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How to separate good games? [Ultimate Guide]

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Hello everyone! Here we will discuss what makes a good game. What is good; what is bad? We will try to find answers to these questions with the guidance of game science. Here, I will share screenshots of the games and criticize them in terms of games.

Call To Action

This content will be kept up-to-date! Meet me in the comments to share your opinions, or ask your very own questions! If you want to read my other ultimate guides, don’t forget to look at the category!


1. What is good game?

First of all, being good has always been a controversial topic in the area of art. Don’t worry that it is still blurred. 🙂 While talking in terms of art, we cannot exactly separate good and bad. But, there are best practices and accepted rules in the area of game art to follow. We can criticize a game according to these norms.

2. Is complexity good for games?

Shot of skill page taken from the game of Path of Exile
Skill page of Path of Exile. If you want to read my game review of Path of Exile, please click.

Complexity is a term that doesn’t have clear lines. For example, while Age of Empires is a too complex game for you; some players even want more detailed real-time strategy games that have a more wealthy in-game economy.

The right level of complexity is the key factor here. Rightness’ borders are defined by your audience. You should be able to recognize your players’ needs. By recognizing true requirements, complexity’s level can be arranged as closer to perfection as possible.

3. Complexity is good. But, I can’t understand a thing from this game!

Here comes another topic: Affordance! Your level of insight is slightly related to the complexity. If you cannot understand how to play the game, it is more likely that the game has a serious problem with user experience.

a. Okay, but what is affordance?

wood man people sign
You ask yourself “what now?!” if the game has a bad affordance

Affordance is the ability to explain itself. Yes, it is that simple! For example, when you see a door handle, you grab it and move your hand down. This is instinctively done, so you don’t think about it.

Affordance in the world of games has the same logic. For example, if you define attack skill for a warrior, you don’t put a thumbnail of a cross to represent this skill. If this skill requires a warrior to use a long sword, you don’t also choose an explosion thumbnail. Putting a thumbnail including a long sword is the best shot that you can do. Therefore, new players will think that (without looking into a description of skill) this skill has something to do with a long sword. That is what an example of good affordance is. Skill’s thumbnail affords!

4. Are supported languages really important?

Especially Playstation 4 games published by Sony, have a good reputation on this topic. If you call yourself a global company, this concern should really bother you. Supporting many languages doesn’t directly affect the game’s quality. However, don’t forget that supporting different languages is not an unimportant job.

Table of Supported Languages of Portal, which is Taken from Steam Page
Table showing Supported Languages of Portal

Supporting local languages show that you care for players of this country. Supporting Russian shows you care for Russian players, supporting the Turkish language shows that you pay attention to these players, and so on. And believe me, if you even support a local language that “global” game companies do not widely support, this could be enough for local players to pay attention to your game!

6. Game companies should have a signature!

Have you ever thought about brand awareness? Brand awareness is the recognition of this brand around the world. This is a critical activity that should be approached by global companies for them to increase their popularity. Game companies can achieve this awareness process in several ways.

Portal Game UI. Similar UI is used for legendary Valve games like Half-Life.
Portal Game UI. Similar UI is used for legendary Valve games like Half-Life.

One example of brand awareness comes from Valve, a global game company and the owner of Steam. If you are old enough, you should have played Half-Life and Counter-Strike 1.5. I want you to look at the picture above. Isn’t it familiar? I don’t care if it is because of the limitations of the game engine they used. When you see this UI, you remember something special for you. This is the signature of Valve. This should be achieved by game companies.

Do you know that I wrote a game review of Portal?

If you want to read it, please click: Portal Game Review