This is an incredibly broad topic for a first blog post, but I might as well start big, at least then you and I will have some basis on which to view the rest of the posts. I understand that this topic is incredibly subjective, everybody has their own likes and dislikes, what may be perfect to one, can be less than stellar to another. After all, while Sims 3 was the most sold game in 2009, most people who call themselves "gamers" probably haven't touched it.
That being said though, while the opinion between great and average games may vary, there is a very distinct difference between a good and a bad game which most people can agree on. I'm just going to be giving my opinion on what makes these games good, I'm not a market analyst, nor have I done countless research on the subject. So without further ado heres the list, in a nice and easy to consume bullet point form.
- A solid design
A good game needs to know what it wants to be, as the line between genre's blur, more and more games have "features" which are not meant for that type of game. While First Person shooters with RPG mechanics can be great when they are designed as one, when they aren't things get overcomplicated and uninteresting fast.
Every good game has the ability to be played for a long period of time, or be so memorable that the longevity of the game lives long past the gameplay time. If a game can be completed in a matter of hours, and doesn't incite any emotion or feeling then the player will be left with a dirty taste in their mouth, and the game will quickly be relegated to drink-coaster duty.
- Fun mechanics
This might seem obvious, but it surprises me how often this is forgotten. The #1 indicator of a bad game, is that when you play it you arent smiling, you dont laugh, you wonder "why am I playing this" and often you stop. Games need to be fun. Its not a simple process to make a game fun, but it is necessary.
- Bug Free
So many good games have been passed over because they are bug-ridden, whether its a dodgy camera system, or items not having their intended stats. I often think of bugs as unintended visual artifacts on traditional art. Some people might be able to see past them and view the piece as it was intended, the majority will just say "wtf is this" and move on.
So they are my main criteria when deciding if I like a game or not. Considering commercial development studios have an incredible amount of money to spend on design, development and testing, it surprises me how many bad games there really are.