Whether you are making a game as a induction into a library or designing an hour long escape game, you have to ensure that it’s possible. The feeling of joy when walking out from a building knowing you have completed the game and that it’s all over is something that the player needs. On rare occasions a “if I just did that a bit more…I could have just about done it!” is a good feeling, but it never tops the “YES!” I just finished that. The feeling you get
when you finally end the challenge that was set can be gratifying because of the effort and time you put in or the nice feeling when the narrative is over and all loose ends are tied. In the end a game is something designed to be completed (eventually), so finding a point where you either complete it or almost do is something that’ll get good reviews.
Another thing not to forget; it’s better for a part of your game to be too easy rather than too hard.
When designing a game, your thoughts can often turn to how you don’t want it to be over in a flash. That’s true, but from the perspective of someone new to games, they don’t want to get frustrated at something too hard. Again, whether this is a puzzle with clues that people can’t get their heads around or one where there is a huge difficulty spike (whatever format your game is in), players hate the feeling of being stuck on one problem with no way of solving it, even if it makes sense to some. So this is again finding the point where people can look at something or grab a controller and have enough time with that section without losing their cool or giving up.
Another piece of advice is always test a game. No matter what you make, something will probably go wrong eventually and better in a test than when in full swing. Whether it’s only a hiccup or a full blown catastrophe, being around people who understand that what you have made isn’t finished will provide a much more conducive atmosphere to getting your game back on it’s feet. Even if nothing goes wrong, once you’ve seen what happens and how people play it you can rest a little easier.
Most things on this list may seem simple, but they are what makes a good game great and a great game even better. By using these points to ensure people aren’t put off you can focus on making the experience the one you want to deliver to everyone.