Games people play

Written by Sharad Raghavan | Updated: Jan 8 2012, 09:18am hrs
The video game industry, thanks to new, powerful consoles like the Playstation 3 and the X Box 360, is booming. Several reports have stated that the industry is to reach between $50-70 billion dollars by 2015. This surge in the gaming industry is in part because of the graphics the hardware now allows, but mostly because game developers are putting a lot of time, money and effort into making a game playable over and over again. And in that, they are succeeding. You just have to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 once to know that youre going to come back to it constantly. But, there are several things that game developers are doing that annoy gamers. Some can change, while others are not likely to.

Too much online play

The real fun in gaming is to do it with friends, in a big group at one of your pals houses. Its just not the same pulling off a spectacular combo or headshot and having nobody around to see it. Thats why most games flaunting the multiplayer tag are so popular. But, as most gamers soon find out, multiplayer doesnt mean two or more friends playing on the same console in the same house, but a faceless stranger on the other end of a network connection and a headsetand he could be anywhere in the world at all. This holds true for games like Grand Theft Auto IV as it does for racing games like Burnout Paradise. What is the point of a racing game if only one person per console can play it But this isnt likely to change in the future. The present system ensures that for each person playing, there is one game sold, as opposed to five friends all playing one game. Cooperative games are bad for business, so what if thats what gamers want

too repetitive

The worst thing that can kill a game is repetition, which leads to boredom. Many great games have suffered because gamers just get bored with them halfway through. Take the Lego Star Wars game, for example. Yes, it was made for kids, but the gameplay and 3D map are such that it could have been made into a very engaging game for adults, as well; especially if they are Star Wars fans. But no, the gameplay is so repetitiverun around slashing your lightsaber/firing your blaster until everything around is deadthat even an ardent Star Wars fan gets bored after the first few levels. Another pitfall games fall into is where to place their save points. All too regularly you find yourself approaching a battle with a boss only to find that there isnt a save point anywhere close. So, when you die in the gamewhich you probably will, more than onceyou get reset far back in the game, leaving you to do the same portions over and over again until you finally kill that boss. A conveniently placed save point would save so much trouble.

unnecessarily long

Everybody likes getting their moneys worth, and so if youre paying between R1,500-3,500 for a PS3 game, you want it to be worth it. But what game developers need to understand is that worth it doesnt necessarily mean long. Of course, this is not to say that gamers wouldnt love a game that kept them playing endlessly, but that doesnt mean you can pass off riding a horse all the way across the massive open world terrain youve created as being a critical part of the game. This holds true for several games, like Red Dead Redemption and the Assassins Creed seriesboth need you to ride horses between cities, and they make the distances very realistic, all the while passing it off as increased gameplay. Nobody minds a short game, especially if its engaging throughout like, say, Portal .

move beyond graphics

In movies, no matter how good the special effects, if the story fails, then its likely that the movie will fail as well. The same holds true for video games too. Consoles like the PS3 and X Box are hugely powerful, able to run games in high definition, with up to 50 independent, moving characters on the same screen. But its a telling fact that, in terms of sales, the Nintendo Wiia vastly less powerful systembeats both the PS3 and X Box hands down. And why is that Because Wii games, while low on graphics, are very high on playability. After a point, gamers dont really care that that bullet they just fired or monster they killed in the game took six months to render on screen; a lot of times, they just want a good story told well. And thats where we come to the final shortcoming (in this short list) many games have.

Inadequate stories

The truth about gamers is that theyre all kids at heart. Not kids in the sense that they are immature and childish to still be playing video games, but kids in the sense that they really love their heroes, and genuinely feel sympathetic towards them; who cares if hes a made up character based in an alien world And thats why games like Final Fantasy X fail. The storyline and dialogues are clichd and half-hearted, leaving the gamer feeling incomplete even after he finishes the game. On the other hand, you have Portal, which was a lot shorter than Final Fantasy, and cheaper to make, but has so many fans just because the developers put some thought into hiring quality script and dialogue writers.