There are many different games and there are many different ways people judge them. What criteria do you use to judge games and which ones do you think are the most important?
Here is a list of some aspects of gaming to get you started.
Graphic quality (eg. 720p vs 1080p) Art Style Story Pacing of story Character emotional development Customization Ability to modify game with ease Gameplay Smooth transition between story and gameplay sequences Good Ending/Few loose ends Difficulty of game Voice Acting quality Music soundtrack Background noises (Sometimes, you want a doorknob to sound like a doorknob and you want it to be the best door knob ever)
Price of game Distribution Channel of game (Steam vs PSN or xbox live vs hard copy vs other methods) Exclusive deals with game sellers (If you buy your game from EB games/gamestop, you'll get a better weapon, more character customization, more missions and a better game in general! Screw you small businesses!)
Amount of Patches (Buys Skyrim, puts into ps3, 'Please wait 3 hours while your game is updated to version 1.4, you may not perform this action in the background and your ps3 is essentially useless for the rest of the day.') DRM method (no DRM vs please type the CD key vs please make an account with us and be constantly connected to the internet and allow us to send you promotional emails because there isn't enough advertising in the world)
Ok...wow. I itinially was only going to write a simple list but my emotions just grew stronger as I kept writing. As you can probably tell, I judge video games a lot by how they are sold and not just by the contents of the actual game. So, what criteria do you feel is important in a video game? Feel free to add to my list if I have missed any points or have described a point too broadly or too specifically.
- Can I play it? (DRM, specs, compatibility) - Is the gameplay fun? (Ask around on the internet, read up a bit on mechanics) - Is it stimulating? (Difficulty/Story/Originality) - Will it stay fun? (Portal 2 jumped in value tremondously in this category recently)
* When I am not playing it, how much do I want to be playing it? (Attraction) * When I am playing it, how much do I want to not be playing it? (Retention)
These may be influenced by (but are generally not directly calculable from) some of the points you mention, but in the end they are the ones that matter. If I have to break it up further, these are some of the influencing factors:
* Graphics and sound - not how good they are, but how well they fit the game. 720p? Why do I give a damn if that just means I can see 1,000 more shades of brown when I could be looking at the beautiful simplicity of 16 colours that are actually distinct from each other? * Gameplay & controls - if I want something to happen and it makes sense that I should be able to make it happen, how much effort is required on my part to make it happen? This includes from the stance of "press A to hopefully jump in the next 5 seconds ... maybe", "given that I have a crowbar equipped, am I able to pry off that poorly-nailed wooden board" and "while I normally dislike friendly fire, please let me at least be able to punch Jar Jar Binks off a cliff" * Immersion - do I care about what's happening in the game? * Completion - both how long it takes to finish the "main" part of the game, whatever that is, and how much it matters to me to complete the "extra" part, whatever that is (in many modern games, that's the question of getting from New Game to End and then New Game+ to End or End to 100%, in older games or ones without a strict storyline it may be about beating a scoreboard or getting perfect rankings on levels)
Wikihow wrote:* Smile a lot! Give a gay girl a knowing "Hey, I'm a lesbian too!" smile.
I want to learn this smile, perfect it, and then go around smiling at lesbians and freaking them out.
There are two crucially different times at which the judgement can be made - before you get the game, and after you get the game.
After you get the game, ConMan covers a lot of what's important. Graphics, sound, gameplay, immersion, completion. There's also some peer-related stuff to it - can/do I play the game with my friends, do they enjoy it, do we enjoy playing together, &c.? Also, for games with a subscription, there's a cost factor too.
Before you get the game, it's a different ballgame. For this I would rely on review websites and opinions of my friends, to a large extent, but there are also a few developers who I trust to make consistently good games (Valve, Blizzard and BioWare, for example), without needing the opinion of a third party. I suppose that's past experience / history - I use the games a studio has put out in the past to judge the likely quality of its future work. The other major factors here are availability of some kind of demo/trial experience, price, and - especially at the moment - how easy it is to actually get a copy. If it's not either free or available on Steam, it's very unlikely that I'll get it, since acquiring English-language physical copies of games is nearly impossible here.
I think what you actually mean to ask, though, is what do I think makes a good game. I would say that the question is too broad in scope and the answers too varied and unpredictable to be meaningful. In fact, the best answers to that question are often ones I haven't thought of yet - the best games are frequently ones that do something I didn't know I wanted.
