What do you value the most in a video game?

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Posted by deactivated-5d6bb9cb2ee20 (82724 posts) 5 years, 9 months ago

Poll: What do you value the most in a video game? (83 votes)

Mechanics and interactivity 29%
Player Agency 1%
Graphics (Technical and/or artistic) 6%
Sound Design (Ambient and/or musical) 1%
Controls 2%
Story and Presentation 27%
Production Values 0%
Replay Value and/or Lasting Appeal 17%
Game Design 17%

First off, I would like to start by saying that there is no right or wrong answer. This thread is not an attempt to make a 'holier than thou' statement. But given how diverse games have become, and how different they all can be from one another, I attempted to try and understand what System Wars values the most in a video game. I hope that everyone will answer this question honestly.

If I had to rank it for myself, in decreasing order of importance, it would be Mechanics and Interactivity->Player Agency->Game Design->Sound Design->Controls->Graphics->Production Values->Story and Presentation->Replay Value and/or Lasting Appeal.

I do think all nine of them are variously important (depending on the kind of game it is- an epic story would make no sense in a Madden game, for example), but if I had to rank all of them, Mechanics and Interactivity would be first and foremost, with Player Agency a close second (for example, the reason I love Skyrim so much even though it has so many other failings is because it has so much Player Agency- I can do what I want, when I want, where I want; this is also the reason I disliked Skyward Sword, it took away too much Player Agency from me, especially compared to previous Zelda games).

Of course, often, I run into games I like a lot which seem to defy my preferences, but on the whole, I think the kinds of games I like are pretty consistent with my preferences up there.

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#1 Edited by PannicAtack (21040 posts) -

Simply that the game made me glad I spent my time with it. Whether it's because it gave me fun action like (like Painkiller) or because it hit my emotional heartstrings (like To the Moon) or made me think about it (like Dear Esther), if I can just look at it and say "yeah, I'm glad I did that" then the game was worth my time.

I don't really have "criteria."

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#2 Posted by treedoor (7648 posts) -

When a developer actually properly implements good gameplay mechanics with good story-telling, and by that I mean actually tells the story through you playing the game (which is enjoyable to play).

Something like Half Life fits that bill. I'm very much not a fan of the modern trend of cut scene > shooting gallery that adds nothing of value to the story > cut scene > shooting gallery > cut scene > shooting gallery. I don't know if there are worse forms of story-telling than that.

In Half Life you can just blow straight through the game shooting aliens, and thinking "Wow so cool dudebro aliens invaded da earf, and I shotgun'd them. The end" or you can actually take the time to explore, listen to NPCs, and pay attention to the events unfolding, and you'll come out with an entirely different take on the story (which is actually quite a good story imo). All of this done without stripping the player of control of their character.

Following that I just like great gameplay which is why I stick almost exclusively to PC nowadays.

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#3 Posted by darkspineslayer (22399 posts) -

The fact anyone voted visuals further diminished my faith in humanity.

Also, I'll take strong game design. Example, Super Mario and Zelda were designed with rather contrasting elements from the beginning, including linearity and open world among other things (player agency). I would not say either game is stronger for that choice, they just know what they want to be and are good at it.

I like to consider game design and solid mechanics as two sides of one coin to be honest, without one, the other isn't much good. Example, Sonic Lost World (at least on 3DS) has interesting mechanics with the free running, but the level design either doesn't use it to it's benefit, or makes it frustrating. Controls are also folded into this area to me, if I can't control the character to a satisfactory level, I don't really feel like the mechanics were polished enough.

Visuals, way down the list. I'm not sure how in a post Minecraft world we can still think visuals are what make a game fun.

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#4 Posted by Zoso813 (310 posts) -

If "replayability" equals multiplayer, then that takes my vote. Having no replayability is unacceptable to me when games are costing $60 a pop. Quality single player games should be priced at $40 max. Luckily, I have a PC.

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#5 Edited by SolidTy (49991 posts) -

I don't prize just the one element, it's the whole vibe and experience. If I was forced to pin a tail in the donkey, Gameplay (Game Design) would win. Gameplay is crucial and most significant to me, but it's definitely not the only aspect of gaming I value or I would still be in the 8bit generation and never looked forward.

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#6 Posted by mems_1224 (56917 posts) -

Idk, as long as a game is fun I dont really care.

I've enjoyed bad games like the new Medal of Honor games and I've disliked great games like Bioshock. As long as a game is fun Im willing to put up with a lot.

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#7 Posted by whiskeystrike (12187 posts) -

I value game mechanics over everything else. Granted a solid combination of other elements can make a so-so game otherwise enjoyable but I'll always kind of wish for a bit more. A game can solely have solid mechanics and I can overlook its flaws and have a great time.

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#8 Edited by Merex760 (4381 posts) -

Didn't see an option for gameplay, so I chose mechanics/interactivity which I think falls under that. I'll play an indie game with inventive mechanics over a flashy AAA title with nice graphics and average mechanics any day.

