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  1. #1
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    Name the best designed game ever and tell us why!

    Yeah, what is it? And especially, WHY is that the best designed game ever?
    NO GAMEPLAY QUALITY, PLEASE! Just the looks and the sounds of only one of your favourite games..

    I'll start with my nr. 1 of all time: "WIPEOUT"!

    Why's: The Designers Republic is a graphic design facility that won the pitch to design the world of Wipeout. Which is actually weird, since these guys do graphic- and motion design for tv. And they decided to make something different then all the other Star Wars-like futuristic racers and created a unique visuals which influenced every graphic designer on this planet after the game was published. The simple shapes, square-edged typography and awesome vehicles follow the same visual language and build a world of absolute coolness.
    Sound is also a BIG issue. It wasn't a usuall cinematic background music but something that gamers could identify with immediately. This game made Prodigy, Chemical Bros, Leftfield, Fluke, and many others come out HUGE!

    So, that's my very best. Let me hear what you think folks.

    Best regards,


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  3. #2
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    I can never narrow it down to one but heres a couple of favourites that pop to my head.

    Shadow of the colossus
    Well the music is top notch really moving and has a huge influence on feelings through the game. The character has a simple design yet you really get the feel of him being a lone wanderer. Finally the colossus, big, bad, graceful, destructive, placid. Its everything slotted together that makes this game great.

    Otogi: myth of demons and Otogi 2: imortal warriors
    I really love the design of this game. Its basically a mythological japan type setting. Character design is superb and portrays the character well as some tpe of Godlike/demon slayer. Demons are incredibly original. Alot of them are very bizarre yet fit in perfectly. The larger boss type characters are always quite menacing, Especially the centipede. one of my favourite things about the design is the small illustrations of weapons/demons and accessories. Each thumbnail is as if you are reading some ancient parchment created by a calligrapher.
    The music too really makes you feel more at home, its very traditonal based yet with a sort of tranquil and hypnotic feel to it.
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    game: the chaos engine

    Why?

    Graphics: everything screams "steampunk". the menus use their limited color palette to the max while fitting perfectly to the main theme of steam powered technology.

    the character design is varied and interesting enough to have at least one favorite character while the enemies really look like they need to be wiped off the planet (giant,slimeball-throwing hands... URRRHH).

    the game world itself follows the concept of a technically advanced victorian era scenario, created in dan malone's uniqe graphic style.

    MUSIC: ambient techno- beats, sporadic but effective voice samlpes and memorable sound effects, that dont get on your nerves.

    "How do you know you're good enough?" "You know." "What if you're wrong?" "You find out."

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    So you mean the game with the best presentation? I don't know about EVER, but what floats right to mind is Okami. T

    he graphics are beautiful thanks to ingenius use of cellshading to achieve this fantastic Japanese ink n' watercolor feel, and also Clover's ingenius use of particles and polys to make the game run smooth as silk on your PS2. As far as all the ingame menus and screens for the game goes, not a single one feels out of place. Beautifly detailed Japanese scrolls roll across the screen when the game loads a new area, and your pause menu is based on a fan with different, kickass illustrations for each section. All of this is complimented by a stirring, powerful soundtrack.

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    monkey island 3: Beautiful graphics for it's time that still hold up now IMO, great music that doesn't get repetitive, really well written too

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    carmageddon.. - JAG
    it's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything..

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    Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Super Mario games yet? I always thought they looked super fun. They really made the best off the sometimes limited technology back then, on the Super NES especially.
    Zelda: Link to the Past looked great too. Lovely colors and character design.

  9. #8
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    I'd go with Shadow of the Colossus, Okami and Silent Hill.
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    Hi and thanks for replies!

    Mr Man: I heard that all this is true. Didn't play it though..

    VirusArtist: Yes, i also think it's one of those special games that stays in one's mind.

    Snuggles: Okami? Never heard. Must immediately check it out...

    invinciblewombat: Everybody is in love with that game, so there must be a good reason for that.

    JAG.: Why?

    John: If i didn't choose Wipeout as my fav, i would have say either Zelda or Mario. It's a gorgeous example of simple, yet beautifull design made within limited technology.

    Interceptor: Why?

    Keep posting, folks.

    Cheers,

  11. #10
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    I take it you're talking about visual design and not game design. Wipeout does look nice, but as a game I find it mediocre.

    3D

    - I always thought Quake 1 had a nice atmosphere with the brown theme and spiky gritty monsters. It worked well with the gfx abilities of the time.