Menacing Spike wrote:I don't consciously judge videogames, but for:
- Can I play it? (DRM, specs, compatibility) - Is the gameplay fun? (Ask around on the internet, read up a bit on mechanics) - Is it stimulating? (Difficulty/Story/Originality) - Will it stay fun? (Portal 2 jumped in value tremondously in this category recently)
More or less. If you label your points, then...
If 1) and 2) and have money then compare the cost to the value imparted by 3) and 4). That's for getting it.
For judging them in terms of review, I pretty much figure out how I feel, then I make up a bunch of post-hoc bullshit to make myself feel like I have objective support of my views, then argue angrily about them as though they're factual.
a rule I've gradually adopted as a response to the countless games which try to extend playtime by forcing grinding is that the moment a game forces me to grind I put down the controller and leave it. an example would be Etrian Odyssey where progression was litterally impossible unless you were willing to spend countless hours grinding up the levels.
I don't mind doing a little grinding when I want to to gain advantage, it's being forced that's the problem.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.
HungryHobo wrote:an example would be Etrian Odyssey where progression was litterally impossible
I never found this a problem, since I always read extensively about the classes before starting up a party in this kind of game (for instance, in EO3 the monk/prince combo has utterly bullshit healing and buffs and trivialized many fights).
Grinding applied, however, when creating a new character; in this case, I just set an action replay code for 128X xp and let it stay on for a few fights.
1) Is it fun. The best video gave I have ever played was and is still a MUD. No graphics just words. I can't think of a better criteria because so many games were fun for different reasons, and there doesn't seem to be any universal requirement for me other than...
2) Is it multiplayer. For what ever reason, I can derive no satisfaction from single player games any longer. (Fallout 3 came close, but after finishing the game couldn't touch it again)
2) Does it stay fun. This seems to be the biggest obstacle and only a handful of games have ever achieved this for me. (WoW being one)
4) Is it a job? WoW devolved into this for me, and thats when I quit. Also every facebook game I ever tried felt like work. (I have to click a button in 24.5 mins to get an upgrade)
In my mind I keep envisoning a full kill full loot Vampire and/or Zombie apocoplypse MMO as the greatest game ever, or possible in a Paranoia MMO. (Anyone who has played Paranoia, stamp your Awesome/Nerd card)
Yeah, this is my criteria for... pretty much everything. Especially music - I don't care if it's mainstream pop or post-grunge Deathalcore, if it sounds good, it sounds good. With games, that means I'm genre swapping constantly. I like it that way.
Spambot5546 wrote:Well...who used it? I'd sleep next to Felicia Day's used bacon.
an example would be Etrian Odyssey where progression was litterally impossible unless you were willing to spend countless hours grinding up the levels.
If you're referring to 1 I can't say either way, but on 3 I found I never had to grind anything except some cash with an alternate farmer party who fled from everything.
Unless you subscribe to the "all random battles are grinding" school of thought. Me playing through "normally" wherein I fought most randoms and returned to town when my bags were full never found the need to grind.
I usually evaluate on the "fun" criteria, and past that it's genre specific. I care a lot more about graphics on a storyline-heavy adventure game than a strategy, and in fighting/action games I care about the ease of controller input (right analog + L2 + triangle combos can diaf), and in strategy I care a lot about resource management and balance with the need for diversity.
Overall polish in all aspects will make a good game great, but lack of polish can't really make a bad game worse. For example, in minecraft, there is no crafting book or log. You need to look crap up on an external website to figure out how to make anything. Would adding in an ingame aid be that difficult? It's a major lack of polish that the game has.
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.
A gut feeling consisting of the sum of whatever frustrations I have with the game.
I'll use Mass Effect 3 to illustrate it. It's certainly playable, but it has a number of issues that detract from the immersion. Small things. The occasional low res textures. Odd pacing, seemingly stemming from a lack of establishing scenes, making the game feel ... aimless. Small glitches, like the scanner you pass through the war room which scans in the same direction whether you leave or enter the war room (the latter looking pretty strange). It also displays hints during the loading screens, and I'm sure they're very useful, but I can't read them because my computer is too fast and they just flash by before I can read them. Oh, and the wave mechanic really detracts from the game's sense of progression. Having to gun through 3 waves of mobs every single obstacle you walk up to gets real old, real fast. You'd think they'd learn from Dragon Age 2.
