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Over the years I have noticed that some games take off and are adored by the players, while other games just flunk. There are lots of similarities between these games and what subtle things make a game good VS great. I have taken the liberty of making a list of what I feel are the three main things that make a good game great.


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K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S. stands for Keep It Super Simple. Lots of people when making a game try and figure out complex menus, gui, styles to try and make the game stand out to the player. THIS IS OFTEN A BAD IDEA. With gui Players most often want to spend their time playing the game, enjoying the world world you created for them. What they don’t want is spending ten seconds every time they want to find the save button. Remember, no matter what age the target audience for your game is, it needs to be simple enough for a 10 year old to figure out.

By keeping your game interactions simple, it saves the player lots of headache and they are much more likely to come back and play your game again. Players have little patience for things they feel should not take longer than it should. Remember, don’t make your players angry at the game because it is poorly thought out, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Control

Remember, one of the main reasons people play games is control, they want to be the one making the decisions, and be able to think outside the box. Many of the most successful games are based mostly on player choices. One extreme example for this is Minecraft. The player builds the world around them, they get to be creative and do whatever they want. Your game does not need to offer this amount of open endedness, but in a game like Clash of Clans, you still control exactly what your army does and the defences of your town. Players feel in control and are rewarded based on their efforts.

Let the player enjoy your game both on it and away.

Good games people enjoy to play, but when playtime is over they don’t think about the game all that much. Great games are enjoyable to play, and still engage the player when they are away. With a great game, people will still be thinking about it while they are away, they will be thinking things like, “What is the best way to complete the next level” or, “What should I upgrade once I have enough money”. These games provide the player with both short term strategy and rewards, and long term strategies and larger goals.

With the short term strategies the player is entertained while playing the game, and feels a sense of accomplishment at the small rewards. While in the back of their mind they are thinking into the future of the game. This way when they take a break, they are still engaged in the game. One good example of this is how you upgrade your character in World of Warcraft. You choose different upgrade paths that affect the game in the long run, so you are still engaged in the game thinking of long term consequences.

Conclusion

Remember, to keep players playing and interested, keep the game simple to understand, and let the feel like they are in control of the game. Above all, keep your players both actively and passively engaged in your game. If you use these three simple steps when making your game players will keep coming back, and enjoy your game far more.