A sure way to fail in designing a game is to neglect to see what big titles managed to do in the past and copy some of the mechanics involved. But what is it that makes a good game? If you ask people who are into sports (especially those in Poland who love sports and read all about it on bilgoraj.com.pl in order to be better at playing football games) it’s good graphics and quality control of movement.
While not, strictly speaking, more important than other pillars on which games rest, controls can make or break the player’s interest in the game. Good games have responsive controls, regardless of the genre. You say “Jump!” and the character doesn’t ask “How high?”
World and Story
Where does the story take place? What is the world like? Is it a wondrous place, or generic phoning-it-in worldbuilding? Take some of the legendary titles and compare their worlds. Legend of Zelda, Mass Effect, Starcraft, GTA – all of these have rich lore attached to them. However, you should avoid info-dumping.
While visual novels, idle RPGs, and grinding, in general, have a cult following, the gameplay of a good game draws the player in, making them fully immersed in the world and in complete control of their character’s fate. The way characters react to different things, how challenging it is to take on new situations, and the relationship between skill and reward is what makes a game worth playing or not. Oh, and an awkward camera can ruin everything.
Any gamer worth their mettle will choose good gameplay and story over visuals anytime. That being said, there is something appealing in characters, creatures, and backgrounds. Ico series, Journey, Alto’s Odyssey, and others know how to combine great visuals with an already engaging story and gameplay. Again, a game cannot survive for long on great visuals alone. It doesn’t matter how amazing everything looks if the rest of the game leaves a lot to be desired.
Mario, Sonic, Link, Snake, Samus, Mega-man… The characters need to be memorable. Sometimes it is just a matter of clever design and/or making full use of the pixels you have to work with. Other times it is their relationship with others, their own motives, flaws, strife, and confidence. In other words, real game characters have personality.
Music and Audio
Last, but far from least, is the music score throughout the game. Are there any gamers who don’t recognize the victory theme of Final Fantasy, or the score played when Mario picks up the star powerup?
Music makes the world of the game more immersive. The scores and noises amplify the dramatic scenes, making you inspired, pumped, sad, scared, confused, and angry. Like graphics and visuals, music is the spice of a game and, therefore, can’t carry the weight of the entire game, at least not alone. That said, it is still one of the biggest factors in making a title memorable.