When I'm about two-thirds of the way through a game, I'll ask myself why I'm still playing it. The answer will be 1) I don't want to (bad), 2) for a sense of completion (meh), or 3) because it's fun or I want to see what happens next (good).
addams wrote:Torture is Not how to get information. The way to get information is with Blue Berry Pancakes.
I generally find the best games are those that have gameplay that simply continues to surprise and offer new discoveries as the game is played – the antithesis of the endless grind, basically. Not much else really matters nearly as much.
Frustration tends to arise when something looks like it should be possible to do one particular way, but the developers did not anticipate this viewpoint and actually intended the something to be done an entirely different way, such that endless attempts to try to do in the particular way are doomed to utter failure.
In general, I'd say, it has to be fun. More specifically, I'd say a fun game for me needs to be challenging but needs to be fair. If a game is too easy, I'll get bored of it pretty fast. I like games that are hard enough to make me think a little, have puzzles or fights or levels or whatever that need some time, thought or strategy to be able to get passed. I enjoy games with good stories, but it isn't a necessity; I have no problem playing a game like Mario or whatever with a nonsense story if it's a good game to play overall. I also get very annoyed at games that waste my time. I don't want to spend three hours grinding an item or twenty minutes rearranging my inventory. OTOH, I feel a bit cheated if I can finish a game in 10 hours on my first playthrough. Good length is important, but the length has to be from doing things that are interesting.
Things like graphics, music, etc. I don't care that much about. Some of my favourite games are from the 80s and 90s. I probably care about music more than graphics, but if the music isn't good, I can always just play my own music instead. I normally only play single player games nowadays, but I do keep an eye out for games that have a party-style multiplayer mode so that my wife can play with me if she wants to.
Jorpho wrote:I generally find the best games are those that have gameplay that simply continues to surprise and offer new discoveries as the game is played – the antithesis of the endless grind, basically. Not much else really matters nearly as much.
I noticed that in recent years, I've had a much lower tolerance for repetitive gameplay. I tried to play Final Fantasy 6 (US 3) a few months ago, and combat was interesting for all of twenty encounters. So yes... Constant innovation, or make your game shorter.
addams wrote:Torture is Not how to get information. The way to get information is with Blue Berry Pancakes.
Basically, enjoyability both first playthrough and repeatedly.
MMOs tend to top this list, mainly due to long-term playability. They tend to have decent graphics, other people to interact with, and are generally enjoyable.
Currently I've been playing...
EvE Online (I am a pvp addict in that...) Tribes Ascend - because we must go faster Cortex Command - because explosions and chaos and gibs EVERYWHERE Kerbal Space Program - Basically above, but with rocketing out of the solar system
I gave WH40k Space Marine a playthrough, and it was good but I only want to play it once. I kinda burned myself out on LOTRO but I'll be back to it soon, as my generic MMO of choice (community is above par, and I have a lifetime membership so I get free premium)
Betelgeuse can burst and the radio can play, because we're all made of waves.
I tend to have a really basic, but strict evaluation process, which unfolds roughly as such:
Function: Does the game run? Do the controls work?
Gameplay: Is there gameplay? Is it meaty?
Aesthetic: Does anything about the game immediately start grinding my gears?
1. Function. Obviously, the game has to actually start up, and I have to be able to interact with it in a useful manner. There is some leeway, even here: Many computer games may not necessarily control properly or even run at all without patches and other fixes, but for the most part, if I can get the game to function properly, I won't really hold any set-up procedures against it.
2. Gameplay. You'd think gameplay was a given when playing a game, but many games and genres have rather sparse gameplay, such as visual novels, dating sims, and so on.
Is there gameplay? Some games also end up lacking in gameplay due to substituting some or all of the gameplay with quick-time events. One could argue what is and isn't a QTE on the fringe of the definition in games that are very cinematic or rhythmic, but for the most part it's absolutely cut and dry: "Press button to avoid failure state" or "mash button to progress". These simply pad the length of the game and reduce the amount of gameplay.
Is the gameplay meaty? Some games are all gameplay, like Tetris. There's nothing about Tetris that isn't gameplay. But the gameplay is also meaty; it's intense, it has good pacing, it's very much a continuous experience in which all your tools, the mechanics, are useful. Blocks drop, you can ether turn them, move them, or speed them up, and those three options combine perfectly.
