Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to Spot a Game That You Should Not Play

Now that I'm back in high spirits again. Let's continue our journey through my rambling and potentially misleading opinions that are (personally) still a lot better than the recent news media activities. Today I want to talk about video games, but not in why would people play one. Most importantly, why people wouldn't want to instead. A lot of game makers got too focused on the things that they should be doing for the game, but forgetting about the things that they should avoid in the process.

Let's start with the basics, shall we. First, let's discuss the simple question: what is a "video game"? I'm going to go ahead and politely steal from wikipedia because I don't have the talent on describing things: A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device, but it now implies any type of display device that can produce two- or three-dimensional images.

So why would people play video games? If you're honestly asking that question because you actually don't know the answer, then I'll asume you got hit in the head so bad that you lost half of your common sense. It is obviously to have fun, why else would you waste your precious time staring at a screen pressing buttons and not getting any notable reward for it?

Seriously, why?

Aside from just having fun, there are also those who play video games for other fulfillments within their anxious souls. Some prefer multiplayer games that allows them to have virtual fun with friends that most likely they'll never meet in real life. Others do it to satisfy their urge of competition, the joy of overpowering another in a duel, or just some mere achievement comparing.

There are also people who do it for career, despite everything your parents keep saying about there's no way anyone could make money by playing games; making videos of their gaming experience for other people to enjoy, or going professional and join a competitive team. And then there are those who use it as an escape from their daily lives and the problems looming within.

Others do it to deal with their loneliness, but let's not judge anyone, okay?

One might think that with all these things people can achieve by playing video games, anything would be fine as long as people can play it. And that's where some developers got it wrong and starts to just focusing on the profits they would be getting.

Like I've mentioned before, people play video games to have fun, regardless of what other objectives that they have in mind. That's the core of everything that makes a video game a 'video game'. Who cares about anything else when you can play it and come back smiling everytime, like you just looked at your first boobies. But nowadays, some devs just skipped this very important part faster than us clicking "I agree to the terms and conditions" in EULAs, and deleted the 'Fun' part of the game in place of things like 'more features' and 'realistic atmospheres', which in turn makes the game no longer worth playing anymore.

Imagine the horrors they would unleash if they bought iTunes

The first violator is the kind of games that are simply way too hard. They're either near impossible to beat, or the game simply hates you by throwing ridiculous puzzles at you. And sometimes the reason is that the controls are so screwed up that you can't make a progress without losing several hairs out of frustration. But still, the reason why I mention this one first is because despite of the stress build--up the players would experience, it's highly entertaining for others to see them failing and getting angry, the taste of successfully clearing a stage would also be ten times more satisfying. And if the player is a chronic masochist, then everything is okay. So it's still an acceptable flaw.

The second one would be glitchy games, the ones with shenanigans that makes you feel like the game was rushed to the market and there are bits here and there that looks unfinished. Sometimes the glitches are harmless or simply hilarious to watch, or downright creepy as fuck. But other times they're just downright unforgivable; like when the NPC you're supposed to talk to about a quest got glitched out of their original position and ended up being buried under a tree or something.

Or your own character decided to dive into the void themselves

The case only gets worse in multiplayer games, because sometimes the glitches are game-breaking elements. And there are people would do pretty much anything to win, even if it means to get into places where no one else could reach them. Sure it's all fun and games when it happens in single player, but it would be taking the fun out from everyone else in multiplayer.

Speaking of multiplayer, let's go on the third and final violator; the Pay to Win games (aka P2W). This violation usually comes from Free to Play MMOs, which means that you're free to play the game but there will be stuffs that you can buy via in-game purchases. So it would be like getting free vanilla ice cream, but you need to pay for the extra toppings.

Which, when served in the proper way, shouldn't be a problem at all

But some devs abused this system to the point that it made the game nearly unplayable for the free players. They would make the normal rewards ridiculously low, while giving out promotions in the form of in-game items or currency for each purchase of their cash items. Or making the item enhancements near impossible without their item protection special items, and even with that the chance of success is still very low.

There are also those who take it even further. Some games provide equipment upgrades that could be bought by spending points earned in-game, however the points earned for each playthrough is miniscule compared to the price of the upgrade itself. Yet the game also give out an option to just buy the upgrade by using real money, making you significantly more powerful than your opponents without any notable efforts.

"It would take me a year to get that gun if I play this game casually... okay, where's my credit card?"

Sure, games like Diablo 3 had their now-closed-down virtual RM (real money) market, but the game is still a PvE (Player vs Environment) based, so the ones that would feel cheated are only the demons from hell, and the guys who actually spends their real money to buy more decent gears for their game character doesn't have a lot of friends anyway. However, it's a whole different case when this happens in a PvP (Player vs Player) based game; it would completely ruin the game for the free players.

Once the game reached these conditions, then there's just no point in playing it any further. Any efforts you should be making to gain some progress can be skipped just by throwing money into it, And those who are actually suffering the hardship of grinding and item gathering would completely lose their will to keep playing after seeing those rich players walking around smugly with items purchased with real money; getting into raid parties that they could never attend because they couldn't afford to craft that legendary set equipments, or being annihilated by superior firepower that comes from real cash.

'xPaladinStronKx' is just there to be made fun of because his hands are not glowing

So here's my message to game developers out there: Keep your games fun to play. Balance out the difficulty, fix any bug and glitch you could find, make the players feel rewarded from playing your games. And if you really have to put cash item services, please keep it within accessories, fashion, or other items that wouldn't disturb the balance of the game at all. 

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