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What defines a 'good' or a 'bad' game?

Kee|3719d ago |Blog Post|14|

This blog post is for open minds only. Not people who are too full of themselves to consider other people's opinions. Now, inevitably this will focus on certain games and it may annoy people, so be prepared as I give you my undiluted take on certain games and why they were or were not successful as a game. This is totally opinion, in case you hadn't got that, already. And also, it could get pretty long, so if you want the short version of my point, skip to the end.

Case study 1: Haze
Now... First off, does anyone remember this game? How much potential it had? How hyped it was? This game was released back in the era of pessimism when the PS3 had very little to show in terms of exclusives. So it was a game that they figured would sell systems (before release). Now the general consensus is that the game sucked (as far as I know of on the internet).
It received a fairly average score of 55 on metacritic, so it indeed did not live up to the hype that surrounded the game. Now, as a whole, I didn't really think the game was that bad. It was really short. It had bad script writing.... and the multiplayer.... well, yeah. But I still enjoyed the game. It wasn't perfect, but I think there were a lot of things they could've done to make it better. Now, I'm going to propose this: imagine this game was released as a 360 title at launch (when it was most popular). Would the game have gotten the same amount of hype? No. My point is that hype can do really bad things in terms of a person's perception of games. A mildly entertaining game that has been hyped to hell is going to be described as "awful". The moral of the story is don't get too excited about games, because if your expectations are high, the game can only do so much to live up to those. Now, I really enjoyed the game but that was before I read what people were saying on the internet. They kept putting it down until eventually I started to see their point. I'm not suggesting that these people ruined the game for me, but they did sort of soil my memory of it to some degree. And your memory represents what games go down in history as very good games. You'll forget the average games. You'll remember the great games.

Wow, whole paragraph talking about haze. Took me longer to write that than it did to finish the game. (drum: bum bum cha!) Thank you, I'm here all day!

Case study 2: Mass Effect 1 and 2/ Dragon age: Origins and 2
Now, I'm gonna tread very carefully here, but were these games hyped up at all? I don't recall hearing much noise about them pre-release but after they came out, it was like a bleeping orchestra. Everyone and their gran was on the internet raving about these games. Now, how does that set us up for the sequels? They both have a gargantuan reputation to live up to. Millions of gamer's hopes are resting on what these games promised and if they'll deliver and improve on it.
Did they? Well, it's debatable. On one side, they were both very enjoyable sequels, but on the other hand, they were quite different from the originals in terms of the RPG elements that some say have been "dumbed down" for the masses. This was more so in dragon age very recently. People are overreacting because it isn't "the same" as what they were expecting. Now I realise, I'm going on a bit so there it is, whatever. Point made.

Case study 3: Grand theft auto 4
Majority of the opinions for this game is that it was good. I for one was actually disappointed. For the same reasons people were disappointed about the other games I've mentioned. The hype around this game was unparalleled in the long months before it's release. Especially with the delays etc. I think on a scale from 1 to blowing my freaking head off excited: my head was unhinged way before the game was released. It really didn't live up to the standard set by san andreas.
First off, the world wasn't nearly as big.
Secondly, the character customisation was not as good. No hair, no gym, no healthiness. No fun
The last thing that annoyed me was: No planes. You know the things with the wings that fly? None of them.
You'd think the idea with a sequel would be to add features and not take away. Fair enough, they added the phone. And the graphics were much better in IV. But that didn't really compensate for the things that were missing.
The game was a good game, no doubt.

So here is the short version. Not quite the point that I was going for, but I can barely finish a sentence without re-deciding what the sentence is going to mean halfway through.

Hype. Ruins games. How is hype generated? Word of mouth. You are reading this blog post on something called an internet. This is the biggest purveyor of word of mouth in the universe(especially regarding gaming). People here express their thoughts on games in an unrelenting manner. Without realising it, everyone here is being moulded by their fellow internet users to conform to the way they think.

So... thanks for ruining games that I would have otherwise enjoyed.

^^^I of course blame no one for this, because everyone's guilty of overhyping things.

Now that is my opinion of what defines a good game. A good game is one that is enjoyed by the people who play it. No matter how hyped it has been. Now, let's hear your thoughts. What do you think makes a game good or bad? Let me know in the comments below.

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PhoenixDevil3719d ago (Edited 3719d ago )

Its a very good question, and while I agree hype can really make or brake a game its not the only definition that makes a bad game. First off there are times when hype obviously makes a game sell a hell of a lot more, Call Of Duty being the most guilty there and while some people have boycotted the franchise and call it a 'bad' game next to everyone has spent some amount of time on a CoD game and probably did not think it was a bad game - despite the fact that MW2 had soo many bugs millions enjoy and continue to enjoy it to this day, its like your final few lines if people enjoy it then its a good game

Of course this is all, like you said, opinion based. Everybody has their on perspective on what a good game is, some prefer huge strategy and ultra realism while others want a arcade shoot'em up, those are too very different types of games within the same genre of FPS, and that branches out across all genres. There are very few games that nobody likes, that at least not a good chunk of people enjoy and can happily play but there are fewer games that everybody loves. If the gaming world was to end I can guarantee that, us the gamers, would not be able to decide on what was the best game ever and that's because of perspective, which is fine but not the most accurate way of defining good and bad games