As an example, a comparison of two similar games (which seems to have turned into a bit of a mini-review of sorts, so spoilered for length):
Burnout: Revenge: Arcady console racing game with a mean streak. Gameplay consists of street racing and aggressive driving (crashing and ramming opponents), as well as other game modes involving crashing into cars.
The campaign in this game consists of a series of consecutively unlocked ranks, which are sets of levels featuring different challenges. You select the rank from the menu, then you select a level within that rank, and you choose a specific challenge to attempt on that level in order to begin the gameplay. Once you finish the challenge, gameplay stops and you have to go back to the menu to select another challenge.
The problem with this model in this game is that many challenges are very short and concise objectives, such as "create a multiple-car pile-up by crashing your car once". Doing this only takes a few minutes at most, as you only drive for a few seconds before getting to the potentially optimal spot to start the chain of crashes, and once your car collides you only have limited control to influence where it flies or slides from the impact, and you often need to restart the level multiple times if you miss a ramp or overshoot your target.
During street races, crashing your car or forcing an opponent to crash by ramming them triggers a slow-motion cinematic showing off the physics of the game with the offended car flipping or spinning out of control. This gets old very fast, and makes gameplay even more disjointed. Add onto that the quick-time events, and conditional mechanics such as the ability to make your car explode during a cutscene of your car crashing in order to make opponents explode, and this racing game feels less like a series of street races and more like a load of really, really short drag racing mini-games strung together.
There are also many other small continuity issues with Burnout: Revenge, including the way in which cars seem to unlock at arbitrary points in the game and can be used for different game modes in different levels, often with no clear indication of variation in attributes. What is presented as a "career mode" feels more like a big box of single sessions with little to no arc of progression.
Mechanically, there's very little substance. Cars seem to rubber band somewhat. Collisions have a Boolean, slightly unpredictable outcome: If you hit an opponent, he'll either go flipping 15 feet in the air and explode, or you'll go flipping 15 feet in the air and explode, based on whatever the game uses to determine the "winner" of a crash. Same thing with obstacles. If you hit a line of street cars from the rear, they crumple up and fly out of your way like a set of bowling pins. If you hit them from the front, you go flipping 15 feet in the air and explode. If you graze a wall or other barrier, the same Boolean outcome is triggered based on your angle of attack. You either explode, or you bounce off and keep going.
The game controls with an analog stick for steering, an analog trigger for acceleration, an analog trigger for braking, as well as digital buttons for gadgets and abilities. The game does interpret a very fine granularity of analog input, and driving at anything other than full throttle seems completely unnecessary. The full range of motion of the analog stick only ever comes into play to a small degree while in a slow-motion crashing sequence, where you will move the stick up or down in addition to left and right to influence where or car lands or skids. While driving, the game only interprets left and right analog input, and the vertical axis does nothing at all.
While I did enjoy this game, and it's certainly not badly produced, the gameplay was not meaty and fulfilling.
WipEout Pulse: Arcady console racing game with a mean streak. Gameplay consists of track racing and projectile combat (often described as "F-Zero with guns").
Similar to Burnout: Revenge, the campaign in this game is a series of ranks with sets of challenges inside. But once you enter a rank from the menu you immediately have access to a grid of every single challenge in that rank, regardless of which track they are on or what type of challenge.
Once you're in a race, it's all meat. There are no annoying cinematics or quick-time events. A challenge lasts about as long as a challenge in Burnout, but absolutely 100% of the 5-6 minutes spent in a challenge are spent in high-speed racing and shooting action with no interruptions what-so-ever. Crashing your vehicle is not an easy feat, as its shields can take many scrapes with walls or missile hits, and regaining control after a crash only takes a second or two.
WipEout Pulse does a good job of showing your progress, coloring each challenge in a grid, and each grid on the menu either bronze, silver, or gold according to its level of completion. The game does not prompt you with arbitrary unlocks, but instead rewards you with loyalty points for the manufacturer of the vehicle you choose, which creates a consistent and engaging progression within the career campaign. Vehicles are well defined and show simple and useful quantitative readouts of attributes that set them apart, which makes it easy to choose what vehicle you like for the different challenges.
