Judging Criteria

March 19, 2012

First person puzzle games have become increasingly popular recently. Older elder scrolls games had some puzzles and the first Half-life game featured a fair bit of puzzles, but the genre never really rocketed until Valve released Portal, then more puzzle games were released emphasizing the first-person puzzle aspect following portal’s example. With this newly popularized genre, how do you judge which games are better than which?

  1. Reward. Progressing through the show should feel rewarding without being too much so. Especially in puzzle games, there must be some reason for wanting to continue.
  2. Difficulty. The puzzles should be realistically difficult to where they can be completed with enough focus and should progressively become more difficult. This can also add to the sense of reward
  3. Mechanics. This is a definite. Having some confusing rules that work when you grow accustomed to them could make or break a puzzle game.
  4. Dynamics. How the player interacts with the world is largely important in puzzles. Having multiple possible solutions to a single puzzle can make it far more fun.
  5. Graphics. They are first-person, which generally means 3D. Graphic quality can also contribute to clarity of the puzzles and the inevitable feeling of reward afterward.

Those, in my opinion, are the top five qualities to a first-person puzzle game, in order from greatest to least. What do you think?


2 Responses to “Judging Criteria”

  1. voltiare said

    I wholeheartedly agree with your ranking of the mechanics. Reward is a huge reason for wanting to solve the puzzle in the first place, while a good puzzle game doesn’t really need flashy graphics. In a perfect world, all of those aspects would get equal attention, but most games have budgets and deadlines to meet, so some choices have to be made

  2. Airtr00per said

    Another agreement here. This list is definitely is the best order. If a puzzle game were to not reward a player not completing something difficult, most likely they wouldn’t really want to continue.

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