So lets look at something which, for me, makes or brakes the game. General gameplay/mechanics and all the technical stuff. This idea is that a good game is one that has solid mechanics which makes the gameplay enjoyable and being well designed enough to be played smoothly without too many hiccups. To me this is one of the biggest factors of what makes a game good

This isint always the case for everybody though, see I recently played Fallout 3 (my friend lent his PS3 version after he bought the GOTY edition). Now let me start off by saying what I'm about to say about Fallout 3 is going to offend some sensitive people (so do not read and please do not hate) but it is a technical look at the game and what I genuinely thought of the game. Its terrible, the game froze on me several times in the few hours I played, the shooting mechanics were stiff awkward and horrid which makes you rely on V.A.T.S heavily which isint as enjoyable for me pausing the battle to get a shot fired for you (I kno its more technical than that but I dnt lyk that) There are plenty of bugs that plague the game including frame rate drops and freezes, the story tellings done by obnoxious characters in stiff no emotion 1 on 1 convos, the replys you can give often are sarcastic and obnoxious trying to be funny (I could go on but lets stop before people want to kill me) Now if you told someone all that stuff about a game they probably would think its bad, yet millions of people love Fallout 3 and rate it so highly so even a technically bad and buggy game can be good

So what really does define a bad game, I'll agree with you Kee its games that we don't enjoy which are the bad ones, the ones we cant't appreciate because of whatever and the ones that let us down on our expectations, the good games are ones that will always pick us up make us smile or give us that satisfaction while playing thats what makes a good and a great game :) EDIT: wow longer than I thought :P any replys are obviously welcome and again good blog and good read :)

Kee3719d ago

Yes, about your point on fallout 3, I think the gameplay itself is good enough to look past the problems with it (as most people have done). But no one can deny it is a very poor quality of game, yet a lot of people enjoy it.

So is fallout 3/NV a good game?
Depends on who you ask, really.
I do think that tolerance for glitches in an open world game is much greater, mainly because to test an open world game for glitches would mean doing every single player action in every single square foot of the game. This would just take forever.

So, yeah. I've come to realise (while writing this blog and from your comment) that there is no universally good or bad game as long as at least one person enjoys it. Everyone has different tastes and it's up to game developers to try to balance finding a unique experience as well as giving the gamers what they want from a game.

Thanks for commenting, phoenix! :)

mastiffchild3718d ago

A good game is a game YOU enjoy and feel able to defend(or explain why you like it and do so with an honest appreciation of it's all round quality-as it's possible that you know you enjoy things of low quality and we all have the odd game or movie we like because "it's so bad it's good" and so on)AS a quality experience made with care and attention to detail according to it's budget and it's direct competition. Just liking a game canot make iot a good game(in general) in it's own. Not imho.

As for FO3? I often offend people with my feelings about the game because it's the most disappointing game, for me, this whole gen. I was les to expect a true mix of shooter and WRPG AND with one of my favourite series EVER-it sounded perfect and ith every bit of pre release news got even better! When I got it, though, I found VATS the most arbitrary system ever and the actual aiming for FPS terribly crappy, there were the normal bugs and normal recycling from Bethesda too but the main issue was the way they managed to suck all the atmosphere out of the franchise. Yet everyone loves it and I, despite it's shortcomings(and I have more!)can still see it's a GOOD quality game made with care(not enough QA but care!), can still accept it as a quality release but just not one that, for me, hits enough highs for me to forgive it's issues.

I can't say it's a "crap" game, it isn't, but it really let ME down and i'll never see exactly why people love it the way they do. True greatness is harder to pin down, in this case, to me,than an acceptance of quality-it's easy to say a game is good even if we might not like it ourselves while picking between one good game and another to understand why they become great is a little tougher in my mind.

I think people will usually say a game's a good game even if they find it's not for them but in the case of actual flops like Haze or Too Human you have to look at politics(Haze esp and pulled middleware leaving it no hope)and over hype(TH and DD's daft assertions)as well as trying to find enough actual care and quality to call them "good" despite their issues.

MidnytRain3719d ago

The sad, commercial truth is: Critics.

Most games that are reviewed poorly sell poorly. It can mean wasted potential for a decent game.

Kee3719d ago

It can ruin the sales, but bad review scores doesn't always mean a bad game. It could be an acquired taste that only some people aren't going to 'get'. If the reviewer is one of these people who don't 'get' it, then the game is not gonna get a great score in the review.

And that will deter people from buying it, but there are loads of great games out there that undersell.

For example: Demon's souls.
Got excellent reviews and even though it sold more than the developers were expecting, I still thought it undersold, considering the quality of the game.
It was a great game that is very unique and I think everyone should at least give it a try. (personal feelings included, it has been my favourite game this generation).
However, it didn't sell tonnes. It did well enough to warrant being called a success, but not enough people have played this game for my liking.
Therefore, the only conclusion I can come to is that the game is not for everyone. There are people who would enjoy it more than others.

So.. yeah good reviews =/= good sales =/= good game.
And.... conversely, Bad reviews =/= bad sales =/= bad game.

My sign there =/= means "does not always equal".

Thanks for your comment, Midnyt :)
I can understand where you're coming from.

The Matrix3719d ago

I wanted to kill myself after playing Haze. Does that qualify it as a "bad" game?

sinclaircrown3719d ago

wether you ""like it" or "not"

mamotte3719d ago

I enjoy it: Good Game
It bores me: Bad game
Others opinion: I dont care

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