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Yeshua666

The Experience Factor

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Yeshua666    100
One factor that seems true amongst most "art" games I've played is that their gameplay isn't always top-notch. Where most of these games like Braid, Ico, and Shadow of the Colossus get their praise from is from the experience of playing them. They indulge more than just your "I want to have fun" sense and include your visual and immersion senses. So, I've come to ask whether or not having a "good experience" can make up for having sub-par gameplay. I mean, Ico is nothing but a kid running around with a stick solving some fairly easy puzzles. It's not the epitome of fun, at least in my eyes. The reason you remember Ico, however, is because of the graphics and experience. You remember the sound and the music, calling out for Yorda; the way the castle made you feel trapped and yet beautiful at the same time...etc, etc, etc. That's the reason you go back and play it, at least that's personally why I'd go back and play it. And many people would rate these games high because of that, but is that really legitimate? Can the experience really make up for mediocre gameplay, or are these artsy games often overpraised? After all, isn't it possible that one day an artsy game may come out that blows the socks off of both experience and gameplay? Another point. Which is better, a game with great atmosphere but mediocre gameplay or a game with great gameplay but mediocre atmosphere? Some might argue that games are about having fun, so of course gameplay is always the most important aspect, making mediocre atmosphere not as bad as mediocre gameplay. That's not my personal opinion, as I find the experience and atmosphere can be just as rewarding as fun gameplay. After all, while you may play games to have fun, you also play games to experience things you may not normally experience in your day to day life, and that can be just as important to some people than others. Although, still and yet, I feel sometimes "artsy games" are overpraised, often used by some elitist gamer to show he's more badass than everyone else. I think sometimes people are much more lenient on an art game than they are on a game that relies on gameplay. Art touches that "sophisticated nerve" we all have, and so it's easy to overjudge a game, calling it the greatest game ever, when in fact there could be an even better game that combines both a great experience and great gameplay. Opinions? Anything to add? Discussion?

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:

Which is better, a game with great atmosphere but mediocre gameplay or a game with great gameplay but mediocre atmosphere?


I haven't played the games you mentioned, but I find this question intriguing.

I'm not a mainstream gamer, so beauty and atmosphere doesn't impress me unless there's a specific type of non-linear freedom. I'll play a decent looking 2d game (like Transcendence) over a beautifully atmospheric 3D game if the feedback loop of action, adventure, rewards and exploration is strong enough.

Having said that, I could probably be suckered into playing an extremely atmospheric game if I could wander about and do my own thing. The key would be that there'd have to be enough interesting stuff to do, and that goes right back to gameplay.

Weirdly enough, I find that when something has enough hype, be it mainstream or artsy as you call it, I'll avoid it entirely. High praise raises my expectations, and experience tells me that I'll be inevitably disappointed.

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Atmosphere can make a mediocre game remarkable. Ico's a good example. Without the "feel" of the game, you're dead right that it'd be a fairly simple puzzler, at or below the level of the hobbyist-type games you'd find in online Flash portals like Newgrounds.

But you don't need rich atmosphere to make a good game. Braid would have been worth playing even if it was made with old Megaman sprites and had no sound at all, because the time mechanics and level design were so robust and novel that they stand on their own.

The prestige and elitism that some games receive is going to be a problem anywhere people have conversations. Art, music, sports, literature, even scientific and academic circles have a section of the population who latch onto random shit and pimp it as being the best thing nobody else likes, so that they'll look like they've got some sixth sense for spotting genius, and everyone else is an ear-biting retard.

I don't think there's a "golden formula" for how much of the game has to be substance and how much has to be aesthetics. Ico was a fun game despite being largely window-dressing, Braid's otherworldly gameplay, music and visuals combined into a formula that has intense appeal, and the stale, uninspired gameplay of Doom 3 couldn't be rescued by fancy lighting effects and cutting-edge graphics.

I can't think of an example of a game with exceptional gameplay that was ruined by a lack of atmosphere, though. Based on that, I'd say gameplay's more important.

But why could style save Ico, and not Doom 3?

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juuso    289
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
But why could style save Ico, and not Doom 3?

In my opinion, insufficient lights are not a shortcut to style and atmosphere.

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AlexCrafter    122
Experience makes all the difference. Great atmosphere gets the player guessing what they get to see next and the player is interested by their surroundings. each progression becomes a treat. But all the atmosphere can go to waste without a good story line. I'd say that atmosphere and plot are more important than gameplay.

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