Disclaimer: The following views are purely my own personal opinion. There are no studies, statistics, research backing my words up. What I can offer is to speak from experience, because I have both spent years playing games and also years playing close to nothing. Pictures have no correlation to anything, they are just random images I found on my PC (don’t ask me why I have them)
Part one: Myths and you
Myth: Computer gaming is bad for X reasons.
I’m sure that psychologists have somewhat pointed this out before. Gaming itself is not the underlying cause for a certain problem, it is merely a symptom. Simply put, the problem lies in the individual. Certain people turn to gaming to escape from real life problems. Addiction is not caused by gaming itself, it is caused because one does not have the discipline to manage their time. Games are designed to be addictive, if not why would anyone want to continue playing (and paying)?
People blame games for making others violent and whatnot. Really? That is similar to people blaming guns for killing people – it’s just silly. Think of it this way, if guns and games never existed, are people going to start blaming knifes for killing people and god knows what for making people violent?
In summary: Don’t blame gaming, blame the individual, because there are worse vices out there.
This largely depends on what type of game is being played, however to make that kind of sweeping generalization is also untrue. Certain games are considered E-Sports, and E-Sports is slowly but surely growing as it catches on popularity. To me, I feel that is still much potential to be tapped in the E-Sports industry. Pro gamers earn a living from it, the general audience are willing to pay because they enjoy it, event organizers profit, jobs are created, basically a win-win situation for everyone.
In summary: People tend to focus on the negative aspects of gaming instead of the positive ones.
Part two: What to look out for in any computer game. Casual games, such as mobile games are not included.
Kind of a broad definition, but my personal take on it is that a game must generally feel “smooth” in order for it to be considered fun, and more importantly, good. I’m not going to go into the technical details for all these, but games in each genre usually have a core element, aka game mechanics. In RPG, the combat system and plot. In RTS, game balance and learning curve. In FPS, the array of weapons and “feel” etc. This is by far the most important factor that separates the exceptional ones from the norm.
I don’t really need to explain this one. You see what you play, so if it looks bad, chances are it is bad too, with exceptions of course. Note that critically acclaimed games might not necessarily have pretty graphics (so as to keep it accessible to people with lower end PCs), which is a sign that the developers designed the game with that in mind.
Basically, every game has a point where it is known as end game. Meaning that you have either just about hit max level, finished the main storyline or even achieved 100% completion. At this point, what do you do? Is there a point in continuing or even restarting? In other words, if you were to restart or replay, would the next play through be the same? Good re-playability includes stuff like harder difficulties; randomization; different game routes/dialogues; different character builds etc.
Many people don’t give this aspect enough credit nor recognition. It is often too easy to not pay attention to the music/sound effects and or mute the whole thing entirely. I’m not a composer nor a musician so I can’t comment on what is considered epic or just merely OK, since different people also tend to have different tastes. The one thing I will say is that if one does not get bored or tired after hearing the same track over and over again then it is safe to say that it is probably a great piece of music.
- Game Support/Customer Service
No game is perfect, thus there will be bugs, balance issues, exploits etc. For the online side of things there are also issues like connectivity issues, compromised accounts, server stability, lag etc. Content wise there are content patches, DLC, expansions in general. It is imperative that for a game to be considered worthy of purchase that these factors be taken into account as well. There is little point in playing something really fantastic yet plagued by issues as described above. New content that is churned out on a regular basis is also vital to keep players interested and fresh.
At the end of the day, perhaps it still boils down to this factor. Is it fairly priced? Given the state of today’s gaming industry, games are looking to be more expensive than ever, thanks to reselling, piracy and inflation. Just bear in mind that if a game is good then it is also worth paying the price for it, unless that price amounts to half of your fortune or renders you to eating grass for the next couple of weeks.
Last and maybe a minor point. Every game has a form of community or scene and that is how gamers around the world interact with one another. Taking out the black sheeps, communicating with fellow gamers or even game developers/community managers is also key in a game’s longevity. As time goes on, any game’s popularity and hype will fade, so why do people still continue playing the same game for over a period of a decade or so? Not just because of the other factors listed above, but also because there is always an active scene revolving around the game.
I hope whoever has read this, especially all the way till the end, has gained a better understanding regarding video games. Once again almost all of this post is based on my own knowledge and opinions, I just wanted to expand on those thoughts and that is all (s)he wrote! Thanks for reading.
This page was initially created on 4/4/12 and updated+republished as part of the site’s reorganization.