Gaming What makes a game fun?

Bj

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Simulators by their nature have no definable goals, and yet, what would keep our draw to them... or am I wrong, do we fly a few missions then we are bored and go try something else? After you have flow a trip somewhere in Orbiter, do you keep going to the next level or do you call it quits?

Where exactly is that stopping point?

What about non-simulator games?

so what is your views on what makes a game fun?
 

Salun

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I play a lot of games. However Most of them are simulators. For me the apeal of orbiter is the ability to on a whim change what Im doing. One minute I'm Flying a Falcon to the ISS the next. Sling shot past Jupiter to Saturn. For me being unpredictable is what draws me to Sims. Making the calls that Sometimes I can only hope are the right ones.

Living the alternate life is another big appeal. Im a high school drop out that flips burgers to scrape a live. Still I never could shae that dream of being an astronaut as a kid. Orbiter lets me.

I like other games. Games that are considered more main stream. Team Fortress 2 Call of duty and what not. But I always end up coming back to the sims.
 

jedidia

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For me, games are majorly escapism, I'm afraid. So I enjoy sandbox games with themes that I like (which are usually science fiction or fantasy. Can't really get into any other scenarios) and which are complex enough to give me some immersion (rare these days...).

However, a sandbox game is actually more of a toy than a game, i.e. it's something you play WITH, not something you play through. If I play an actual game, I first and formost expect it to have a good story, and some interesting game mechanics. And sure as hell NO FARMING! (I never got the interesting thing about world of warcraft, I'm afraid. Maybe I'm too asocial, when I play I usually like to play alone).
 

N_Molson

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I think it depends of the player, really. There are different "groups" which have different expectations.

Games like "The Sims" were an enormous success because they put girls to videogames (I have 2 sisters, I know what I'm speaking of :lol:). The gameplay is based on the evolution of one or several characters. (edit : and they introduced psychology in videogames, too).

FPS are a classic genre. They provide quick, instant action for players who like to "aim and shoot". Perfect for quick de-stress after a day of hard work, for exemple. The gameplay is based on putting the player in a combat or dangerous situation (adrenaline).

Simulation is more for people who like complex things. I belong to them, and probably a lot of people around there do so. I would say that SimCity4 and Orbiter are both simulators. The gameplay is about modeling as closely as possible the reality focusing on a subject (town building, space travel & exploration).


They are many other genres, and of course they are often crossed (some (MMO)RPG games cross character developpement, FPS combat, exploration...).

I would add humor, which really make games better, and can be added to any genre (example The Sims, "Beneath a Steel Sky" (for the old-timers), and so on...)

edit2 : some "super-uMMu v9.0" could introduce customizing astronauts, adding experience points simulating specialization (endurance, dexterity, piloting skills, stability of the behaviour under stress...), that would somehow cross The Sims & Orbiter ;)... I think the only limit is imagination ! :p
 
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jedidia

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Aww, come on, Harvest Moon is a great farming game.

I was more talking about "farming" in MMORPGs, where it stands for "doing boring stuff in order to level up". A complex simulation of a farm might have its apeal, allthough not to me. If I would have wanted to be a farmer, I would have become one, while I never had a choice wheather or not I wanted to become a space explorer or a halfling rogue...

Of course, it helps that it includes dating girls and attending festivals. The only drawback is that you can't get laid

I'm happily married and "get laid" quite frequently, so I don't need that in games, thanks. I don't mind a romance in a game when it fits the story, but I absolutely despise games adding a sexual element merely for the sake of getting more sales.
 

Andy44

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Endorphin release. Everytime you nail a bandit with a Sidewinder, or score a headshot on a Tango, the addiction deepens.

For instance, check out FPS Doug (warning, some foul language):


Code:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovsVU6mktOw
 
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TMac3000

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So, who likes Sauerbraten (Cube 2)? That's my primary FPS at the moment; I really like the bot match feature, where you just kill AI-players arena-style. I try to avoid playing against human players online. I can't put my finger on the reason, but I just don't like it.

Arena death-match combat is wicked fast-paced, though. I am still trying to get my number of deaths under my number of kills :(
 

Urwumpe

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After you have flow a trip somewhere in Orbiter, do you keep going to the next level or do you call it quits?

Depends. Sometimes I am happy with the experiment and leave it like that. But I also have my standard tours, which are always fun. Like hauling cargo to Mars.

Where exactly is that stopping point?

Depends on the kind of fun. I know that I can put my favorite sims away, if I just don't have the time to practice more every day so I can attempt harder missions.

What about non-simulator games?

For example, I love Postal 2 for all the lack of political correctness it has. It is a huge long dirty joke and I love it for that.

so what is your views on what makes a game fun?

I think fun is subjective and also depends a lot on the kind of game. I think what makes a game really fun is atmosphere.

A military simulation makes no fun if the enemy is only slightly better as unarmed civilians, or if the action consists of a dog-fight or a few badly placed SAMs in each mission. It makes fun if you have those epic battles that you can tell your grandchildren of. If you noticing the tides of war when looking outside the simulated canopy of your fighter.

An economic simulation makes fun if your intuition and ice cold calculations are rewarded. If a decision you did weeks ago starts to pay out and maybe even exceeds its expectations.

An role-playing game makes fun, if you feel for your characters and their fate, and if the world in which it plays is really alive.

