The 3 Elements Of A Perfect Game
My guaranteed rule to determine what makes a game worth playing
I would consider myself a newbie when it comes to video games. I’ve played a bunch on my own as well as with my husband, and some hold my interest more than others. Over time, I’ve begun to notice common features between the games those games that hold my interest.
A decent game will have at least one of these three features. A good game will have at least two. A great game that I will play over and over again will have all three. Everyone has their own litmus test of sorts for what makes a game fun but I have a definitive list. Name a game that you like, it almost definitely has at least one of these three elements.
Maybe there’s horseback riding, maybe there’s jousting, maybe there are just horses in the background that your character can look at. The bottom line is that if there aren’t horses in the game, I don’t want it.
The reason Red Dead Redemption 2 held my interest for so long was that I got to name my horse and ride her and give her treats. I’m serious. Obviously, the story was interesting, and don’t even get me started on the graphics, but the fact that I could customize my horse? That made the game worth it.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But I stand by it that horses are a fantastic addition to any team in a game.
I’ve been playing a lot of Miitopia and Fire Emblem: Three Houses lately and in both of those games I was surprised and pumped to see that horses played such a big role. In Miitopia, you can create your own horse (make it a fun color, pick its hairstyle, etc) and build up a relationship with it so that it helps you out in battles. I’m sorry, WHAT? I can spend the night in the stables with my new pet horse to become best friends with it AND I get to snort fire at bad guys? Sign me up.
Even in Fire Emblem one of the main stats for each character is riding. I haven’t gotten quite that far in the game yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what that entails. As long as I can at least pet the horse or even give the horse a carrot every now and then I’ll be sold.
All of my favorite games include some sort of fishing mini-game: The Sims 4, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley; even Miitopia includes fishing activities. In some games, it’s just a quick way to make a few extra bucks. In others, it’s a full skill set that improves over time and allows the characters to catch better creatures as they improve.
While I despise fishing in real life, I can’t get enough of it in games. It’s so easy to do in The Sims and is a great start when playing a rags-to-riches challenge (in which you start your Sim on an empty lot with zero money). It’s time-consuming but it’s pretty easy to build up the skill and improve over a few in-game days.
One of my favorite things to do in Stardew Valley is trying to catch ALL of the fish in the game. There are dozens of them, including five secret legendary fish that are super hard to find and catch. It adds an extra spice to the game and gives me something to focus on in the winter (when there isn’t a whole lot else to do).
I’m a sucker for a great farming simulator. Just like with fishing, I’m not the kind of girl that generally enjoys being, uh, outside. I don’t like bugs, I don’t like getting too hot, and I have killed every plant I’ve ever had (including but not limited to not one, but TWO CACTI IN COLLEGE). However, I love the idea of living on a farm and getting to tend to my crops and harvest different plants.
In some games you can splice together different plants and create brand new crops, in some you can create decorations with flowers that you grow, or eat your crops for energy. There are some aspects of games where you have to grow certain plants in order to cook specific recipes. There’s an added element of realism there which makes the game all the more special.
I’m not an outdoorsy type but I love the idea of living on a farm and growing all of my own food to help reduce my carbon footprint and, let’s be real, actually get in 10,000 steps every day. But seeing as I probably won’t move to a big farm any time soon, I’ll settle for the farming simulators on my PC and Nintendo Switch for now.
While this is definitely not up for debate, there are of course other lovely games that don’t include any of these features. One of my favorite games of all time is Super Mario Sunshine which doesn’t have any sort of farming or fishing or animals of any kind. It doesn’t mean that Mario isn’t a great game. It means that everyone has different tastes and preferences in their gameplay.