screen is mostly just used for a map or inventory, which can be done with a simple button press on a conventional system). It was also true of the Wii, whose awful waggle controls didn't make up for the cheap hardware running games at old sub-HD resolutions (in fact, the waggle gimmick really ruined all the games, it was a terrible control method). And of course, it is true (yet again) for the Wii U, successor to the Wii that has very anemic, low-spec, feature lacking hardware in the base console, and the awkward Fisher-Price-wannabe tablet as its gimmicky controller (and the tablet just distracts more from the main game on the TV, rather than enhancing it).

It's a shame, because Nintendo USED to be the best out there, the NES and SNES were fantastic consoles (and even the N64 wasn't bad for its time), but once they jumped on the gimmick train, it's been all downhill for this once great company.

marloc_x1387d ago

Gimmick train? 1080i could be the caboose..

I like your analogy schiller.

marloc_x1387d ago

And Sony equates the Vita to a woman with four breasts.. emphasize a gimmick.

higgins781388d ago

Kinect and Move, two perfect examples of the term 'gimmick'. The Wii, it built games around motion controls, Sony and Microsoft, they built the motion controls but forgot to build the games - at least anything worthwhile. Skyward Sword alone is worth the inclusion of motion controls...not to mention Wii Sports Resort, Smooth Moves, Zack & Wiki, Sin & Punishment 2, No More Heroes 1 & 2, etc, etc.

PeaSFor1388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

oh yeah...waggle waggle waggle that wiimote, such a ground breaking gameplay inovation.....NOT.

i bet the vitality sensor would have been a great gimmick too....lulz

higgins781387d ago

You won't get far 'waggling' the remote on any of the games I used as examples, but nice trolling.

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