What are your gamer numbers?
I was going to make a negative and/or sarcastic reply to Cake-Pie’s Post here, but a counter-article seems more constructive. Game companies shouldn’t waste time trying to cater to gamer types and just focus on making a good game instead. Like Cake-Pie said: “They own a lot of the same games the rest of us buy.” When a game is being made, you have three pint glasses: the first is for graphics, the second gameplay, and the third is depth. And game developers only use 22-30 ounces of beer to fill them up. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Moving on to the Bars of Destiny! To keep things simple let’s think of gamers as two slider bars, each with a scale from 1 to 10. To do this, we identify the two things that are most important to all gamers and games in general. If we do this right, we can use this scale to review games, as well as the people playing them. Ever wonder what kind of gamer those reviewers are before reading their review? It matters.
Let’s get down to business.
Slider 1: Personal immersion and investment level: This slider indicates how much of yourself you put into gaming. Are you playing the game, or is the game playing you? You’ll find things like controller throwing, swearing, adrenaline rushes, peerless concentration, and high blood pressure the higher you go in this scale.
People with Tens in this category will become the game. Quickly breaking the game down to what needs to be done, and then how best to do it. You will WANT to destroy anything in your way; and if you mess up, die, fall down that pit, or hit the wrong button, say goodbye to a tiny peace of your soul. You will have your own style to playing and assimilating with games, and your personality will be evident in your gameplay.
Games with no immersion qualities by virtue of design will only hold a Ten’s attention if there’s something to figure out or accomplish. Without that, the game must rely on difficulty to get you “immersed by retrying.” This forces you to figure out why the game is so hard, causing you to really focus on being–and beating the game–down to its coding if you have to, because you are determined to win. Ghosts and Goblins has no story keeping you going, just infinite lances and infinite continues. If you’ve played it, you understand the retry immersion from level 3.5. In order to see level 4, the game and your soul must be one, or you’ll just give up or get bored. This kind of investment means you spend lots of time really thinking about the game when you’re not playing it. Tearing your attention away from a game you’re attached to takes a lot of will. If you’re a Ten, you’re probably trying to figure something out in a game right now.
Now, let’s look at how Ones define this category. Games are flashy pictures on your TV. You can pick one up, enjoy it, and turn it off without a second thought. You might even enjoy the story more than someone who is a Ten. You’re watching the cut-scene for its cinematic value. Plus, it acts as a nice break from having to push buttons on the controller and move around in-game. Or it’s just a good time to put down the controller and pick up a beer.
Ones like a nice pace and difficulty curve that allows you to just pick up the game and play it. You’re turned off by games with somewhat complicated controls or reactionary moves that take memorizing. In your type of game, either you figure it out, or you can sit around and grind until it’s not so hard anymore. Because you’re playing the game to relax, it doesn’t bother you if you’re mindlessly killing the same monster for an hour. By the time you come back to the game, you can still have that hour’s fun again anyway. You aren’t going to be living and breathing the game, nor would you want to.
If you wanted to use The Bars of Destiny as a reviewing scale, you just have to figure out how much the game can take hold of you. Does it suck you in, or does it just suck. Some characteristics to consider as you’re thinking of what’s important to this scale are:
- Sound Dynamics: Whether it’s sweet Mega Man-like techno music, or important positional audio like SOCOM, sound is a major key to immersion.
- Total Epicness: Do you like huge boss monsters, seemingly unstoppable forces, or throwing cars at things? Me too! There’s nothing like getting into a game because of its total epicness.
- Direct Involvement: Gold story, green story, who gives a shit? Is your character there just to complete the game, or do you want to use your character to complete the game? Think Devil May Cry 3 cut-scenes, nobody knows what the story is, but you just saw some dude throw a sword off a building then run down the side to catch up to it, meanwhile shooting a shit load of things, and that dude is YOU… sign me up!
Slider 2: Gaming depth, detail and demands: To be continued….