Yesterday saw the addition of Skyrim to our list, a choice put forward by Elliot Codling. The day before that Shaun Roopra put forward Super Mario Galaxy 2, and the day before that I decided that Dishonored deserved a spot on the list. Todays choice was put forward by Richard Wood. Remember yesterday I told you to keep an eye out for another appearance from Bethesda?
I wasn’t joking.
1) What makes a game special in your eyes?
In my eyes there are a number of things that can make a game special, games can be many things to many different people ranging from text adventures to the MMO RPGs. Personally I’m attracted to different games for different reasons, I enjoy playing games like Pokemon and Skyrim because I gain some level of immersion and escapism from them, but then I’ll go to games like Mass Effect or Phoenix Wright if I want to be told a story that I can contribute to. And then sometimes I like to be challenged, and games like Rayman Origins and Rogue Legacy have been the games that have put sweat on my brow of late. I think the thing that makes games so special to me is that they can fulfill nearly any one of my needs and give me any kind of experience no matter what I want.
2) What is more important, great gameplay, or great story?
Games in which you find both great narrative and great gameplay are very few and far in-between. I’m of the opinion that great gameplay can make up for a bad story, but a bad story can’t make up for poor gameplay. The reason I couldn’t get more than a few hours into Dragon age: Origins was because I couldn’t get to grips with the gameplay. As games are becoming more cinematic and focus on telling a story as much as their are making a game, I have found myself savouring games with great gameplay more and more, which have been coming in the form of indie titles and going back to retro games I missed back in the day. I do enjoy a game with a great story, but ultimately it was gameplay that got the industry off the ground and it should be the thing developers focus their energies on.
I mean, I love a good story, but once I’ve experienced that story, what’s keeping me from moving on?
3) Which developer is your favorite in the industry today and why?
If I did have to pick a favourite developer currently, I would have to say the first thing that came to mind and that would be Bioware. For making Mass Effect, which is one my favourite gaming series, and for Knights of the Old Republic and the Old Republic MMO which I have had to force myself away from lest it consume my life. There are a lot of developers that I enjoy and keepclose tabs on what they’re doing but for making a number of games I really love, Bioware would edge out on top.
I like Bioware so much because they weave elaborate relationships between their incredibly likeable characters, not only making highly polished and playable games, but also making large, in depth worlds in which the player can inhabit. I love both the Mass Effect and the Star Wars universe and Bioware really brings them to life.
4) What was your favorite game of the previous generation, and what made it so special for you?
If there is one thing I think this generation has really brought to the table, it’s choice. Choice to play a game however you want and the choice to carve your own story out of a game, and no game embodies this trait more than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is the first and only game I’ve ever played from the Elder Scrolls series, but when I picked this game up I was hooked. Normally I’m more of a sci-fi guy than a fantasy guy, but even in spite of that, I was not prepared for the vast possibilities that lay before me when I first loaded up Skyrim.
6) What sticks in your head the game’s defining moment?
One of the things that makes Skyrim so great in my opinion is that is doesn’t have one giant set piece, a huge crescendo that sticks out in your mind, instead it gives you a number of accomplishments and great moments, to the point where you’re going to experience one every time you pick it up. Quests range from epic quests in which the player really feels like their unraveling some ancient mystery, to picking up the pieces of the best night’s drinking you’ve ever had.
But it’s not just the events the game scripts for you that make the experience so great, but the experiences the player forges for themselves as they explore and fulfill their own set goals. There was no in game quest that caused me to accidentally piss off a giant and have him chase me around Skyrim, only to eventually shout him off the side of a mountain, sending him rag dolling into a river below. This wasn’t something designed into the game, it was just something that happened, but I’ll always remember it, the shock, the panic and the relieved laugher.
7) What makes your chosen game so special?
I think Skyrim is special because it allows players to really make the experience their own. even right from the start of the journey, players can chose their race and immediately decide what kind of character they want to play. One of the things I value the most in video game experiences are choices. I love the idea of starting as a nobody and then through the choices you make, you can great a totally unique personalty. Players can make use of whatever skills they chose in Skyrim and can just decide to play a mage, a warrior, a thief, or anything in-between or none of these things and do something completely original.
Once the player finishes the introductory mission, Skyrim is their oyster, they choose which quests they participate in and can play the game for hundreds of hours and never progress the ‘main’ storyline in all that time. More and more games are allowing players to play games their own way, and Skyrim is the best game out right now that allows you to practically do whatever you want. Like I said at the start of this post, games can be whatever I want them to be at that particular moment, and Skyrim embodies that philosophy.
So there you have it, another day and another Skyrim nomination. That’s two contributors who have chosen Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls title as their game of the generation. So, we’re four parts in and still not finished. And before this piece is through I would just like to remind you of the games that already have made it onto our list.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Skyrim x2