And an FPS makes fun, if you are not forced to fire bursts all the time, but if you get rewarded for planning your firepower. The ideal FPS would be something in which you can win a mission without firing a single shot, just by being at the right place at the right time.

For orbiter, it is the same. A Mars mission is fun, if you feel in your head where you are going. If you look back at Earth every day and feel it get smaller.
 

Jarvitä

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For me, it's about immersion. I dislike games that come with a pre-packaged experience because it leaves no room for creativity. In orbiter (or other similarly open sims), I can think of a plausible scenario, figure out what components are necesarry to re-create it, get the relevant addons and make the modifications I need, put together a scenario and carry it out. Speaking for myself, games that require immersion and creativity hold my attention for much longer than games that require skill and suspension of disbelief.
 

Quick_Nick

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I like the challenge of any game. In Orbiter, I'm challenged to do increasingly difficult maneuvers. In FPS games, I'm challenged to kill without dying and other challenges. And the harder the challenge in a game, the more I get into the game and get determined to beat it.
 

Pilot7893

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A good level of challenge, definitely. Not so easy that you can breeze through the campaign in a day and own at multiplayer the first day you start playing, but not so hard that you get stuck on a level and get frustrated. Also, a level on anonymity on the main character, like in Half Life or Ace Combat is nice. Makes you feel like you are the main character, not a player controlling them.
 

fireballs619

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Most of the games that I enjoy are open-world, or sandbox. I hate playing games were you are boxed in (I.E. corridor shooters). Right now, the games I play most besides orbiter are Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and ARMA 2. You can decide how you want to play- Do you want to take out the passing convoy, or let them slip by. You can go through these games without firing a single shot, because you can command other troops in great detail. I do sometimes play regualar FPS's, like COD4 or Half-Life, but these are mainly for the story lines.

As for my sims, I usually do things to prove that I can. Then I do them again to prove the first time was not a fluke. Then I do it again, seeing if I can do it better. There's really no stopping point for me in sims, because they are so open ended. I can always try to do something better, something more efficiently, and that is what keeps me coming back.

By the way, Harvest Moon is a great game! Friends of Mineral Town was the best gameboy game out there. Remember kids, always plant your crops so you can reach all of them!
xxx
xxx
x x
 

Mojave

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Yes The longest, most exciting, most boring game ever made.

Harvest Moon!!!!

My idea of fun in games, is shooting aliens and sniper games such as Half life, and RTCW, and Marine sharpshooter series.
 

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That really depends on the genre. A good third-person shooter is the recent Ghostbusters video game because it isn't just a shoot-them-up, it's like an interactive film. Orbiter is a good space flight simulator since Microsoft retired their space flight sim years ago and people wanted something different from Celestia.

It isn't a "one size fits all" formula to make a game fun. What works for a game like Super Mario Galaxy 2 may not work for a game like BioShock, and vice versa.
 

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I agree, Allan. Of course, the graphics and general atmosphere of the game can also make it fun- you can look at the Endless Ocean games to see why.
 

River Crab

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OK, I could write a column about this topic. A whole editorial. But rather than wax philosophical, I'll give you my two favourite games (series) and let you do the thinking.

Touhou and Orbiter.

While all of you know Orbiter, few of you know Touhou (skip this part if you do).
It's what's called a Danmaku shooting game (a series, actually), a genre all of its own, and takes place in a fantasy bubble world full of demons, youkai, faeries, gods, vampires, and young virgin girls in a virgin land. It's a combination of Eastern and Western myths, religions, and culture, and there are deep meanings and symbolic ties involved.
But don't get the wrong idea- this is a frantic arcade shooting game with no time to meditate on the background scenery during stages. You need lightning-fast reflexes, instincts, and intuition to make it through the beautiful, and deadly, bullet curtains. You are basically playing fireworks.

"What!? This is nothing like Orbiter!" You're right, it's almost the extreme opposite. But what makes them fun? None of the same things; almost nothing carries over.
On one hand, there's fantasy, speed, reflexes, patterns, and cuteness; on the other hand, realism, serenity, planning, calculation, and...Duralumin. Vibrant, colourful story and characters; or no story and characters at times. Constant movement; or the silence of space. Atmosphere; or void.

Even I'm not sure why I like them both. That "what!?" was not a rhetorical question!
I think I'll entrust my number one bro to follow me up on this, because I don't have a conclusion. Or a good video to explain Touhou.

River Crab, out! :tiphat:
 

Izack

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The storyline.
Eh, there are so many things within the 'storyline' bit...

1. Length. There are games out there with more plot than a Tolkien epic. It has little bearing on the quality of the game (anyone play FFXII? Brings a new respect for the term "GET ON WITH IT!")

2. Depth. This I think is what you were thinking of. You can make a stone cry with a deep enough tale. It requires no great length, only telling.

3. Presentation. By golly, this is the most important. Even if your tale cannot make a stone cry, if it's well-enough-said it can still make the Queen's Guard abandon his post to go buy your game. A great example of this is Shadow of the Colossus (which I hold is one of the best I've ever played.)

I won't bother to go any further, even though I could write a scholarly paper on this (actually, I did :shifty:) and I'm kicking myself over all the points I'm leaving out, because it's not all that important, and I'm sort of tired. :p
 
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