Mechanically, WipEout Pulse has both depth and breadth. Racers behave the way you would expect high-speed racing pods on a magnetized race track to behave, and opponents and obstacles interact with your vehicle in a satisfying manner. The game controls with one analog stick which steers you ship left and right on the track as well as pushing the nose down for extra grip and aerodynamic efficiency, or up for less grip and better air time when going over a ledge or bump. Digital buttons control acceleration and braking, as well as left and right airbrakes for sharp turns and special systems like guns and shields, all things that work very well with binary input. The digital buttons don't provide as fine granularity, but they combine to provide just the right level of control; you accelerate by holding one button, and decelerate slowly if you let go of that button. To decelerate faster you can hit the brakes full on, or apply the airbrakes to create drag on your left, on your right, or on both sides at once.
Not a single bit of input is wasted, and I always feel in control and immersed in the challenge. Not only is there a lot of gameplay, but it's proper, meaty gameplay.
3. Aesthetic: Does anything about the game immediately start grinding my gears? If yes, it's often a deal-breaker for me. Either bad gameplay or bad presentation can be the first thing I notice that makes me abandon a game, and are often both a factor. But the gameplay is much more important, and I'm rarely ever concerned about mediocre sound or music, and I tend to forgive bad graphical fidelity if the gameplay is good. Likewise, good sound, music, and environment design does not excuse bad gameplay. A game can be as visually and aurally stunning and immersive as it wants, but I can't bear to drudge through it if controlling the main character feels like riding a pogo stick underwater, or a car feels like driving a hovercraft through a vat of syrup.
That being said, beyond a game's gameplay I do judge it for its graphical qualities. I find that I judge graphical fidelity (quantitative attributes such as aliasing, polygon count, texture resolution) in direct relation to art style: A cartoony or artsy visual style is very forgiving of lower rendering resolution, blocky models and narrow color palettes, while a "realismic" art style immediately accentuates technical flaws, making pixelated textures pop out and hit me on the nose, and jagged aliasing cut across my retina like the blade of a jigsaw.
My pet peeve is sloppy normal- and spec-mapping. A perfectly crafted character model topped by a beautiful, hand-painted texture ruined by a bad normal map frustrates me to no end. I simply cannot wrap my head around why publishers would demand that their developers create such garbage "realismic" graphics when they could take a more artistic approach and make something that looks beautiful and pleasing and marketable in the same amount of time.
Finally, a note on the other aspects of video games that don't concern me as much. Some of these are big factors in others' judgement of games:
Sound and music: The audio aspect of a video game can have a big impact on immersion. Good sound design can turn a good game into an amazing game. But personally I value the above mentioned criteria a lot higher, and while I enjoy a good soundtrack and appreciate solid sound engineering, I won't make a fuss about mediocre audio production if it doesn't get in the way.
Narrative: Just like sound and music, the narrative of a game can help make it an interesting experience, but it's not something I hunt for in games. As long as the pacing of the gameplay is not impeded by bad writing or disjointed storyboards, I won't mark a title down based on anything directly related to the plot.
Singleplayer / multiplayer: I find that the question of singleplayer vs. multiplayer is more a genre than a design element. A game does not usually intrinsically suffer from the lack of one or the other, the same way a real-time strategy game would not normally suffer from the lack of platforming elements, and a first-person shooter would not suffer from the lack of sports elements. As with my previous example; racing games can be very fun as multiplayer games, but there is nothing inherently multiplayer about the genre. I was perfectly happy playing these two games entirely singleplayer, and I did not feel that I was missing out on anything by not experiencing the multiplayer content.
Game-play first and foremost, I can't tolerate bad game-play Narrative/story comes second, I can tolerate a shoddy story if the game-play is good enough, but a good story definitely helps. Graphics are something I enjoy, and the better the graphics the better the immersion, but as long as the graphics serve a purpose, I do not equate graphics with realism as some might, graphics can be 640x480 2D sprites for all I care, as long as they are enjoyable to look at, so under graphics I also include art design, and even menu design.
Did I feel like I was playing through it just to get to the end? How long did it take me to get bored with it? Do I remember the play through with some fondness? Did I start a new game soon after finishing the first play through? Did I feel satisfaction through playing? Do I feel a sense of sadness at completion?
