Once again, I find myself sitting and staring at my game collection trying to figure out what to play.
I want something to muck about with for a while, but I also want to be totally engrossed for that time.
I want to have some carefree fun, while also feeling like I’ve achieved something.
Today, despite the sizable collection, none of the games caught my interest. None of them are going to fulfil what I’m craving right now, whatever that is… but I can only imagine that if a perfect game existed, then I would never have to think about which game I wanted to play and know where to go straight away.
Here I’m going to make an attempt at outlining something that if made, could well be the perfect game that I have always wanted, using a bit of imagination and sampling ingredients from some of my other favourite games.
It may not be to everyones taste, as it’s likely going to represent things that are good in my opinion, but here goes.
Story is a good place to start. Starting with the basic story or premise of the game for everything else to build on.
Very basic elements of a good story are a hero/heroine/anti-hero with a quest, growth of the character as they go on the quest, a twist in the tale and a resolution.
That’s all pretty meaningless on its own, but when its made to work you can get some great stuff (“I am your father” and all that).
The extra ingredients you need might include things like interesting, likable (or love-em-because-you-hate-em) characters, good vs. evil, grey areas, humour, tension, drama, sex appeal, growth of character, morality, lessons, having something at stake.
This works well with film and books and so on, where the story is spelled out and spoon fed to you. In games however, it can be mixed up a lot more, what with the interactive element.
I grew up with games that, much like books and films, had a linear story that your character followed. In more recent years however, taking advantage of player input, more and more games now give you options, and these options can change the course of the story considerably. Some so much so that you can put the same disk in your console and end up playing a completely different game.
That is what I love about the recent Fallout games (3 and Vegas). You have almost unlimited choice as to what your character can do and become. You can choose the fates of many people and even entire towns. They also manage to keep the story up and not lose any quality at the same time. In fact, it tends to deepen the tale.
I also love that you create your character from scratch at the beginning. You have the opportunity to create a replica of yourself and play the game as though you were in those situations, rather than playing along with a pre-created character and their attitudes. Although if you like to do that, then you can create someone who is nothing like you and play them instead.
So my perfect game would be an open world sandbox, with a character creation section and the possibility to mould the world into what you want it to be.
I have always thought that the gameplay itself was far more important than story.
The games we played when we younger had little or nothing in the way of story, yet we loved them. The snake has to eat the apples and avoid its tail, Mario has to save the kidnapped princess from the monsters, the coloured bricks must match for some reason!
In this perfect game, things are likely going to be a bit more complex than these older games, but we want to keep the simplicity of the controls, while still being able to do complicated tasks.
There are many games where the control system ruins it for the player. They may be unwieldy or unresponsive. They might be difficult to remember.
I have always thought the Playstation control is the perfect controller for handheld use. (Unless you are missing a hand…) It fits nicely in your palms, and you can reach every button with ease. The layout is nice and symmetrical. There is not a thing wrong with it.
Unlike the silly N64 thing with that mental chunky peninsula in the middle with an unreachable button on the back that for some reason controlled almost every important thing that you needed to do…
So my game would definately be available on Playstation (or any other console with a respectable controller).
I also like it that game makers seem to have an unwritten agreement to use the same buttons for the same/similar functions. E.g. R1 or R2 is generally a gun trigger nowadays (used to be the circle..), X is jump, Triangle is use item or interact and so on.
So in my game, I would try to keep to a similar sort of thing. Something like:
X – Jump ———————————- /\ – Interact
 – Attack ——————————– O – Defend/Dodge
R1 – Switch Weapon ——————- L1 – Toggle something…
R2 – Fire ——————————— L2 – Secondary Weapon Fire
Left Stick – Move ———————– Left Stick Click – Aim ranged weapon
Right Stick – Look around ———— Right Stick Click – Crouch
All depending on what the game ends up being anyway. L1′s function could be be something like its function in Jedi Power Battles, where while held it changed the function of the symbol buttons to represent various force powers or in X Men Legends where it had a similar role.
Here I am referring to the game genre, not the story. Of course if the story was a sci fi one, then the weapons used could be lazers and lightsabers and so on, whereas a fantasy story would include swords and magic.
But the game genre is different.
Will it be a platformer like Mario or Crash? An RPG like Final Fantasy, Fallout or KOTOR? A beat em up side scroller? A strategy game?
Now this is the real question. What genre would THE PERFECT GAME be? There is no perfect genre. Each has different enjoyment value.
Which is why THE PERFECT GAME will be a mixture!
I have already stated in the story section, that a Fallout, GTA, Red Dead Redemption style sandbox is preferable for the game world, so that sets up a starting point. The story genre would decide what the world would look like, whether it be interplanetary, ancient worlds or modern day. It would also likely be the deciding factor as to whether its a shooter or hack-n-slash. Although again I’d prefer both.
I would think that the genre would start out in an RPG style, where you customise your character, with looks and skills. They would then be set out into the world, where through missions could grow their influence and gather allies, either in the form of individual friends or even armies.
As this went on, a strategy element could be brought in. You could instruct your soldiers in battle much like the way you do in Age of Empires, while also being able to send yourself into battle and getting involved directly with the action rather than watching passively. Your own action could turn the tide of a battle. Similar to your role in the Star Wars Battlefront series.
I’ve also always been a fan of platformers, so depending on what sort of world you are in, this could too be an element in battle.
