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What helps you decide to purchase a game?

A topic by oz2mura created Dec 08, 2015 Views: 599 Replies: 8
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i had a interesting conversation, we all had completely different reasons why we'd download/purchase a game. if the gameplay looked fun that's all that i needed, and i figured that was true for everyone. however for my friends, they had other reasons such as the art style, story pitch, existing ip, good reviews/word of mouth, established team, etc.

of course all of them are important factors to help make a game look like a great buy, but i'm wondering what's your strongest/common factor for deciding to purchase a game?

After some thought, I have come to the conclusion it's definitely friends recommending stuff to me.

Here's a rather interesting chain of this happening for me:

(about 2000) Smash 64 recommended by my brother's friend for us, we loved it, and got it when we got an N64.

(somewhere between 2008-2011) Smash brothers brawl was very fun, since I missed melee (dont you dare say I missed out, or I will verbally bite your head off.), and it had snake, and due to many recommendations, as well as a few other things swinging me towards the series, I emulated the first solid game. I loved it.

(2013): After solid 1, I spent a tear finding the HD collection for 2+3, but it also had peace walker, and a friend of mine noted that my management of the motherbase soldiers would make me suited to Fire Emblem, so I emulated the 7th game (gba, first western release of the series.), and I loved it.

(2014-2015): A friend of mine demonstrated Valkyria Chronicles for me after I expressed interest in the steam port, due to my interest in fire emblem. It became my favorite game ever, until.......

(2015) Valkyria Chronicles showed me I could like anime-ish games, or just stuff from the eastern asia world in general. So when Eternal Senia showed up in steam, I checked it out, though, the end of this chain so far wasn't based on recommendation, though, that being said, the trailer for it, and the steam reveiws, and being free gave me enough encouragement to try it.

But as you can tell, I would have never gotten this far if it wasn't for people along the way noting my preferences suited these games, so I am very grateful to them.

Of course, I never did read reveiws, or trust the back of the box. Word of mouth influencers today are my go-to, and always have been.

Video reveiws are a thing I've only started watching in the last few years.

Bear in mind this is what gets me to consider buying a game.

If your question is more like:"which games do i like more then others? Once I've played them?What games will I continue to play?" Then I would definitely say music is the one common thing that makes games memorable for me, but it must be music that speaks to what sort of game it is, or else I'm just going to listen to it on my phone or youtube, and maybe not remember the game around it so much.

Standout examples of this, for me include: Halo, Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, C&C: Red Alert (hell march FTW), Metal Gear Solid(1+2+3), Valkyria Chronicles (Succeeded Wish makes me cri, evertiem), MineCraft, Stronghold (Stix and Stones, best grand battle music), Persona 3+4, even Eternal Senia has something going for it in the music department. And no one will forget FF7's battle music, or the orignal SMB's level music.

Music affects us emotionally, and playing on our emotions is a surefire way to be memorable.

And, unfortunately, as an adult, good gameplay doesn't always cut it, not when, ultimately, I am used to so much more.

Good gameplay AND a good sense of theme, artstyle, etc, are crucial for large scale success.

As some have noted in video discussions, being "good" or "decent" isn't enough anymore, but, frankly, I would argue, it never has ever been enough.

Anyone could theoretically make a solid game (unless your someone like digital homecide, perhaps.).....but can everyone make a solid game that aims to state something about ourselves? Or have a coherent, lovely plot?

......yeah, even movies can't get that down for every production, it's just not common, that's why we value it so much.

great response, i definitely share your sentiment of friends being the main reason i initially got games, especially when i was younger. suikoden 2, ffvii, person 3, chrono trigger, symphonia, secret of mana were all lent/suggested by friends. very powerful gaming experiences.

as for the latter. music is by far the most immersive emotionally touching part of games. certain tracks will easily tear me up.

despite saying all that. gameplay will still be my number one. i suppose it's some inner bias that makes me seek and crave it. i'll be thinking on it.

Of course the gameplay will make me play hundreds of hours, that's what I love so much and played so much of MineCraft, Stronghold Crusader, and Knights of the Old Republic.

But I remember them a lot more for how they used thier mechanics to fit an idea, or an aesthetic.

MineCraft: The imagination of players only got triggered after the game introduces enemies that justified making a strong fortress to protect yourself from them. Are they dangerous later on? Not really, but that initial difficultly in surviving was it it took to kick-start the creativity, and you just go on from there. (The creeper, is the most ingenious enemy ever devised in my mind, it is the counter to all the player's efforts, that allow other mobs to harm you.)

