That Special Ingredient

Reoh | 24 January 2010 | Comments off

What is it about some games, that they have an ineffable power to lure us into their warm embrace. Drawing their immersion about our senses, while dampening the stresses from our everyday lives.What is it about games, that they have an ineffable power to lure us into their warm embrace. Drawing their immersion about our senses, while dampening the stresses from our everyday lives. Hungry as we are we seek comfort from many games, but only those special few will ever hold a fond place in our hearts. Thought back upon and dusted off from our neglect. We can once more taste the sweet pleasures always felt in the comfortable familiarity of a favored title.

After reading (a soon to be released) article here at TOG, I find myself contemplating just what is it that captivates our attentions in such games. With a good deal of reflection I have uncovered what I believe is the ultimate answer to this question; And although each of us has our own preferences for genre, gameplay, or the aesthetics and acoustics which please us best; there is one common theme that binds all of these elements together into something approaching perfection.

It was an elusive answer, as is its nature, and one that I feel content will be agreed upon by those of you who are reading this.It was an elusive answer, as is its nature, and one that I feel content will be agreed upon by those of you who are reading this. With all of these games that we have played, in most I have found that something was missing. The je ne sais quoi which elevates one title above another; and although we're often comparing apples to oranges, in most cases you can always tell when this special ingredient is missing.

You can't find it listed on the box's bullet pointed features, or hidden in gameplay footage. There's no equation that can quite explain it, and I dare say words may fail to convey it. Although games may copy from another's success, they cannot catch it with programming alone. What defines it, is the emotional response when a chord is struck within us; resonating in union from the knowledge that it is there.

We can always tell if its absent. When something is close but not quite right. Like an artificial flavoring that doesn't do the true food justice. When its not there, you know without a doubt; but when it is you've found a piece of home inside a glorious new world. It's that intangible quality that tells you that although you know the game isn't perfect, you love it all the same... warts and all!

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