Recently, a friend of mine said ‘You’re bad at knowing what a game is about.’ The context isn’t necessary, and I don’t think he was wrong (though I don’t think he was totally right). The point he was driving at, at the time, was that I used the term ‘story’ to talk about the Call Of Duty franchise of games, something that he feels is, broadly speaking, not appropriate.
Now, ignoring for a moment his point (because that’s what I do), I found myself meditating, later, on the idea of my identifying of what’s important about a game without appending the seemingly obvious ‘to me.’ The discussion pointed at Call Of Duty, where I felt that it was a ‘military’ game, and Prince of Persia, which I felt didn’t have anything in common with the original story of the original Prince of Persia. Not to retread the argument, I spent a few hours thinking about the question: What’s the core of a game to me?
I think the best I was able to do was: I seek a sense of achievment through the application of my own skills to bring about a meaningful difference in outcome. Everything else, everything that drives me in a videogame experience, is part of that aim. Games that don’t satisfy fail because they don’t successfully let me feel I’m applying a skill, or that my achievements have anything that makes them feel meaningful.