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What makes a game your favourite game ever?

November 14, 2007

Right, my personal favourite game of all time is Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That is hard cold fact. However, I was recently musing on exactly why it is my favourite. Why out of the hundreds of games I’ve had the joy of playing, does Ocarina still stand out in my mind as the definition of what makes a game so amazing? And I pinned it down to these key points:

-Stand out moments- For a game to be genuinely amazing it must have standout moments that literally burn their image into your very soul, it should feature moments that when people ask ‘what part of the game did you like most?’ You have a list of things that the game did to astound you. For me, Ocarina was full of these, I can rattle of an essay of points in that game that made me love it, but when I think of a number of games I played this year, I’m lucky to pluck two or three things that those games did that genuinely wowed me.

-Visual Flair- It doesn’t have to be amazing, but a great game has to have a visual flair. In this I mean it must have great animation, great art design and a game world that feels cohesive. There is nothing worse to me than a game that features graphics that look out of place.

-The sounds of the angels- When a game has good music, it genuinely shows. So many games disregard music as simple ting a gamer expects, and not enough games use music to evoke genuine feelings and give the player the correct anticipation of a location upon entering it. As with visuals, when music doesn’t gel, it’s obvious, but when it really works, it’s magical.

-Fluid Gameplay- A no brainer, if a game is jerky or its mechanics are broken it’s not that good a game. When a game can entertain you for over fifty hours with a simple mechanic, it’s better than a technically deep game that bores you.

So far, these things have been obvious. However, my final point is the reason I settled on as to why Ocarina remains my favourite game to this day.

-Little to no Hype- It was 1998, I had just got my N64, and I was eleven years old. I didn’t browse the Internet or read gaming magazines; my friends had just told me that Ocarina was awesome. I had played Link’s Awakening, so I knew about the franchise, but I was totally unprepared for what Ocarina would be. I had not seen one screenshot, not read one preview or been caught up in any hype, It was the third 3D game I played after Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie… And what a game it was. The un paralleled freedom, the side quests, the epic story, turning into an adult when I thought the game was going to end. Simply stunning. I blame Ocarina for my love of gaming, I blame Ocarina for my high expectations of other games, and I blame the Internet for not allowing me to love a game as much as Ocarina. Just imagine, playing one of the best games of recent years but with no hype, would you have liked it more? I would say you would.

 Mario Galaxy is due in the UK in a mere 2 days, people are heralding it as one of the best games ever, unfortunately, I have read about Galaxy and watched some movies. However, I trust that there will still be a lot to surprise me. Whether or not it has the ability to overtake Zelda as my favourite game ever remains to be seen, I just wish I could play it completely out of the know. In a way, I envy young children who will be brought into gaming with Galaxy, I presume they will champion it as their favourite game ever, primarily for the last reason I posted here.

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