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'Whatís your favorite game feature thatís often overlooked?'
'Whatís your favorite game feature thatís often overlooked?'
August 8, 2014 | By Christian Nutt




Video games can have so much in them -- that's a reason we love them, the boundless potential of the medium.

That's why it's hard to figure out what to include and what not to include when you're making one. What will make an impact on people? What will get your game noticed -- or even loved?

The fact of the matter is, though, that often the smallest features can make the biggest difference. And the hardest-to-implement can also pay the biggest dividends with audiences.

To that end, we asked our Twitter followers the question: "Whatís your favorite game feature thatís often overlooked or under-appreciated?" We got answers back both big and small, both technical and design-oriented. We've included them below.

Remember, if you're interested in participating in these conversations in the future, make sure to follow @Gamasutra on Twitter. The questions usually go out on Fridays in the late morning, Pacific time, alongside Tweets of our regular news, blogs, and original writing.





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Comments


Simon Ludgate
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My favourite often-overlooked feature is New Game+ :)

Ron Dippold
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Mobs on map. Random fights were acceptable when resources were limited, but then Final Fantasy turned it into a signature misfeature long after it was necessary.

James Yee
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Totally agree.

Derick Ballard
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Huh, strange. This never bothered me much. I guess I have just learned to expect it in turn-based RPGs. To this day some of the older RPGs (early Final Fantasys or Phantasy Stars) are more immersive than those nowadays. I don't feel like wandering monsters has much to do with it. Just my 2 cents. :)

Ron Dippold
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@Derick: I still have nightmares (okay, just grimaces) about Skies of Arcadia. That was such a fantastic RPG, one of the best ever, except for random encounters every 5 steps. Sometimes you really do want to fight all comers, and sometimes you're deep in a tricky dungeon, nowhere near a save point as far as you can tell, and you can't even keep track of where you've been because of the sheer number of encounters. Breath of Fire 2 I'm looking at you.

Mostly it's about being able to choose whether or not you're in the mood for it, not the level of immersion.

Luis Guimaraes
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Customizable controls and a Skip button on cutscenes.

Kai Boernert
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Ability to repeat already seend cutscenes. Because playing a 1 hour level again, because you got a call midcutscene is annyoing.

Javier Degirolmo
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Your problem seems to be more being unable to pause a cutscene.

But yeah, being able to rewatch a cutscene is still useful. Maybe you forgot something that was said before. Maybe you couldn't understand well what was going on so you want to look at it again. And sometimes you just want to rewatch a cutscene because you liked it :P

Steve Fulton
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Save anywhere.

Chris Dias
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Credit screens that can be read at ones own pace or skipped over entirely, rather than scroll across the screen like the end of a movie.

Not having lives. (Why do Mario game still have them?)

Subtitles.

Hints/UI that changes to match customized controls.

Jon Hartman
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The lives have no effect in 3D Mario, but in 2D Mario, they have a large impact. Tossing them would require a massively different approach to design.

Jay N
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Wario Land II did away with lives, and is an absolute masterpiece.

Just sayin'.

Javier Degirolmo
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Sound tests. They used to be way more common during the 4th generation (most games had them), but developers realized they could make money by selling the soundtrack so now they don't implement a sound test in their games anymore :/

And yes, I'm aware that isn't directly related to gameplay.

Larry Carney
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Fast forward, like in Chrono Cross. When level design is terrible, why force your audience to slog through it?

Adam Bishop
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Bravely Default has a fast forward button in combat.

Kai Boernert
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A good alternative is (based on the game type/design)
To allow a skip after several unsucessfull tries or offer some key hints in puzzle games.

Kujel Selsuru
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These last couple of years the feature I feel that is most overlooked is gameplay. The industry has got an unhealthy obsession cinematics and a lot of the newer games coming out aren't as good and have me watching someone else talk. Could we get at least more interactivity in these expositions we get quite a few of them these days.

Oh and maybe a little more procedural generation cause that can add a fair amount of replay value.

Aiden Eades
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For me, character customization. What I loved about games like Diablo 2 was the ability to micromanage my characters stats, skills everything. It's why I was disappointed by Diablo 3. Even just physical customization is a boon in my eyes and I wish more games would make use of it.

Stephen Korrick
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In strategy games, I'd have to say stats, graphs, charts and infographics representing the flow of the game. I love detailed data on the economic changes and military engagements that appear in post-game stats screens. I'm not really sure why, but I'm always disappointed when they're not included.

Jennis Kartens
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Proper interface design. Good usability and good visuals.

That seems to be rocket science nowadays (interesting enough, it wasn't 10 years ago). Usability is always last.

Oh and NO FU**** SAFE AREAS. It's the worst.

Richard Worsley
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Camera angles for third-person action games that prioritise lower, zoomed camera angles over pragmatics. I want to see the battlefield. I need periphery. Japanese action games are the worst culprits, and it's asinine decisions like this that made Ninja Gaiden II unplayable.

Unlockable characters and cutscenes - there's a tendency to think everything should be unlocked from the start, particularly fighters, because it makes for a frustrating online experience or their 'mystique' can be ruined by online playthroughs. I seriously disagree. A starting roster makes the player test out characters they may have never experimented with, gain an appreciation for more characters, and feel overwhelmed with choice. Unlocking characters can also hold a narrative bullet-point towards a character's 'introduction' or participation in the tournament's world. And the thrill of seeing a new high-production cutscene, feature or video within my game, and not on some URL, still holds true today.

Jon Hartman
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Split screen. Nearly the ONLY benefit of consoles, and its still almost extinct.

Mihai Cosma
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Integrating gameplay with what's happening on a the screen. I loved that your character starts wheezing in State of Decay if you let him to after a fight. It doesn't matter for anything, but that extra involvement in how you play the game and what it means for you. I enjoyed the after-fight wheezing as much as the actual combat.

Nick DeCastro
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If I had to pick one, it would be User Interface (UI)--both menus and in gameplay. When a UI is done well it almost becomes unnoticeable as to how good it is. Example: So many games that have loot upgrades have a general inventory system. Pick up a new gun and you have to search for it in your inventory. I recently tried the Destiny beta and each character slot has its own mini-inventory beside it, keeping all wearable loot well organized and easy to find. This is such an improvement over a general inventory system that you wonder why all games aren't done this way.

Others on my list are sound, music, split screen (for consoles), smooth progression of difficulty, minimizing or eliminating load screens, VOIP, drop in/drop out coop, terrain/environment, and player reward system for time spent (even when player is failing).


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