Those of us who have played a truly incredible game know that feeling when we’re playing it and when we beat it. For those of you who aren’t as fortunate, well, you really should pick better video games or something. At least this rant will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.
You Know That Feeling..?
When I’m playing a really good game and heavily invested in the story, there are some pretty obvious signs. The first sign that isn’t too common is goosebumps. Occasionally, moments in games will be so good that I can feel that familiar sensation on my skin. Like I said, this one isn’t too common for me, and I can only really think of maybe two instances where it happened. I’m more likely to get goosebumps playing a really scary horror game than anything. But maybe that’s just me.
Another effect, and I know this one is more common and general, is your emotions start to replicate the ones in the game. You feel fear when the characters in the game do, excitement when they’re excited, sorrow when disaster strikes, and so on. The game’s devs make you feel exactly what they want you to feel because you’re so invested in the story and gameplay. In most games, you just sit there and play them, maybe occasionally feeling something every now and then. And no, rage because you keep dying doesn’t count. A good game will make you feel, and often too.
And finally, arguably one of the most common effects you get when playing a truly incredible game shows up when you finally beat it. This is really two signs, but I’m combining them together. If you feel a sense of emptiness or a desire to find out what’s next, then that game had a great story. You just beat the game, and now you feel hollow because you want more. You want to see what’s next, and you want it now! An empty feeling you get from a bad game is different. You feel more annoyance and anger with that empty feeling.
One of the best and most recent examples of these effects happening to me was Red Dead Redemption 2. If you haven’t played it yet, do it. Best story I’ve played in years by far. Also, spoilers for anyone who hasn’t beat it yet; read at your own risk. Red Dead Redemption 2 had me hooked in no time with the story, gameplay, and customizations. The story really drew me in, and I soon felt the effects of playing this incredible game. For example, that mission where the gang rides together to get little Jack Marston back was one of the best parts of any game ever. Seeing them put any differences aside to go kick the ass of some people who took Jack, ride together with such purpose and fury, and completely destroy anyone who stood in their way was perfect.
The second example in RDR2 that really got me is a huge spoiler as well. The ending when your horse gets shot, and you can comfort it before it dies. That definitely got to me. I had a horse who, apart from occasionally ran off with my guns and didn’t answer my whistles, was as loyal and as courageous as they got. So seeing him get shot and feeling the emotion of Arthur comforting his loyal steed really made me feel. The devs really did a great job with the game, and it showed when I wanted even more, though I knew what happened next since I played the original RDR.
To summarize, it is in my opinion that all truly great games will have at least one of these effects on you while playing it or after you beat it. Of course, some games can still be great even if they don’t have this effect on you, but games that do are a level above the ones that don’t. The same can also be said for movies, TV shows, and books too. In any case, if you have ever felt these feelings while playing a game, you know exactly what I’m talking about.