With so many games focusing intently on the over-arching story or mechanics, it’s easy to overlook the little things. The small touches that help make a good experience better. While you can find examples of this in just about any game if you look for them, here are some of my favorites (in no particular order), that truly helped to enjoy a game to its fullest.


#1 Darksiders’ combat flourishes

Darksiders doesn't boast a terribly deep combat system, but it’s incredibly enjoyable thanks in no small part to the little touches. For example, as War increases the strength of his attach, they’ll often be accompanied by stylish light flashes and the enemies will start leaking more blood or slime of whatever’s in them. Darksiders 2 did it one better by letting you see how much damage you were doing, and if you built your weapon right, you could get your enemies to spray health a wrath like confetti. And sometimes the monsters even explode, and that’s always satisfying.


#2 Tearaway’s paper water

I could easily choke this list with all the wonder little things that make Tearaway so great, but if I had to pick one that always put a smile on my face, it would have to be running through paper lakes and seeing little paper ripples form as I did. That’s right, paper water, try and wrap your head around that.


 #3 Getting lost in Skyrim

Skyrim can be a life-domintaing game when you’re left to your own devices. And while having a set destination in mind is nice, getting sidetracked and going 50 mile in the wrong direction is so much more fun. When a game can get you so lost in all it’s side stuff, that’s when you know you’re having a good time.


 #4 Nut-punching aliens in Saints Row 4

You get to nut-punch aliens in Saint Row 4. Nuff’ said.


#5 watching any Vanillaware game in motion

Vanillaware put such an incredible amount of work into making their game stunning to look at that still frames just don’t do them justice. Watching the backdrops scroll by as you chosen character runs across the screen with an ethereal grace is a truly engrossing experience, one that puts game like Odin Sphere, Muramasa and Dragon’s Crown in a league all their own.

#6 sitting on benches in Pokemon X/Y

Admit it; you’ve wanted to do this since Gen 1 haven’t you?


#7 Dark Souls item descriptions

Dark Souls wasn’t a game overburdened with story, but the lore surrounding it was absolutely fascinating. And the item descriptions were the closest you ever got to form a cohesive narrative out of your surroundings and enemies. Never has a game made me look so intently at item descriptions before.



#8 monster names in Dragon Quest

You gotta love Dragon Quest for its creativity. It has all its slimes and skeletons sure, but when you encounter monster like Dingaling, Man-o-War, Crabber-Dabber-Do, Slugly Betsy (seriously), they give the games a level of personality that no other RPG can match. They’re funny-lookin too.




#9 sand surfing in Journey

In the grand Scheme of Journey, the sand-surfing stage probably had the least to do with anything, but it was by far the most memorable part of the game. The whole stage plays like a dream with the sand shifting and swaying as you slide across with the music swell and fall with your movements. And it all amounts to perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in a game; gliding across a sea of glittering gold. It wasn’t until I played this stage in particular that I knew this was the best game of 2012.


 #10 the Honeybee Inn in Final Fantasy 7

I don’t think words can accurately describe how bizarre this whole scenario is. You go to the hotel as part of a mission to dress Cloud as a women, and from there one of any number of bizarre things will happen.  You can see Cloud having an existential moment that culminates with him sharing a bath with a bunch burly gay guys (allegedly), you can have some of the employees put make-up on his face for good measure, or you can peek in on the %$#% room to see some of the creepiest role-playing ever (Took me years to understand that the megalomaniacal king was just having sex). The whole situation feels like it belongs in a different game, it’s bizarre, bewildering and absolutely wonderful. It was after this part of the game that I knew I had to see this through to the end.



So next time you play you Last of Us or your GTA, take a moment to appreciate all the little details that went into making the complete experience, because sometimes they deserve a bit of validation.