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Love is a strong word too


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So what do you love in video gaming?

 

For me, I love emulation. The way that a community has come together to make software as impressive as MAME, and not for the financial gain but just for the love of the games.  Some of the stuff the emulation community comes up with absolutely blows me away.

 

And I couldn't start a thread like this without mentioning Deadly Premonition.  There's something about that game, the once in a lifetime, lightning in a bottle experience where a game that's basically a budget title with massive glaring flaws suddenly pulls the rug from under you with an attention to detail and story that gets in your head.  I'm not going to spoiler because it came out in 2010, but when the game begins and the shadows moan "Don't want to dieeeee", you just find yourself laughing at the terrible animation, odd characters, crappy frame rate and so on.  Then you meet Emily, and she moves her arms about and shakes her head like PS1 Resident Evil. You chuckle at how bad it all is.  Then, (I hope through design rather than incompetence) the story just draws you in, you're living in Greenville, watching the townsfolk go about their lives, becoming invested in the characters and realising that York and Emily are falling in love with each other.  You learn that Emily is a terrible cook, and if you do go into her house you see the burned wallpaper above the oven.  There are so many wonderful little touches like that.

 

And then you start to learn about York, his background, Kayden, Zach....  And you witness Kaysen murdering York's parents. They tremble in his presence and moan, "I don't want to die" and you realise the shadows and spirits you shoot in the game are York's nightmares about that Terrible night.  York's mother, red seeds implanted in her body pleades with her husband, "let me die" and the whole thing starts coming together. By the time you have to save Emily it's absolutely heartbreaking. You love her, she loves you, and Kaysen's done THAT to her.  She's a goddess of the forest now.  

 

I can't think of any moment in any game or film or book that got to me like Deadly Premonition did.  The abysmal sequel couldn't take the shine off the original, one of the best games I've ever played but also the best experience of storytelling.

 

Love it.  So what's yours? 

 

 

 

 

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I love the amount of podcasts out there. There's something for everyone, whether it's Games Club style ones, more serious stuff, ones with jokes and proper bantz. And it's even better when you find an awesome, relatively small one that you can help champion.

 

And from a more games dev position - I will play anything the Yakuza and Persona teams put out.

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This is a bit of an enigmatic thing to classify, but I enjoy games that make you feel like you can make your character do almost anything - and then put that to the test. Something like the fluid movement of the running and jumping and flipping in Mario 64, combined with some ace platforming challenges. Or the sheer wealth of combat options you open up during DMC5 before you're faced with insane boss encounters. A game succeeds when you can't blame limitations of the intended systems; you can only blame yourself. If it were one word, I guess "control"? Or "agency"?

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Loot. Ever since experiencing that rush when a Heartseeker Dagger dropped for my Rogue in Vanilla WoW I was hooked. Any RNG loot system is like crack to me. Borderlands was gaming nirvana. Random loot and an open world shooter? Sign me the fuck up. I consumed that game like a junkie out of rehab. I just love the thrill of the random find. From dropping into PUBG and finding an M4 and K9 in the first house, to getting kitted out with Epic boons in Hades to getting a Pylon Driver early into a Returnal run.

 

Probably says a lot about me and my endorphin chasing nature, but give me all the purples and oranges and epic drops pls. 

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New sights and sounds as you play through a game.  That thing on the next screen, under the fog of war, around the next corner, over that hill, on that planet.  There are so many tangible, beautiful, amazing places from across genres taking up far too much space in my brain. 

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I love a lot about video games.

 

I really love it when a video game has great music that helps lift the atmosphere and is fitting of the general theme of the game.

 

Same goes for the visual

style, whenever a game has a style that I find perfect for what it aims to do, I’m a happy puppy.

 

Few things are more satisfying whenever I get to play a game that just feels right as soon as things starts moving. I just love it when the controls feels so good you don’t ever have to open the settings menu to check which button does what.

 

What I like the best, though, what I really love is when a game comes along and does all of the above just right, where everything looks, sounds and feels perfect and you can even forgive its few shortcominga as adorable, now that’s what I love!

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I love big, narrative driven, single-player adventure games.

 

I love that GamePass has encouraged me to try games I'd never usually give the time of day.

 

I love that we have three console manufacturers all going about their business in very different ways and, despite the odd decision which may not be best for the consumer, they all seem to be doing quite well.

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Mechanics that invite you to play aggressively, like if you do more damage to enemies close up. Games that invite you higher and higher up the screen to take more risks, or proximity scoring where you get more points if you get right up in the aliens grills.

 

Quick turnaround scoring loops where you're rewarded for the risks you take almost instantly, for example the hyper in blue revolver that you're building up and cashing out constantly.

The grazing in exceed 3rd where after you hug enough bullets you get powerful missiles to chuck out and shorten the boss fight.

Getting closer to the boss to do more damage, playing more risky now so that you don't have to endure those more difficult patterns later for too long.

 

Anything where you feel like you're pushing yourself as hard as you can and you're riding that wave, where the games challenge perfectly meets your current skill level, games where the height of that wave changes depending on how hard you're pushing yourself.