I can't describe a strict criteria; I can't be objective. I certainly cannot use the same metric for different games, that would be ridiculous. I can try to rationalise why I feel a certain way about a game, I can pick out what I think it does well and what I think is bad.
Xenomortis wrote:I certainly cannot use the same metric for different games, that would be ridiculous.
Well, certainly not your quantitative criteria.
Xenomortis wrote:How long did it take me to get bored with it?
I guess there's just the one.
The rest seem to be easily applicable to any type of game:
Xenomortis wrote:Did I feel like I was playing through it just to get to the end? Do I remember the play through with some fondness? Did I start a new game soon after finishing the first play through? Did I feel satisfaction through playing? Do I feel a sense of sadness at completion?
I don't see why any of these cannot be applied universally. They're all just subjective, Boolean questions. You could even just keep a list of them and check off the ones you can answer with "yes" once you're done playing a game. That's super neat.
But I'm curious if you've explored your thoughts on what goes into these feelings. The "rationalise" part, so to speak.
eviloatmeal wrote:I don't see why any of these cannot be applied universally. They're all just subjective, Boolean questions. You could even just keep a list of them and check off the ones you can answer with "yes" once you're done playing a game. That's super neat. But I'm curious if you've explored your thoughts on what goes into these feelings. The "rationalise" part, so to speak.
Those are relevant to single player games, sure. But I ask a different set of questions when it comes to multiplayer games and that's further split; competitive games are played for a completely different set of reasons to more cooperative or social games.
And some questions are a little unfair of me to ask: The first question is almost always "Yes" if the game happens to be really long: Final Fantasy VII stands out in my memory (being the only FF game I've played all the way through). I rarely start a new game immediately if the core gameplay doesn't lend itself to reruns; exploration games, adventure games, puzzle games etc, tend to fall in here (Portal 1and 2 are very much in here). Metroid Prime is the one exception I can think of. This also biases shorter games. Strangely, I actually started a new game in Crysis the day I completed it (which took a weekend), but I realised how bored I was of it within an hour and have never been able to touch the game since. Question two is heavily biased for nostalgia.
In short: the questions can be asked but blindly looking at the results is misleading.
And yes, I've often considered why I feel the certain way about some games, but it's not exactly clean cut: I prefer Metroid Prime to its two sequels. Prime 1 is the only one of the three I've played through more than once. I think it strikes the best balance between promoting exploration, difficulty and aesthetic. Prime 2 is harder, better for a challenge, but difficulty impedes exploration which has always been the major mechanic for the Metroid series The locales in Prime 2 are also much more grim, colours are more faded, greys and browns dominate (and purple, because purple is evil apparantely). Prime 3 scales back on the difficulty, but loses the expansive world feel; it's broken up into smaller, completely discrete chunks. It also ditches the minimalistic approach to narrative that worked so well in Prime 1. Also the stories for Prime 2 and 3 are utter bullshit.
Yet I do wonder how much of my feelings for Prime 2 and 3 are influenced by Prime 1, the one I played first. I feel some reassurance in that I played Fusion before Zero Mission and I believe ZM to be the superior game for the same reasons.
Xenomortis wrote:The first question is almost always "Yes" if the game happens to be really long
In my opinion the length of the game should not excuse the fact that you get to a point where you're playing to get to the end instead of playing because you're having fun. To me that is always a case of bad pacing. If a game is too long, it's too long, and the indicator is that feeling. I don't think that's unfair at all, even for Final Fantasy games that have billions of hours of wordswordswords to read through or listen to in every new installment. Square Enix are not exempt from properly pacing their games.
Same with short games: If a game leaves you feeling like you didn't get to play it enough before the end, then it should have been longer.
Portal 2 (but not 1*) suffers from some pacing issues. There are a lot of game mechanics crammed into those 8 hours to the point where I felt like some of the elements were introduced briefly and then thrown back out the window to make room for the next thing. ("You can place portals on moving surfaces now?!" "Yes, but the only three moving surfaces you'll ever place portals on are in this room where we introduce you to that concept, and now we're going to jump into this tube and go do something else.")
Xenomortis wrote:In short: the questions can be asked but blindly looking at the results is misleading.
Obviously you can't compare the direct, quantitative answers to the questions across genres, and the questions don't make sense for every genre unless you restate them. A competitive multiplayer game you might play regularly for a period of time, then put down for a while, and then pick up again, so you can use that recurrence in the same way you would evaluate how long it takes you to replay a singleplayer game, and measure it up against recurrence rates for other competitive multiplayer titles.