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#9 Posted by jg4xchamp (61799 posts) -


What is the point of a videogame where the interactive aspect of it sucks? Any other element of a videogame can be horrible, and it would not stop the game from being enjoyable so long as the gameplay was entertaining. But if the gameplay sucks? The game sucks. That's all there is to it.

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#10 Edited by TF626 (592 posts) -

I value story and presentation.

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#11 Posted by Sweenix (5957 posts) -


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#12 Posted by Netret0120 (3547 posts) -

I value them all but Lasting appeal is a key factor especially now that gaming is becoming so expensive.

I am not spending $60 per game for it to last 7 hours and i never play it again. Online multiplayer that is fun springs to mind and a decent length SP with incentive to play it again eg:20-40hour campaign

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#13 Edited by GreySeal9 (28247 posts) -

@jg4xchamp said:


What is the point of a videogame where the interactive aspect of it sucks? Any other element of a videogame can be horrible, and it would not stop the game from being enjoyable so long as the gameplay was entertaining. But if the gameplay sucks? The game sucks. That's all there is to it.

I both agree and disagree with this.

I agree that a game with sucky gameplay pretty much sucks. However, I probably couldn't enjoy a game that had good gameplay but sucky everything else.

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#14 Posted by Basinboy (13928 posts) -


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#15 Posted by withe1982 (450 posts) -

I voted story and presentation. A game can look like shit ( Deadly Premonition) play like shit (erm... deadly premonition) and have bad production values (see earlier examples) and still be a kick-ass game. As long as a game is held together by interesting plot devices and rich well written characters then it can still make a great game despite the many flaws.

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#16 Posted by BattleSpectre (7989 posts) -

Gettin' laid..

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#17 Edited by Whiteblade999 (5847 posts) -

Story and presentation is usually the thing that sucks me in the most.

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#18 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (5747 posts) -

Gameplay. And after that, content.

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#19 Posted by 93BlackHawk93 (8602 posts) -

I value PrincessGomez92 the most. :3

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#20 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (5747 posts) -


As sweet as that is, babe, I'm not in a video game. :3

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#21 Edited by sukraj (27859 posts) -


Avatar image for TREAL_Since
#22 Edited by TREAL_Since (11946 posts) -

To simply say 'gameplay' is either a cop out choice, or grave misrepresentation of what constitutes a good game, hehe. 'Game Design' would be what you're looking for instead, in my view.

What part of the gameplay exactly? It's multi-tiered and multi-faceted. Framerate affects gameplay. So do animations, and especially individual mechanics and how they're implemented, and finally AI. It's pretty much an all encompassing effort, and will definitely have a result on your overall interpretation of gameplay, and your experience with the game.

My values:

  • Implementation of individual game mechanics
  • Animations
  • AI
  • Framereate
  • Sound design
  • Story and presentation
  • Quality of graphics and art
  • Amount, and / or quality of content

Here's another BIG one that only one other person listed (@SolidTy):

Vibe and experience. It's rather difficult to capture this, yet alone define it. I suppose it's mostly a feeling of when things mesh so incredibly well together that it just 'feels' right for your individual tastes. You can chalk it up to things that provide an emotive response like sound design, atmosphere, presentation, and gratification of accomplishment.


I can't list just one thing. They are called video games surely, and will be initially judged on their game aspect, but it's a medium that is an amalgamation of so many things. To define a game a specific way is difficult for me to do. No other medium can claim the same.

Avatar image for TREAL_Since
#23 Edited by TREAL_Since (11946 posts) -

@sukraj said:


I like!

Avatar image for LegatoSkyheart
#24 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (29732 posts) -

This feels really subjective to me considering I enjoyed games like The Conduit and Soul Calibur Legends on the Wii, even though many people have stated that those games are TERRIBLE and the reviews reflect that decision.

Soul Calibur Legends is not a typical Soul Calibur game and it can get really repetitive and hard to control at times, but I really enjoyed the game. If I gave someone who enjoyed the Soul Calibur series a try at this game they might actually tell me "This game sucks." and I honestly couldn't care, but if I were to look at everything the game is giving me, it's a pretty terrible Soul Calibur game, heck it's actually a pretty awful game in general, but I loved it, one of the greatest on my Wii if I'd like to say.

Conduit has MANY things wrong with it, The Campaign was atrocious and the Multiplayer was down right buggy and awful in design, but dang it I loved every moment of it. I Put in so many hours into that game on my old Wii it was second to Smash Bros on that system and I couldn't have been any happier, but everyone here says it was garbage. I loved it.

So to say what I like in a game, it feels subjective. I hated Uncharted 3, but I thought the Multiplayer was good. Also I hated Halo Combat Evolved, Kinda hypocritical for saying this, but I thought the Level design was kinda lazy and the entire experience was boring. Still It was good game I guess.

So I can't give you a good answer. Presentation? Agency? Graphics?

How about "I just like the game"?

