31/31 Day VI: Satisfy - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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31/31 Day VI: Satisfy

Satisfaction is something we all strive for. To make others satisfied, or to be satisfied, in everything from our taste buds to our academic success. This isn't different with video games-constantly, we are playing games to satisfy ourselves with an experience worth undertaking, from erasing demons to passing someone who was just hit by a blue spiny shell. 

So really, with video games, satisfaction can also be attributed to "fun"-we seek some form of enjoyment or pleasure that we find appealing, and then play the game for that satisfaction. Other times, the satisfaction may come from the "escape" scenario-you're satisfied with escaping reality to deep, lush, unreal world. However, not every game can claim to fulfill this desire-some may have a dismal narrative, that doesn't make you feel like you spent your money well, or weak gameplay, that creates a less-than-satisfactory experience.

So today, I thought I'd explore two key parts of video games that are necessary for a truly satisfying experience.

Gameplay

This is a no-brainer; if you're playing a game, and it's not fun to you, then you'll most likely stop playing, unless there's some other motivator. But then, the real question is-what makes gameplay satisfying? There are several essential components for a game to be truly satisfying(though, there are of course lots of games that have not all of these components, and are still great to play-there are just ones I think need to exist for a truly great game).

One is the actual controls of a game-you need to feel like you have an actual grip on how your character is moving within the world, without any oddly-mapped buttons or keys. Also, the game should be good about not creating opportunities that could potentially frustrate the player. For example, at several moments in Assassins' Creed 3, I've had random jumps off of very large buildings that resulted in my own death, which occurred right after I had completed a synchronization. This happened enough times for me to quit playing in my current session multiple times, and hasn't inspired me to go back to the game. Another prime example with a climbing-like game is in Shadow of the Colossus, a game many people loved for PlayStation 2(but that I've really disliked, after my near-complete playthrough). I had several times where I would be climbing one of the Colossi, and after several minutes of trying to get on, and aiming to complete a certain sequence to be able to get onto the Colossi, I would fall off, and would need to do it again. While it's okay for games to be hard and frustrating, I don't think that it's satisfying for them to frustrate gamers based on their bad camera and gameplay controls(I know, that is my opinion-but that game has really awful controls I feel). 

Also is the music and atmosphere presented while playing the game itself. It's really just a general question of whether or not the atmosphere and music actually fit with what is happening in the game. If Silent Hill had Zelda music and had a bright, sunny day instead of endless fog, it wouldn't be satisfying since it wouldn't work with the rest of the game; it's simply a question to developers of putting puzzle pieces together; is this moment like a Michael Bay movie, or a quiet sneaking mission? The music needs to be right, according to different scenarios, to create a whole experience that doesn't stray away from what it aims to be. If it does stray away, it can be confusing for gamers, and thus less satisfying. 

One very satisfying moment for me personally is one that is spread across the bosses of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. After a certain action is performed during each battle, the boss' weak spot becomes vulnerable, and a certain music plays(see at the bottom of the blog) that I completely love-it creates this moment of perfection, where you're rewarded of your efforts by having the opportunity to directly attack the boss.

Story

(I know that every game doesn't have a story, so this can also tie in with just general fiction, as well as talking about when you played the game.)

If a game contains an immersive world and characters that people care about, then a non-satisfying story is a killer for them. A good example of this can be seen with Mass Effect 3-people were not satisfied with the ending they went for after playing through 3 long games, and that's made a good amount of people petition enough for BioWare to even change the story because they weren't happy with it. 

To make a story satisfying, there are a couple key things that I think need to be done; the story pay off needs to be good, the story needs to keep you hooked, and(if they are present in the game), choices affect how the game plays out.

*Spoilers follow for Assassins' Creed III Assassin's Creed III is one game in recent memory that I feel didn't pay off, really at all. On Connor's side, the main antagonist, Charles Lee, ended up being killed by Connor in a bar-they just both sat at a table after their long chase, and Connor killed him. I didn't feel like this had really paid off-especially when the Connor-Haytham plotline ended abruptly. As for Desmond...well, for the last several games in the series, he's been working to preventing the extinction of the human race, and he ended up having to give his life, only for humanity to be enslaved by Juno. I know this creates potential for Assassins' Creed IV, but this ending just left a bad taste in my mouth, feeling like my efforts weren't really ever worth anything.

So yes, I feel like both of these components of video games need to be fully fleshed out, and catered to appealing to gamers to create a satisfactory experience in a video game. What do you think? Do  games need to have both of these things done well enough for you to have a good experience, or do you only need one of them, or even one other thing?

And now, here's that music.

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