My benchmark for enjoying a game does not hinge on any one thing. I am not a graphics snob. I do not care about its metacritic score. I do not mind the occasional glitches. If the game is engaging and fun to play, I am sold.
I am not fancy in this respect.
While all the aforementioned is true, that doesn’t mean I wear blinders when it comes to the quality of a game. I can recognize the shortcomings and take note of them in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t mean my having a good time hinges on those issues.
What got me thinking about this was the novelization of Dead Island by Mark Morris. I was looking through my section of novels based on games when I realized I had never read this one. I pulled it down and as soon as I saw the cover art, it reminded me of the excellent time I had with the original Dead Island back in 2013.
As some of you may know, I’m a sucker for tropical settings in games, and this was no exception. And while the game had its share of issues, I had far more fun with it than I thought I would. Did I love that sometimes a brand new upgraded weapon would fall through the world into irretrievable nothingness?
Did I love that sometimes a newly upgraded weapon would disappear into the menu system?
Did that ruin my overall fun with the game?
This got me thinking about all the games I’ve played that were less than technically perfect but that I had a rousing time with anyway.
Another of those was the sequel to Dead Island, Dead Island: Riptide. I mean, just look at that setting. How beautiful is that?
However there was one bizarre drawback to Riptide that I could not have expected and nearly ruined the experience for me: camera bounce.
When I was playing Riptide with a friend, we both noticed that we felt a little gross after our first session. Neither of us knew why. After our second session, we were both just as nauseous as the first time. It was then that we figured it had to be the excessive camera bounce in the game. I looked in the options menu and there was no option to turn it off. So we “suffered” through it (I actually took motion sickness medicine to see if it helped; it did), and you know what? I still had an excellent time overall.
Yes. A game made me (and my co-op partner) feel sick, and I enjoyed it anyway.
I can’t tell if that’s hardcore or ridiculousness.
Another reason this was on my mind was due to several posts around the internet about Fallout 4 and the inevitable glitches involved with a massive open world Bethesda game.
Of course there will be glitches. That doesn’t bother me on an enjoyment level. Do I wish games were all polished experiences? Of course. But random issues here and there aren’t going to cause me to have a bad time of it. The only time glitches really upset me are when they head into game-breaking territory. Or save corrupting territory (I’m looking at you Borderlands; I still mourn my Mordecai file that you ate you greedy, greedy game). In one of those cases, I still love the game, just not that it ate my extremely high level character file.
So with these thoughts I ask: how do you feel about glitches? Do they impact your enjoyment of a game? What are you willing to overlook in the name of an enjoyable experience?
If it’s little graphical glitches it doesn’t bother me but if it’s game breaking like losing a save that’s bad.
You’ve hit the nail on the head. Games can absolutely be fun without being perfect. I would certainly prefer that the bugs I encounter are not game-breaking or save-eating (now I’m hungry), but I don’t expect any game to be technically flawless. Sometimes those bugs are hilarious, which adds a great layer of unpredictability to the fun I’m already having.
It annoys me when people are put off by graphics more than bugs though. Like everything has to be pushing the limits of photo-realism. Games can have an incredibly beautiful aesthetic without being super high-res or trying to look real.
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You know what’s funny? The people who are adamant that a game be perfect. I mean, with all that can go wrong with code, how they even get made is sort of a miracle to me (though I am more than aware it is a crap ton of hard work that makes them what they are). And yes, sometimes those minor glitches are the best parts! I’ve seen more than a few that caused me to insanely laugh out loud.
And I quite agree.