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#25 Edited by PAL360 (29618 posts) -

Replay value for me, and it comes in many different ways: Great story and lore (Mass Effect, The Witcher...), huge worlds to explore (TES, GTA...), fun and addicting gameplay (Trials, Resogun...), powerful creation tools (Minecraft, LBP...), etc

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#26 Posted by Lucianu (10347 posts) -

I don't know, i'm pretty adaptive with any genre, and i'll value certain elements above others depending on said genre.

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#27 Posted by aroxx_ab (13236 posts) -

The best is when you get a game you dont want stop playing and you forget the time.

Avatar image for TREAL_Since
#28 Posted by TREAL_Since (11946 posts) -


Nice. I think in your case it was the feeling those games gave you :).

Avatar image for princessgomez92
#29 Edited by PrincessGomez92 (5747 posts) -


Hey, someone else that enjoyed Soul Calibur Legends. I really need to pick that game up.

Avatar image for 93BlackHawk93
#30 Posted by 93BlackHawk93 (8602 posts) -

@princessgomez92: Everyone is in a video game. ;)

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#31 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (5747 posts) -


I'm not sure what that means exactly, but thanks. :P

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#32 Posted by 93BlackHawk93 (8602 posts) -

@princessgomez92: I don't know either. :P

Breaking Bad sucks.

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#33 Edited by PrincessGomez92 (5747 posts) -


Agreed. Pretty Little Liars is so much better.

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#34 Posted by LustForSoul (6404 posts) -

You can't value one thing. If a game misses one of those things it's not a video game anymore. The whole package is what counts.

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#35 Posted by Pikminmaniac (11376 posts) -

In order for a game to be truly spectacular in my books it needs to have good gameplay mechanics/interactivity and game design. If a game lacks in those two aspects, I just can't enjoy it.

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#36 Edited by shawn30 (4409 posts) -

It kind of depends on the type of game. For RPG - story/presentation, mechanics, graphics, voice acting all play key roles. For action-adventure/FPS, controls, graphics/framerate, fun, story/presentation. A great game is one that you enjoy playing no matter its resolution or what system its on of anything else. It just needs to be fun and then you go from there.

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#37 Posted by happyduds77 (1688 posts) -

Why didn't you make this a multiple choice poll?

Because I think graphics/animations, mechanics/interactivity and lasting appeal are equally important.

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#38 Posted by freedomfreak (51271 posts) -


Avatar image for R4gn4r0k
#39 Posted by R4gn4r0k (31602 posts) -

Gameplay. You can have an amazing game because of its graphics, audio or story, but if the gameplay is too repetitive to be any fun or is just flat out broken, I won't be able to enjoy it.

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#40 Posted by AdobeArtist (25169 posts) -

To me it's about the experience. And that really is a composite of interactivity, game design, visual & audio design, presentation, and agency. When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, is when you as the player becomes truly immersed in the experience.

This is why I don't support those old "gameply >>> graphics" arguments (or vice versa).

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#41 Posted by speedfreak48t5p (13699 posts) -

A good game needs microtransactions, lots of filler, tacked on multiplayer, be very short, and be made for the casual gamer in mind.

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#42 Posted by deactivated-59b71619573a1 (38222 posts) -

I voted mechanics and interactivity because that is essentially what the "game" part of a videogame is.

After that would be design because if there's obvious flaws in level design or the flow of a game and its characters it's pretty obvious and can ruin the game

But overall it just comes down to the overall experience. AC IV is a game that hasn't got the best mechanics or design in a lot of places but it's still one hell of a fun game

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#43 Posted by Gue1 (12171 posts) -

setting and art. If I don't like it then I don't care no matter the story or gameplay.

Avatar image for LordQuorthon
#44 Posted by LordQuorthon (5803 posts) -

Fun. I'm either entertained or bored and that's pretty much all I know.

Avatar image for TREAL_Since
#45 Edited by TREAL_Since (11946 posts) -

@LordQuorthon said:

Fun. I'm either entertained or bored and that's pretty much all I know.

@speedfreak48t5p said:

A good game needs microtransactions, lots of filler, tacked on multiplayer, be very short, and be made for the casual gamer in mind.

Best replies I've read. Kudos!

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#46 Edited by CleanPlayer (9822 posts) -

I really value the atmosphere the most in a videogame. The best videogames I have played made me forgot I was even playing a game like basically you become so immersed in the world, the story, the characters, the music, visuals, and mechanics

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#47 Posted by munkeypoo45 (3221 posts) -

It's probably a tie between story and gameplay. I feel like they go hand in hand anyway. But usually, I measure games based on how fun they are. As long as the games are fun to play, i'll continue to play them.

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#48 Posted by Xaero_Gravity (9847 posts) -

I need a carrot on a stick, something to keeping me hooked and wanting to keep playing. So an interesting story or a loot system tend to be what I value most.

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#49 Posted by jsmoke03 (13697 posts) -

immersion. gameplay mechanics and storyline are tied depending on the genre......tetris doesnt need a storyline and a great story like old jrpgs are lighter on gameplay.

and all that equates to me staying out of jail.the more i play games, the less trouble i cause out there in society

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#50 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

I just want non-interactive cutscenes to die !