Games and ideas in general can either be popular or unpopular. But it can be hard to determine what makes an idea popular and what makes it tiresome and boring.
For your benefit, we at Black Shell Media have created a guide with some of the things that you will need to implement if you want your game to be popular and have enduring replay value.
Make your game social and sales will roll in quickly. People like social experiences and games do need to have a social aspects to be truly successful. Bring in rewards that people can show off or at least make sure that you provide your players with a way to show their friends the progress they make within the game. There is no better marketing than to have your own players do it for you, as it costs nothing and players will volunteer enthusiastically because they like playing with their friends.
If a game is able create special memories for players, this means that the title does a great job at making a lasting impression. Think Gordon Freeman pushing the sample into the antimass spectrometer or the No Russian opening in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. The experience doesn’t necessarily have to be cinematic either, even an especially intense round of a multiplayer game such as of League of Legends or Starcraft can create a very memorable experience, if only because of the intensely involving nature of their gameplay.
It is difficult to affect a player’s feelings and emotions through a computer screen, so you need to use a good game design in order to promote the desired experience for the end user. It takes a great deal of hard work in order to design an emotionally involving game but it is well worth it for the experiences it creates for the gamer. Be it humor, inspiration or excitement, all of these elements can alter and heighten the emotional experience a player has.
The game has to cater to what the gaming public wants. This doesn’t mean hopping on every passing bandwagon though. Although it might be tempting to make an MMO when MMOs are popular, or real time strategy when that genre sees an upswing in popularity, don’t just make a game for the sake of trying to cash out. On the other hand, you might have to accept that Spreadsheet Simulator 2 just isn’t going to sell a hundred million copies, even if you love pretending to make spreadsheets. In the end though, game development is about the art, so make what you enjoy and are passionate about (but also remember to do some market research beforehand).
Utility and practicality
Some games are there just for fun, while others test things like math skills or reflexes, or teach various skills to people. Many times, players are looking for something besides just having fun. Something to consider would be having some kind of educational element in the game, or an element that hones the players’ reflexes. But do be careful to make sure that other elements of the game aren’t neglected for the sake of being educational.
A good story will always make a game memorable and fun to play. Some stories are harder to digest than others, but be creative and try to find a good story that fits with the type of game you want to create.
If your game doesn’t have much of a story, at least make the game’s aesthetic and thematic elements consistent, with nothing out of place for the setting and unique. It’s very difficult to remember a game that has a dozen others just like it.
Special thanks to Yixin Li for authoring this article.
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