* Realistic graphics.
* Brilliant gameplay.
* Brilliant atmosphere.
If the graphics are extrelely realistic then there is a much greater chance of the player becoming immersed in the game. For example in Half-Life, the graphics engine itself whilst not breathtaking, is very fluid and contains a lot of locations that are very bleivable in the given context.
If the gameplay is very good, a player can sit and play for hours without even realising what he/she is doing. Take Tetris or the older games such as Pac Man and Galaxian.
Brilliant atmosphere can make a game become more important than the players real life if there is enough of it. I remember when I first played UFO:Enemy Unknown. My body stopped responding to external stimulai
Its the same think with Half-Life and Civilization. The game makes you care so much or has such a brilliant storyline that it dosn''t need good graphics anymore.
So far in the history of computer games, most games have relied on just one of the above points to make the game successful. It either had good graphics and no gameplay or rubbish graphics and great atmosphere or whatever.
In recent years, games have just started to cross the boundary and now two of the above elements are being met. Games such as Half Life have got great graphics and stmosphere. However, in my opinion, no game has ever managed to fulfill all three elements. Half Life for example, had basic gameplay once you take away all of the other layers. It was just a Quake clone with great atmosphere and graphics.
I that the way we should be heading is to fulfill all three of the above elements in one game
/me hands everyone two cents
OK - I see the point of the original post however I find the most important single point about a game is that it immerses you in its gameplay. This can be done in three main ways: