A Matter Of What Gets The Juices Going

Watch DogsWhat draws us to a particular title?

Is it the latest in gameplay and graphics or is there more to it?

Many will buy titles because they are part of a series or from a particular studio or developer, but what got you interested in the first place?

At AMOLAG we talk a fair amount about the achievements you can get in games and they do help to add longevity to a title and make it more rewarding as you learn or discover within the game. They’re not the first thing I think of.

Do you look for titles that feature your favourite celebrities in games such as Dance Central (like Usher, Ben?) and FIFA or do you get drawn just by an endorsement or advertising campaign that utilises Hollywood stars such as Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill in the latest Modern Warfare outing?

Don’t worry there’s no right or wrong answer? You won’t get marked down for having your own opinion.

Seeing the recent developments over the course of E3 has got us a little giddy (A jizzathon if you check out podcast 21). In the instance of Watch Dogs we can see a great game mechanic which appears to play out in a similar style to a GTA title but with added extras that are reminiscent of Deus Ex HR. The difference being that you will dive in and out of different characters throughout the storyline once you have completed certain ‘set’ segments (at least that’s how it looks on the video clip). I hope this doesn’t make the environment too closed in like the ones featured in the Rainbow Six Vegas titles or even Battlefield 3. Great as they were you couldn’t help feel that you were restricted to play within the confines of a closed environment. Like being a baby confined to the play pen.
There are some exciting bits of gameplay in Watch Dog that will make the interaction with the environment and characters interesting and will hopefully make our wallets happy that we bought this as a day one purchase. Anyway, bullet-time is always sexy!

Hype certainly plays a big part in making us look at a new title or series. What made you first dive in to Half-Life, Assassins Creed, Splinter Cell, FIFA or Need for Speed? For some FIFA will be a case of having been the only decent title around back when they owned a SNES or Mega Drive and they have continued to buy every title there-after. For others it will be the new moves that you can perform in the game, the updates to the kits and teams, or it could just be that they now look more realistic than ever. Could be that it’s football and it will always draw a particular crowd.
Getting the title out there and recognised by the masses is the first hurdle.You need to be exposed to the biggest possible audience so that you are guaranteed to capture at least a portion of your target market.
In the instance of Need for Speed we have a driving game that will always generate a certain amount of interest. The problem with a long running series such as this is that if you make a mistake you could find your once loyal followers going off to pastures new. NfS Hot Pursuit was a great title but was sadly followed by The Run which was a massive disappointment for some. Criterion are ploughing a lot of time in to the next NfS title, Most Wanted, and quite a few fans are taking notice purely because of their experience with this studio in the past. I hope they can stabilise what has been a fairly ropey past for the series and maintain the loyalty.

Says a lot about a studio that they can command so much respect.
I, for one, am pretty much guaranteed to love any title that Valve develops. Half-Life, and it’s follow up, were ground breaking for gaming. In some respects, first-person gaming would not be where it is today without the immense environment and story that was created by the team at Valve. The visceral experience of where they placed Gordon Freeman and the journey that they took him on will forever be a part of me.
The main aspect that drew me to the game was that they were doing something truly amazing with the graphics.
Agni's Philosophy - Final Fantasy Realtime Tech DemoSquare Enix has just published a tech demo of their new graphics engine which is nothing short of amazing. If this sample of their digital detail is to be believed then I could find myself playing the next Final Fantasy game for the first time. Thank you Square Enix.
At the time of Half-Life’s release no one was producing such rich environments with so much detail and still keeping us within an entertaining storyline/narrative.
I have to confess to being a bit of a post-apocalyptic genre fan so I might be a little biased. Give me zombies, a dark city environment, an hour to live and I’ll take the bastards with me to hell.

Interests do also play a key part in getting gamers to part with their cash.
I won’t play a title like Tekken or Street Fighter outside an arcade. There’s simply no buy-in for me these days. There could an advertising campaign that cost umpteen billions with celebrities knocking on my door and I still probably wouldn’t buy the next fighting game.
I will, however, look at the next sci-fi or post-apocalyptic themed storyline with great interest as this style of storyline is one of the most important things for me in a first person shooter. I like the idea of being one of a handful of survivors searching for others with the odds stacked highly against me. It’s not just gaming that this drills down to for me. My film and book choices are also in this genre.

A lot can boil down to your hobbies and interests which is why sporting titles will always be more favourable and already have a clear cut target market. Same applies for those that always wanted to be pilots or soldiers.
Not sure my interests are as extensive as others when it comes to the problems with plumbing in Brooklyn but I feel quite at home picking up a shotgun and going zombie slaying!

I like quirky games that surprise me with hidden features or attention to detail that really adds to the depth of a story or expands a character. Portal 2 is an example where a puzzle game has humour and hidden detail that makes me want more of the game. There’s a semi-apocalyptic feel with the lost research and testing facilities so that adds massive bonus points for me, but I couldn’t help but want to discover more the further I went in. It’s a cleverly scripted story with excellent narration that also includes great graphics and gameplay. It ticks all the boxes.

Deus Ex got my money because of close similarities to Blade Runner, my number one film, along with graphics and gameplay so it was always going to be a winner.
The genre and environment is always going to be an important part of my gaming decision making and I will in no way be led by the games that everyone else is playing.
Oh, except maybe for Trials Evolution. Have we mentioned that before?!?!
It has a slick control mechanism with ‘on-rails‘ levels that are rich, difficult and super addictive because of the social/competitive aspect.
Just one more attempt to shave a gnats pube off of your mates time turns in to fifty attempts and turns five minutes of play into a divorce and fight over who gets the cat.
It’s just incredibly addictive. I’ve bashed away at the buttons and gripped the controller so tightly that my fingers seized in to place.
Anyone watching me would laugh their heads off at the sheer intensity that grips my face when I’m playing any extreme course, that and the stupid way in which I keep leaning my body and twisting the controller as if it makes a difference to the button based movements. Dipstick.

Trying to ‘out-do’ the number of achievements your friend gets on a particular game is one thing but do not underestimate the simplicity in trying to beat a time that has been set by a friend.
Sporting games that involve time trials or distances will always have a natural advantage, especially if the game is ultra-simple to control.
Mastering is another thing, but if you can quickly post a time and shout about it to a mate then you will find the gamers flocking to compete.

They now teach in school that it’s okay to just take part and not necessarily win.
Bollocks. Everyone wants to win, otherwise what’s the point in taking part?
It’s a life lesson more than anything but is absolutely everything when it come to competing in gaming. Second place is first of the losers.

Whatever draws you to a particular title it appears that developers and publishers have a range of hooks that they can catch you with whether it’s with graphics, game mechanics, story, environment, genre or just good old fashioned hype, but in most cases it will take more than one individual element to prise your cash from your hands. The good studios will always strive to give you the complete package.

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