Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Element of Gameplay

Ok, so this seems pretty similar to one of previous posts but I guess this gives me an opportunity to understand the true definition of gameplay. Its meaning still seems to be shrouded in obscurity. I still see it as the general experience of a game you play. The aspect of gameplay is important because it allows you to decide whether you enjoyed the game.

When I judge a game, I look at the storyline, the characters and the visuals, not necessarily meaning graphics but the concepts and ideas. I like to know that what I’m playing is new and unlike anything I’ve played before. That is why some of my all time favourites are RPG’s, especially the brilliant Final Fantasy series. But that’s just me and every gamer will have a different perception. I don’t think the word gameplay has a set meaning. The gamer makes their own meaning and judges a game on their own laws of gameplay.

The element of gameplay isn’t something you can choose to put into a game. It’s manufactured with the game, no matter what kind of game it is. The only thing that can be formulated in gameplay is which characteristics are stronger than others.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Importance of Character

Characters are an essential ingredient to the plot of any novel, film, TV programme or game, whether they are real or fictional. I find that I can’t really connect with a character in a film or a TV show because I’m always aware that they are just actors, although that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t enjoy what I’m watching.

When it comes to novels however, when I get into it, I can become emotionally attached to the characters. They aren’t being played. They are the imagination or the memories of the writer. The personalities could in fact be real and it is this aspect which draws me in. Excellent characters and a powerful plot are what make a winning novel in my eyes.

Ok, so now I think about it there are maybe a couple of TV shows which I like because of the characters. One of them is “Heroes”. It has a fantastic script, brilliant actors and a great plot. Presumably, these are the core effects that a film or programme depend on to make it a success.

The kind of stories I love the most are fictional. For instance, I love “His Dark Materials” by Phillip Pullman. A childish choice maybe, but it offers everything I look for in a story.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

The Technology

Its noticeable how gaming technology has changed over the past couple of decades. I still remember the simplicity of interacting with a console like the Gameboy or the original Playstation. It was clear that technology was truly advancing with the release of the PS2 and Gamecube. Despite this evolution, the consoles were still very simple to use. Next came the huge leap to the more current Xbox 360 and the PS3. Now, I don’t think that gaming is very simple anymore. I find the “next-gen” consoles very complex. I still don’t know the full capabilities of my own PS3.

In appearance, I believe that games consoles have really improved. I love the sleek, cool design of the PS3 and I also like the PSP for its external design. The design for the 360 is ok too. It’s how I would imagine the stereotypical concept of a console to look if you see what I mean.

Some say that the game control pad and the joystick are a dying trend although I really hope that this isn’t the case. I see these elements of gaming to be important to the identity of the platform and the games you play. After all, the original design for the PS3 game pad was ridiculed for being rather unconventional in appearance. However, the design was specifically designed for conventionality. So this said, appearance is important even when it comes to games consoles.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Once upon a time...

There are a number of assets that can make a game strong. One of these is the story the game tells. It is particularly important for me that the games I play have a meaning. I love it when you can become involved in the characters lives and feelings. This is why my favourite games are the likes of Final Fantasy and Disgaea. It works the same way when you read a novel. I can’t enjoy the experience if I don’t have any emotional attachment. In that sense I suppose the story happens to me.

Not every game however has a set story which you are simply led through from start to finish. The story in Second Life is whatever you make it. The clue is pretty much in the title. You create your character and wander around this virtual world. That’s all I really know about it. I’m guessing that WoW has the same principal but I can’t honestly say for sure. I can’t honestly say that I’ve played on Call of Duty either but I do know that it has grown massively over the years from a single player war game to one of the most popular online action games in the world.

I guess this means that computer games are becoming more versatile in content and character. They rely less on a set story and allows the player more freedom of choice to create a story of their own.