What makes an incredible gaming experience? Not all dedicated gamers can single out one episode of gameplay that they rank, unequivocally, as their best. Those who can cite a variety of factors, from the stunning spectacle of the game itself to their own performance within it, as the reasons that a particular experience is so memorable. However, whether they have a single best experience in mind or not, they can all agree that some gaming experiences are better than others. So, what exactly are the best experiences a player can have, and what is it that makes them so good?
Researchers in the area of Human Factors and Ergonomics (the study of interaction between people and objects or systems) recently developed a video game assessment tool that they call GUESS -Game User Experience Satisfaction Scale. This takes the form of a survey to help games developers get useful feedback via playtesting and evaluation. Overall, 55 questions are asked across nine categories, which include playability, narrative, audio and visual aesthetics, social connectivity and personal gratifications. The aim is to objectively assess what makes a “good” game in terms of consumer satisfaction. This is useful as far as it goes, but there are fears that its use could discourage innovation and instead lead developers to boil game design down to following a winning formula. Also, GUESS doesn’t necessarily get people closer to bottling the magic of those ultimate gaming moments.
The platform that you play a game on certainly makes a difference in regard to the experience. The console vs. PC argument rages on, but presently, it does seem as though a top-of-the-range PC has the edge over the latest PlayStation or Xbox in terms of sheer power and flexibility. A PC that is optimized for gameplay with a decent 4k graphics card is probably the best platform for those seeking the ultimate gaming experience.
Virtual reality continually promises the most incredible and immersive gaming experience, but the fact is that it’s not quite there yet. What is available in terms of VR is still pretty impressive, however. A game such as Alien: Isolation played on a PC using Oculus Rift can be utterly real and terrifying. Give it just a few more years, and the combination of VR with state-of-the-art gameplay is going to give spectacular results.
Everyone loves a winner
It’s a truism to say that games are not about the winning but the taking part. Some games are more about the world that you’re adventuring through, but certainly a spectacular win is going to make for a very memorable gaming experience. Many gamers cite facing the most difficult challenges that engage all of their skills and senses and then winning out against the odds as their best gaming experiences. This can be even more rewarding when playing for real money at live casinos online.
Sometimes, however, the sheer spectacle of a game can be so breathtaking that it sears itself into your memory forever. The combination of incredible detailed visuals, often showing fantastic alien worlds and lifeforms, with sound effects and music can be utterly transporting. Within games such as World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls, there can be moments of genuine beauty that are as important to the experience as gameplay or point scoring. The level of imagination and detail that goes into world building can make one’s first experience of these games truly unforgettable.
Other best gaming experiences are more personal. These are the long, all-night sessions with games that are intensely addictive, or the moments when your luck held – you hit a winning streak and seemingly couldn’t put a foot wrong. Obviously, there are steps that game developers can take to make moments such these more likely. In many respects, it’s about getting the right balance between making a game fiendishly difficult but not impossible. A great game should definitely feel like a challenge, but it’s being able to meet and overcome that challenge that keeps you playing.
As games come closer to films in terms of production values, a great gaming experience will undoubtedly involve the same combination of sensory overload and emotional engagement that you get from the best movies. At the same time, a game is about playing and winning, and the sense of overcoming challenges is very important when it comes to player satisfaction. There’s one other factor that so often contributes to a great gaming experience, however, and that’s playing with friends. It’s the moments that you share with good friends that really stay with you, and that’s something that you bring to the game, not the other way around.