So today's topic, courtesy of waketosleep
, is "what do you look for in a game that makes you go YES TAKE MY MONEY?"
...okay, okay, that is not a valid answer. It's TRUE, but it's not valid.
The first thing is gameplay, and that's on two levels.
Level One -- I'm sorry, I love games, but I have shit for hand-eye coordination. When I was a kid I enjoyed watching people who didn't suck play Mario games, I knew exactly how the levels on the ones we owned were supposed to go, but I couldn't make my hands do that stuff even when I had the level memorized. I was okay at Zelda; I beat it on the same day as my brother, who was good at Mario and everything else (he routinely beat games before they were due back to the rental place). I REALLY liked menu-driven RPG type stuff (although we never got our hands on Final Fantasy, and the only system we ever owned was the NES); I rented Wizardry multiple times even though the cartridge always, ALWAYS ate my save. I'm not utterly hopeless at Mii Force, surprisingly, and I absolutely love Vagrant Story, which some folks who mostly play purely menu-driven RPGs apparently find difficult? Bzuh? but platformers are not for me and if I have to combine aim and timing I am probably going to die a lot. No amount of amazing story is worth it if all I'm going to do is die, or tear my hair out on some godawful minigame that I will never pass and cannot advance the plot without passing, I'm looking at YOU, Final Fantasy 7.
Level Two -- I'm actually pretty easy when it comes to making me like the gameplay on top of merely passing the 'can I actually play this game at all?' test; I want something to fiddle with. A game within a game, kind of. I am the kind of gamer who will spend hours playing with a sufficiently complex and interesting customization system. I could probably lose a whole day making Ashley Riot smith weapons, if I had enough materials gathered. I also do like minigames as long as they are also things that I can do. And when I have some open-ended play time (whether the whole game is like that or whether it's in between advance-the-plot segments, I really like having a variety of different things I can do, and I like having a nice varied menu of quests I can choose from to feel accomplished. FFXII is really good at that. FFX too. Also, Glitch was ENTIRELY like that -- no plot advancement, so it was all free time, tons of different things to do, plenty of quests to take on, etc. Man, I miss Glitch.
As long as a game passes the basic 'can I play it?' test, though, most of the time the real deciding factor is going to be a) characters, and b) story.
I personally have a deep love of second male leads, and they are often my favorite character from any given fandom, and I have my character development arc thing about characters who start off separated from people and end up connected (to oversimplify it immensely), and I have all sorts of buttons that characters might push, so if somebody jumps up and down on a few of them real good, that is certainly one way that a game might cause me to shell out money for its sequels, DAMN YOU CAPCOM WHY WON'T YOU TAKE MY MONEY-- ahem.
On the other hand, I want the new Zero Escape game like burning and there's not really any one character in either of the first two games who really made me go !!! a lot. I have favorites, but it's the ensemble cast and the tremendous WTF of the storyline that sucked me in there. (In this house we are very fond of anything where pretty much the entire cast is simultaneously made of win AND made of lose. Zero Escape is kinda like that. Ace Attorney is ALL ABOUT THAT. Also GetBackers and Tiger & Bunny, in non-game fandoms.)
...to be honest, though, that's all really a list of stuff that makes me like a game I've already played, not stuff that makes me buy a game or even decide I'd like to play a game. My decisions about new games mostly are based on their being part of a series I already like, or pantswarrior
handing them to me, or getting sucked into the fandom by friends talking about it or posting fic, or someone actively pimping the game, etc. For me to really be all YES TAKE MY MONEY at a game I haven't bought yet is almost exclusively the realm of known quantities, sequels to something I already love, whatever the reason I love it might be.
So, basically, MILES EDGEWORTH. XD (I... I might be a little fixated right now.)