This could also open a number of multiplayer opportunities. Where two or more players play against (or coop) to take the world for themselves.
Collectable items are quite a popular way to keep interest in a game. Or a number of challenges.
Batman Arkham Asylum had you going back to the story after completion so that you could solve all of the Riddler’s Riddles, which either meant solving a puzzle or finding his hidden trophies.
This worked well, until you had found them all and were left with Batman hanging about at the Asylum with absolutely nothing left to do.. Go home Batman… go home.
The old Spyro the Dragon games on PS1 did this well however, a lot of the collectables were won through completing challenges that a player may wish to do again even after winning, such as a hockey mini game or the like. The prize was not the trophy you got, but the enjoyment of the challenge.
To be fair to Batman Arkham Asylum, its extra curricular challenge mode did this well too.
Perfect Game Examples
Here I’m going to attach my ideas to already existing franchises to see if I can translate them into something you could pick up and play whenever you felt like playing something.
Crash Bandicoot Warped Around The World
The Crash Bandicoot series was extremely popular in its time, and its a shame it has gone so downhill. I’d like to bring it back from to its heyday. Which would start by ignoring the new punky style and going back to the old look. (Updated graphics of course)
In story mode, Cortex is once more threatening world domination. He sends his minions out in search of crystals and gems. Once they are all gathered he can use them to power some sort of world domination device blabla the usual Crash synopsis pretty much…
You play as the heroes starting with Crash of course. As you go through the game, you meet/ rescue your allies you join your team and you can then choose to play as them in your missions.
Each level would be a mission to gain control of an area, while fighting off Cortex’ minions. Securing an area would award you with a crystal and advancement in the story. Presumably areas would be closed off to you until you furthered yourself in the story.
In multiplayer you could play cooperative or against each other. You choose a side, choose a character and fight it out in the various stages. There could be different challenges, target amount of kills/knockouts, capture an amount of crystals etc.
There would also be a versus adventure mode. It would be quite similar to the story, however the entire world would be open from the beginning. One player plays villains, one heroes. It will be a race to gather all of the crystals before the other. It would be possible to steal from other players. Villains would have the advantage of being able to create minions, (much weaker than regular characters) and send them to guard areas while the characters collect crystals themselves.
The multiplayer game would take place in various stages common in multiplayer versus games, where there may be a multi layered arena where players do battle. This game would include a lot more platforming elements than the normal style of Goldeneye or Halo.
There would be pick ups in the usual crates to boost power, health and so on. Aku Aku and Uka Uka protective masks may also be available.
X – Jump ———————————- /\ – Secondary/Heavy Attack
 – Attack ——————————– O – Crouch/Crawl
R1 – Aim Ranged Weapon ———- L1 – Block
R2 – Ranged Weapon —————- L2 – Pick up/ Grab / Ride
Left Stick – Move ———————– Left Stick Click – Aim ranged weapon
Right Stick – Look around ———— Right Stick Click -
Arrow Up – Follow Me Command—– Arrow Left – Taunt
Arrow Right – Spread Out Command – Arrow Down – Defend Here Command
These are the basic controls. Each character is unique, but their moves and special abilities will all follow the same control structure.
It would be best if every character from at least the first three games were present with a select few from later ones. Back to their original designs of course. This one one of the great things about CTR, there were less than a handful of characters missing and it gave everyone their favourite to play.
There will be different classes of character, which will allow some specific skills.
There will be three sizes, small, medium and large. Small characters are usually faster and can fit in small spaces. Large ones can lift heavy weights, which might be boulders to use as weapons, or moving objects to open up new areas. Medium ones can ride the ridable characters.
Most characters have unique moves.
Orange means that the move requires recharge time.
Using this system, the controls remain simple, but give so much variety and individualism for each character.
Everyone is likely to have different play styles and different characters that they enjoy most.
Using the command system to order your allies into battle also adds a more tactical slant to the battles.
There could be a seperate command screen too, to give more specific commands, like ordering an ally to a specific area on the map rather than the in-action commands.
Super Mario Sponge Off
Much like the Crash game, but translated into Mario World..
Star Wars Galactic Fight Fest
Take Star Wars Battlefront and tweak it so that it is what it should be.
First of all, add in the strategy element.
Begin by having the Age of Empires/ Command and Conquer style army command, but have the option to go into battle as an individual and switch back to the strategy map screen.
When having the ability to play as a Jedi character, have a better control system. So far in these games (besides the first) the Jedi have been awkward to control and underpowered. Although it complicates the controls somewhat, they really do need a different style.
Finally, the Galactic Conquest mode needs a reboot so that it is more in line with the strategy games. Rather than the turn based style it uses now, it would likely benefit from being real time, including some resource gathering and researching.
Bringing the best from the various Star Wars titles into one place would make for an epic game that would require no more Star Wars games to ever be made. Let’s Pick n Mix the ingredients!
* Jedi were at their best for power in the Jedi Knight series.
* Jedi Control was good in Force Unleashed.
* Jedi Duelling was fun in Episode III.
* Star Fighting was best in Rogue Squadron.
* Republic Commando was fantastic for troopers.
* Number of Character Choices were best in Lego Star Wars Complete Saga (in fact they might have too much choice – Gonk Droid, Womp Rat, Han in Carbonite. Fun though.)
* Character Uniqueness was best in Jedi Power Battles – each character had different strengths and weaknesses, so you really felt like you had to play to their skills.