What do you value the most in a video game?

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deactivated-5d6bb9cb2ee20

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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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PannicAtack

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#1  Edited By PannicAtack
Member since 2006 • 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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treedoor

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#2 treedoor
Member since 2004 • 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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darkspineslayer

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#3 darkspineslayer
Member since 2007 • 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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Zoso813

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#4 Zoso813
Member since 2013 • 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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SolidTy

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#5  Edited By SolidTy
Member since 2005 • 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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mems_1224

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#6 mems_1224
Member since 2004 • 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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whiskeystrike

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#7 whiskeystrike
Member since 2011 • 12188 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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Merex760

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#8  Edited By Merex760
Member since 2008 • 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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jg4xchamp

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#9 jg4xchamp
Member since 2006 • 61808 Posts

Gameplay

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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TF626

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#10  Edited By TF626
Member since 2010 • 592 Posts

I value story and presentation.

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Sweenix

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#11 Sweenix
Member since 2013 • 5957 Posts

Romance

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Netret0120

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#12 Netret0120
Member since 2013 • 3562 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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GreySeal9

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#13  Edited By GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

@jg4xchamp said:

Gameplay

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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Basinboy

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#14 Basinboy
Member since 2003 • 13938 Posts

Immersion

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withe1982

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#15 withe1982
Member since 2005 • 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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BattleSpectre

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#16 BattleSpectre
Member since 2009 • 7989 Posts

Gettin' laid..

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Whiteblade999

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#17  Edited By Whiteblade999
Member since 2007 • 5847 Posts

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

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PrincessGomez92

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#18 PrincessGomez92
Member since 2013 • 5747 Posts

Gameplay. And after that, content.

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93BlackHawk93

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#19 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8605 Posts

I value PrincessGomez92 the most. :3

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PrincessGomez92

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#20 PrincessGomez92
Member since 2013 • 5747 Posts

@93BlackHawk93:

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

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sukraj

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#21  Edited By sukraj
Member since 2008 • 27859 Posts

everything

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TREAL_Since

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#22  Edited By TREAL_Since
Member since 2005 • 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.

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TREAL_Since

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#23  Edited By TREAL_Since
Member since 2005 • 11946 Posts

@sukraj said:

everything

I like!

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LegatoSkyheart

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#24 LegatoSkyheart
Member since 2009 • 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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PAL360

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#25  Edited By PAL360
Member since 2007 • 29640 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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Lucianu

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#26 Lucianu
Member since 2007 • 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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aroxx_ab

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#27 aroxx_ab
Member since 2005 • 13236 Posts

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

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#28 TREAL_Since
Member since 2005 • 11946 Posts

@LegatoSkyheart:

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

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PrincessGomez92

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#29  Edited By PrincessGomez92
Member since 2013 • 5747 Posts

@LegatoSkyheart:

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

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93BlackHawk93

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#30 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8605 Posts

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

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#31 PrincessGomez92
Member since 2013 • 5747 Posts

@93BlackHawk93:

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

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93BlackHawk93

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#32 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8605 Posts

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

Breaking Bad sucks.

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#33  Edited By PrincessGomez92
Member since 2013 • 5747 Posts

@93BlackHawk93:

Agreed. Pretty Little Liars is so much better.

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#34 LustForSoul
Member since 2011 • 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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Pikminmaniac

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#35 Pikminmaniac
Member since 2006 • 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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shawn30

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#36  Edited By shawn30
Member since 2006 • 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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happyduds77

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#37 happyduds77
Member since 2012 • 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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freedomfreak

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#38 freedomfreak
Member since 2004 • 51315 Posts

Graphics.

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R4gn4r0k

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#39 R4gn4r0k
Member since 2004 • 31721 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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AdobeArtist

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#40 AdobeArtist  Moderator
Member since 2006 • 25171 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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speedfreak48t5p

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#41 speedfreak48t5p
Member since 2009 • 13713 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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deactivated-59b71619573a1

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#42 deactivated-59b71619573a1
Member since 2007 • 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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Gue1

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#43 Gue1
Member since 2004 • 12171 Posts

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

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LordQuorthon

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#44 LordQuorthon
Member since 2008 • 5803 Posts

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

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TREAL_Since

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#45  Edited By TREAL_Since
Member since 2005 • 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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CleanPlayer

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#46  Edited By CleanPlayer
Member since 2008 • 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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munkeypoo45

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#47 munkeypoo45
Member since 2008 • 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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Xaero_Gravity

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#48 Xaero_Gravity
Member since 2011 • 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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jsmoke03

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#49 jsmoke03
Member since 2004 • 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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Lulu_Lulu

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#50 Lulu_Lulu
Member since 2013 • 19564 Posts

I just want non-interactive cutscenes to die !