At work today some of us were talking about sports like ice hockey, soccer and curling and one of the other guys mentioned that the games are designed to be fun to look at.
Should we design video games to be "spectator sports"? Of course, the game have to be fun for the player as well, but should we spend resources on making the game more fun for the people not playing it as well?
It would help sell the game, obviously. Seeing a game that was fun even just to watch, you'd be more likely to wanting to experience more of it.
Take Rock Band and Guitar Hero for example. And Singstar for that matter. They're games that usually have more people than the game can handle at once, so people pass around the instruments at parties and such. But if you ask me, they're not fun to watch... At all!
A lot of improvements could be made to make the game more enjoyable to watch. At least, that's what I think. Although, admittedly, I can't think of any excellent ones at the moment.
Games like Grim Fandango are great to watch, because they in a way present the same value as a movie.
But here's a question: Except for cinematics and things very similar to that, what makes a game enjoyable to watch? The game being unpredictable? Cool effects? Awesome one-liners? Amazing graphics? Ninjas? Or is it something completely different that's the secret ingredient?
I don't have a definite answer, but I think it's safe to assume that there are many different ways to go.
I'm pretty much all about the gameplay, but I can't deny that it's all that matters in a game. There are many more aspects of a game that needs to be done right for a great gaming experience. Graphics, Audio, etc.
After all, what a game is, isn't a box of gameplay, but an experience to be had.
I played the Bayonetta demo yesterday. I had absolutely no expecations for it, but I must admit that I loved it. It's over the top in every way, estetic, extreme effects, blood, gore, extreme violence and japanese soft porn, all at once!
When I was checking up on the game earlier today online, I found a really interesting blog post from their effect designer; Kudo.
He makes a really good point on how important effects are for a game.
Bayonetta’s weapons, the impact of the hits, the enemy attacks, the smoke flowing out in the background, etc… When you have effects on, I think you can see that things seem more exhilarating, enemy attacks are easier to understand, and the atmosphere is played up more, amongst other things.
- Kudo, PlatinumGames
He also presents two videos with basically the same content, expect that one is with effects and one is without.
I'll embedd them here. The first one is without effects, the second one is with the effects included.
One cannot look at both videos and deny that there's more to a game than just gameplay. In fact, in the case with Bayonetta, I'd say the effect design is a huge part of the game. More so than in many other games.
Heck, before playing the game I wasn't a fan of the character (visual) design at all, but after playing it, I even like that. It all fits together and the way she's extreme in everyway is just right. It all adds up to a gaming experience!