February 25, 2004

Warning: Game Talk Below

(This post was inspired by this Penny Arcade news article.)

Video games. To some, these little collections of data are the most boring and pointless way to waste time that man has ever invented. These people often pity those who play video games because they waste so much time watching flashes of light on a television screen. To others, these same collections of data have become almost idol-like. These people are willing to sacrifice time, grades, money, and any form of social life just to earn the next level or get the next rare item.

Where do I fit within the above spectrum? I'm not entirely sure. I sometimes use games as a way to kill time. However, I have also been known to be completely obsessed with one game--gladly sacrificing other activities in order to complete the game. I am sure that over the course of my life I have spent several hundred hours locked in a fierce battle, solving either ridiculously complex or stupefyingly simple puzzle, and running from or shooting at zombies. I believe that, as far as the "gaming" world goes, I am probably around average.

One thing that I've learned is that I need games to have a plot. Any plot, even "the Princess was kidnapped by a giant turtle thing go and save her," is better than nothing. I prefer a game to have a complex plot. Thanks to my reading background, I am unable to consider any game "good" unless I am satisfied with the story that goes along with it. This is why I usually don't enjoy fighting and racing games, but it is also why I have come to love role-playing games.

To me, playing a "good" game is like reading a book or watching a movie. The game must be plot-intensive and it must have a decent plot. This becomes very important if the gameplay time exceeds twenty hours. It must involve characters that are developed throughout the story. If I reach the end and I do not care about any of the characters, the game has failed.

Anyway, the point of this is to say that I consider the plot of a game to be one of the most important factors in determining how I rate any game. Yes, other things are involved in my rating system. Graphics, replay value, battle systems, overall difficulty, and other things (not in that order) also affect my final judgement on a game. This might make my opinions of certain games a bit skewed, but that is just how I think.

Posted by Randy at February 25, 2004 03:26 PM | TrackBack