Why is it that some games instantly become beloved classics, whereas others are immediately consigned to the wasteland of forgotten titles? It has a lot to do with sticking to a winning formula. Although the gaming sector is still young in comparison to Hollywood or the music industry, it is developing at the speed of light and seems to be overtaking everything else in its path. This is partly down to development companies knowing what makes gamers tick. They don’t always get it exactly right, but there are several essential components to a successful game which are arguably more straightforward than those needed for a movie, TV show or piece of music.
A game with strong graphics, satisfying gameplay, and upbeat catchy music is the key to success, and bonus features such as free spins, minigames or even NFTs simply add to its appeal. Whether it’s a sweet take on a perennial favourite or a boundary-pushing new concept, it’s important to nail the core elements. Established online gaming platforms like PokerStars Casino have the advantage of both experience and innovation, meaning they can offer users a positive experience across many different categories and titles. Alternatively, a long-running console-focused franchise like Animal Crossing works with variations on a theme, introducing new tech and software updates with each instalment yet keeping the core appeal the same.
So, what exactly makes a successful game?
If you think about it, the background music and sounds within a gaming landscape are what make it so immersive. Without them, players are not able to fully submerge themselves into the virtual world. Award-winning game soundtracks like Koji Kondo’s work for The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros have become as important as what you see on the screen. Likewise, the sounds and auditory alerts peppered throughout become an essential part of the gameplay, signifying danger and opportunity to players.
When a game is too complex or fiddly, then it is very hard to enjoy playing it. Successful titles tend to have the perfect balance between easy-access controls and challenging content. Most gamers want a steady learning curve, meaning that, as they get to grips with the game, the difficulty level slowly increases. Platformers like Super Mario nail this by slowly introducing more complex elements whilst keeping the basic controls the same throughout.
Visuals & Graphics
Whether it’s a sweeping epic like Final Fantasy or a cute cosy world like Animal Crossing, the visuals and graphics in a game need to be spot on. The visual element of a game is often what people notice first, so it needs to entice gamers without being too busy and dense. The beautiful graphics of Skyrim look very different to the simple pixelated ones of Minecraft, yet both art styles work well for the respective genres they belong to.
Not every game needs a storyline, but those which are story-driven need a compelling, intriguing and satisfying narrative in order to keep players interested. A well-written game is one which slowly unfolds as the player progresses, revealing new characters, mechanisms and plot points one by one rather than overloading its audience right at the beginning with too much information.
Speaking of characters, their design can make or break a gaming title. Not all games actually have characters, but those which do underestimate them at their own peril. When Tomb Raider first burst onto the scene back in the 90s, it was Lara Croft’s character design which made people take notice before they knew anything else about the title. Even in games where you build your own character, it’s important that NPCs add vibrancy to the gameplay rather than remaining two-dimensional and pointless.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the replay value of games. Modern titles tend to include extra aspects outside of the main narrative like exploration modes, mini games, side quests, expansion packs, sequels and online play to flesh out the core of the game and encourage gamers to return for more once they ‘beat the game’.