 

Big lavish rewards during hypers where coins or medals are just spilling out all over the screen or you cancel a whole screen full of bullets and term them into coins and suck them all in and it makes a lovely tinkly sound - https://streamable.com/ofyjeb

 

Gorgeous, creative pixel art. Games where it feels like you're in a fully realised, unique world like "black bird".

 

Lots of bright colours, and while it might not be the sort of music you'd listen to outside the game, it just works perfectly and you're bopping along.

 

Doujin shmups. Shmups aren't too hard to make, relatively speaking, but the one thing you need above everything is the passion for the genre.
You have to have played lots of these games and know exactly what makes them work.

So some AAA studio might make a shmup and throw billions of dollars at the problem and it'd be dogshit, whereas some game made by one lad in his bedroom might be utterly fantastic and be up there with the best in the genre because he's played these games all his life.

The passion of these people to spend so much time and effort making these brilliant, joyful games and then just offering them up to the community for free. I will never not be grateful and astounded by these games I just stumble across randomly and end up playing to death.

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Good armour that changes how your character looks when equipped. 
 

Exploration, heading off the beaten path to see what I can find. 
 

Good story that isn’t up it’s own backside. 
 

Moral choices that make me question and think carefully about my response, and actually have an meaningful impact. 

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The moment when you realise that you care about a character in a game whether you are playing that character or not.

 

RDR

Gone Home

Edith Finch

Portal 2

Deliver Us The Moon

Omno

 

It doesn't have to be a big epic character arc, or a broad sweep of narrative.  It just has to be a moment of "Oh", where you suddenly look on your actions / the story in a different way.  Deliver Us The Moon has one of the best endings of anything I've played, simply because your perspective on the actions of your character is changed with a single line of dialogue.

 

Omno ending spoilered

 

Spoiler

You decide not to destroy yourself but to stay with your little friend, who has gone from being someone who runs away from you, to a companion, to a guide.  It's not signposted in big letters, but it just got to that bit and I went "Oh, so he doesn't go to meet the others, he stays and... that's actually what I want." 

 

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Unboxing new hardware - for the most part it's amazing and the pinnacle is unboxing new Nintendo hardware as you know you've got a new piece of software designed to complement and show off what you've bought.

 

The only exception to this rule, and this is speaking as somebody who has bought every mainstream console launched since the 16bit era, is the PS5. I despised the thing the second I took it out the box and still have nothing but bad vibes towards it, not turning it on in months. 

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If a game ended on a cliffhanger or the series is dead in the water then there's a good chance i'll have loved and championed it. Blessing and a curse.

 

Some of my fave games from the last 10 years

 

Alan Wake, Alien Isolation, Binary Domain, Deus Ex HR/MD, Max Payne 3, Shenmue III, Spec Ops:The Line, Splatterhouse, Titanfall 2

 

17ba859600ac4135a7267b02328881ff

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Siri said:

Big, crunchy sound effects. It's a common trend across the games I've played over the years - UT99's Twin enforcer pistols, clobbering enemies in PSO, the general explosion/shatter effects in Path of Exile, landing the deathblow command in OG Final Fantasy 7, gems shattering in Super Puzzle Fighter. All that good sensory overload shit.

Agreed. Anything that pops. Sound is so often overlooked. Also, to compliment this there is good hit detection. Things connecting. I often find even taking steps in dark soul enjoyable. Just the little steps connecting to the ground. 

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15 minutes ago, Oz said:

Also, headshots in destiny! @Siri

 

Yep. Primary to the Destiny experience is having guns that just sound right, and binning off any that doesn't. A vast majority do, mind.

 

While I'm thinking of Destiny, which then leaks into general sound love - Dynamic soundtracks. Destiny 2 does it a lot during big setpieces/raid moments, but some games just really thrived from having it - last gen's Doom and Killer Instinct, notably.

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17 hours ago, Plissken said:

The moment when you realise that you care about a character in a game whether you are playing that character or not.

 

In my forty years of gaming, I've never had this. I didn't even realise it was a thing until I started seeing "like if you cry every time" memes about FFVII and, despite having played it through three times, had to look up what they were referring to. 

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Seriously?

 

I'm not talking about bursting out into tears, but the ending of RDR had me properly pissed off at the fate of John Marston - pissed off as in "I cared and didn't want that to happen" as opposed to it being cheap or wrong. Portal 2 makes you engaged with the characters and story and you end up laughing despite some very, very dark themes.

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When I take the game with me and I can see/play it in my head. 

 

If I shut my eyes I can still see Spider-Man 2 swinging about in my head. Not as vividly as when I was playing it, but a shadow of the pendulous way he swung about is burned in and the drop from a skyscraper forever sunk in my stomach. 

 

The last one was Mass Effect Andromeda. It would rattle in my head at night. It's basically full of go here, do that, fetch this and I'd go through the order I was going to attack the list tomorrow. 

 

It's nice that I'm just carrying that stuff around when I'm doing tedious stuff. 

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