Stronghold Crusader: The whole idea is that it's a medievil castle simulator, all the mechanics serve that one goal, it has plenty of diversity, but it's not drowning in features either, it is just an RTS afterall, it doesn't do grand strategy.

Knights of the Old Republic: Honestly? Other then the battle system, it's not really the most mechanically inclined game, at least for what a video game could be. It's based off the D&D d20 system (most rpgs are based off D&D, even JRPGs, this one is just rather blatant.), but what Bioware did with this rpgs, likely thier earlier rpgs, and definitely with thier spiritual successor Mass Effect, was that they gave you a blank slate protagonist for you to affect to your preference: Light side/Dark side karma/morality meter (in keeping with the star wars licence.), and an intricate level up system featuring feats that can grant unique skills used in battle, to just stats upgrades, and of course base stat points, and skill points, all you allocate however you wish. But then gave you characters who had obvious roles they could serve, and you could just auto-level them up to serve that pre-existing role, especially if you felt it went with thier character better, or you could meta-game and change thier stuff on level up. (and they level up with you, even if they are new or not around, prepare to level up new characters 5-10 times when you get them.) But see, these characters aren't blank. They would in fact be right at home in many jrpgs. Bioware essentially married the 2 sub-genres together. Other then that, you have a plot set within the star wars universe, being a sci-fi universe with plenty of fantasy (you become a jedi, with a light saber, about 10-15 hours in.), and all the decisions you have to make, it would be an interesting game if it had no combat, but I feel the combat is there just to raise the stakes, even the combat is actually fun for glorified turn-based combat.

(and for some reason the bold got stuck there and refused to turn off, I only meant the italics part to be like that. BUG!)

So in otherwords, although I too, once thought it was only about the gameplay, I have recognized that I'm wrong, gameplay is NOT the only reason I play video games, it never was. Super Mario 64 was the first game I really got into, because it was magical that I could explore such interesting, yet strange fantasy 3D environments, that was what got me hooked.

Even some flash games I play for a number of hours have at least an ok to look at art style.

Even Dicewars uses plenty of colour, but is otherwise, perhaps purposefully, minimalistic:

You know all those steam shovelware games people hate so much? Some of them are actually ok games on thier own, but the problem is that they throw a bunch of pre-made assets together that clash when used together. None of them try to be unique, none of them try to differentiate from each other. Now, it's try it's just some people absuing the systems steam has, but I think that would give you a good glismpe of what happens when you only focus on gameplay, and check boxes for a list of features.

I mean.......look at many AAA sandbox games, they are based on a great base, but there's a reason a lot of them feel the same.

(Unless your assassin's Creed, which does do unique stuff.....but only the earlier titles, or so I'm told.)

But perhaps someone else can explain this better, so here, have a look at this video I watched just yesterday:

I keep finding, in creative endeavors, sometimes you just need to limit yourself, to make the best thing, instead of a bunch of decent things in one package.

Erp, that kinda got away from me, I went from "focused goal of the game" to "Minimizing features can help your game."

But, they can go hand in hand.

And beisdes, it's not like an indie game can out-do what AAA devs do anyway.

Use the strength of having only a few people working on something to focus your design, and avoid the kitchensink of features that don't always go together, leave the AAA industry to appeal to everyone, and grab your niche.

Although, that being said, maybe your focused design work might be appaudled by many people anyway if it's really good, who knows?


Often times its the art or gameplay. I look to friends to see what they like. That's usually games between 1-20$. Anything above that I get more picky.


I don't typically have much spending money, so when I get a game it's something I expect to have a great personal investment in. I think it's quite easy to find good games that are free, or to just play fun games I already own. But when I feel like I can become attached to a game is when I'll make a purchase. Attachment can present itself in many ways, be it socially in a co-op game, emotionally in a choice or story-heavy game, sheer enjoyment in the feel of a title's gameplay, etc. Even feeling connected to a developer and their design philosophy or simply who they are can be incentive enough :)

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Generally I'll buy anything that seems cool for a reasonable price, but these days I'm reluctant to buy new games because my backlog is so enormous it would take a lifetime to play all the games I already have to completion. Not that I would want to finish every game, but it still comes down to "I could buy this new thing, or I could play the 5 games I bought in the last Steam sale that I still haven't touched". I still make an exception if something is especially cool though, or if I just want to support the developer.

As for convincing me a game is worth checking out: basically, have a great gameplay trailer... no cinematics, no endless logos and backstory... show me the game. Word of mouth helps, certainly, but the game needs to look interesting.

If it resonates.

If i want to see more work from the creator(s).