You can also apply the question of pacing (did I feel like I was playing just to see the end?) to multiplayer games; especially MMO games with level progressions or similar, but also competitive, match-based games in the form of judging whether you have fun throughout an entire session, or an entire match, or if you get the feeling you want to leave before the round is over.
*For the record, I thought Portal 1 was the perfect length. Yes it was short in comparison to other games, but the story, gameplay, and everything was perfectly crafted to fit within that short timeframe, and any longer would have made the experience completely different and probably worse.
Those questions aren't rigid by any means, they are definitely not what I use to judge a game. More, I wrote them down there as a means to illustrate the sort of thing I might think as a result of trying analyse/rationalise why I like or dislike a particular game.
And yes, pacing is part of this. But I wouldn't dare remove my first point for pacing alone. Perhaps this is just me, but I have played very few single player games (more than a few hours long) that I did not tire of before the end, where the only motivation I had for finishing it was to see the finish, for the sake of completion or story closure. The only game I've played recently where this has been the case was Pokemon Red(!) (I played it through a few months ago), where I longed for more content (that's not dull and pointless grind) after defeating the Elite Four. I am uncomfortable saying every other game is badly paced and I know a lot would disagree with me, so I just consider myself unusual in that regard.
Pacing in competitive multiplayer games is a different matter; it's a core part of the gameplay and arises directly out of the rules of the game. Competitive multiplayer games I do not compare with single player games since they are played for totally different reasons; I am trying to better other people in the former, whereas the latter is purely about experiencing an... experience? For some the end result may be similar, but mechanically the two are incomparable.
I've not played enough online cooperative or MMO like games to discuss properly; as far as I'm concerned Guild Wars is an anomaly in that I've clocked over 5000 hours on it (it remains to be seen whether Guild Wars 2 will manage a similar feat, but I doubt it). All bets are off with social games like that; social aspects help a lot.
Xenomortis wrote:Perhaps this is just me, but I have played very few single player games (more than a few hours long) that I did not tire of before the end
Maybe the crystallization of my thoughts on that isn't all too clear. I think you've the intended notion from my ramblings: Provided you're enjoying the game, getting bored with it before the end is an issue of pacing. If something else is making you stop enjoying the game, then that's not a pacing issue.
But yes, many games suffer from bad pacing, although of the games I have played, I have finished very few, and very few of the ones I have not finished, i have not finished because of the pacing. More often than not it's either a problem with my enjoyment of the game or the genre, or a problem with the other qualities of the game, not the pacing.
Xenomortis wrote:Pacing in competitive multiplayer games is a different matter; [pacing is] a core part of the gameplay and arises directly out of the rules of the game. Competitive multiplayer games I do not compare with single player games since they are played for totally different reasons
I don't agree that it is all that different. Pacing is just as important in the design of the game, as you state. Getting the pacing right is very difficult, sure, and the comparison between pacing in single- and multiplayer games is less direct and proportional, but it's still perfectly possible.
For instance, you could draw the comparison "League of Legends is the Final Fantasy of e-sports", and qualify that by explaining that the narrative of a Final Fantasy is very long, drawn-out, and has a slow, turtling, grinding pace, with little splashes of excitement throughout, and this very much compares to the way a League of Legends match plays out: It's a 30 to 50 minute tug-of-war where most of the time is spent herding and pruning each lane of clashing creeps, with ganks and team fights as small, intermittent explosions of excitement, from start until one team has finally pushed their monsters all the way into the enemy base and has enough forces to overpower and kill the nexus.
Xenomortis wrote:I've not played enough online cooperative or MMO like games to discuss properly; as far as I'm concerned Guild Wars is an anomaly in that I've clocked over 5000 hours on it (it remains to be seen whether Guild Wars 2 will manage a similar feat, but I doubt it). All bets are off with social games like that; social aspects help a lot.
Yes, it's funny how MMOs do that. I've put a good 10 000 hours into EVE Online, the purported "time it takes to master an activity", and I'd say in that time I've come about half-way to mastering playing the game, and half-way to understanding IRC-style social interaction. Maybe one day I'll pick that hobby back up, put another five years into it and actually learn to fly something other than frigates.