    - Elite Frontier for the Amiga did some interesting things to spaceship design. This was of course due to the polycount limit, but I always appreciated the simplicity of the wedge-ufo approach. I can imagine it looking very nice with a celda engine.

    Pixels

    - Raiden II is very yummy looking. Lots of attention to detail, like the environment taking damage.

    - The GBA Kirby games have nice sprite animation.

    - Advance Wars of course. The characters and sprites really makes the whole theatre come to life.

    - Bitmap bros'...

    - I think M.U.L.E did some interesting things visually with the little gfx resources it had. Very simplified and readable.

    - I used to spend a lot of time as a kid drawing robots from Megaman and Blaster Master. Very readable and cute graphics. I like robots. I used to repeatedly have Jason (Blaster Master) jump out in into the car-tank just because it looks so damned awesome and cute. I haven't seen any game replicate that as of yet.
    Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.

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    Full Throttle | Best looking adventure game out there. I wish I still had my copy, I loved this game. The attention paid to detail and the lovely color palette (as opposed to, say Monkey Island) was a blast. The design was right between realism/road movie and typical adventure graphics. And don't forget Ben's chin

    Jedi Knight | As with most merchandise-games, this game was rather rushed and had no consequent style. But the atmosphere of most of the levels was just awesome.

    Unreal | Why? Because it was the extreme opposite of Quake's linear and monotone design. It was colorful, gigantic and was full of life. It wasn't just the visuals, but the soundscape was amazing.

    Rune | I think the guys at Human Head did a great job. Barely a game since the pixel-age that has revived the atmosphere of adventure, journey and battle so nice. I remember nice spots, great attention to detail and the textures were mindblowing. I would go back to my favourite levels over and over.

  13. #12
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    I'm going have to go with:

    Shadow of the Colossus: I just got into this game recently. The whole world is beautifully layed out and designed. And the first time you come across one of the colossi is remarkable.

    Katamari Damacy: The design aesethic is simple but beautiful...and I love the music.

    And this might be a cheat...since it's not out yet, but I'm really liking the way the new Zelda game is looking. Hopefully it'll come out before the sun goes supernova cuz i'd really like to play it.
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  14. #13
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    The big thing about Shadow of the Colossus is the emotions. Sure the world design is beautiful and gameplay is envigorating. But the emotions are top notch. You have to travel all around to kill these colossus. Why? So you can bring your friend back to life. So you go around killing these colossus that really were just minding their own business. They werent destroying villages or devouring the planet. They are just chillin, living a peaceful colossus life. Then this little greedy punk come up on his horse and starts laying waste to these giants. When they are killed it's sad. It makes you wonder, who is the bad guy here? Is this girl worth the death of these beautiful creatures? And *spoiler*














    I havent felt for a horse like that since Never Ending Story

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    Homeworld 1 and 2 are tops in my list.

    Shadow of the Colossus also; and it did its job too well on me. I'll probably never finish the game because well, I can't stand to kill the Colossi *just* for some girl.

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    WORD! I actually had that UGH feeling in the pit of my stomach for Agro...man, i was like NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    I'd say Shadow of the Colossus and Ico are the best designed games hand down, you'd have to be retarded to say otherwise. They aren't games, they're EXPERIENCES!

    Also, I'd have to say the Kingdom Hearts series is really underrated...its surprisingly complex and awesome...one of those games where if you haven't played it you're like "LAME DISNEY AND FINAL FANTASY HOW RETARDED IS THAT" but if you have you're like "WELL, ITS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE COOLEST COMBINATIONS THAT HAS EVER BEEN CONCIEVED".

    The Monkey Island series (1,2,3) were awesome...

    REZ is pretty sweet.

    I'd have to say pokemon was pretty innovative too...really well done design, it didn't become ridiculously popular for no reason..

    and TOTAL ANNIHILATION! *high fives prom

    And Silent Hill.

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    Unfortunately I don't get to play PS2 games, and they're wonderfully well designed. Played Onimusha3 once - mind blowing. Itching to play Shadow of Colossus and Black.

    Three titles come to mind (I know you said 1, but c'mon)

    Doom3 - the levels were mind blowingly well designed, never confusing but always interesting. Download the GTX graphics mod and you have one of the most visually pleasing titles on the market. On top of that the audio was just awesome. Think Trent from NIN did the sound - it rocks. Turn the volume up high and hear those very subtle background tunes, beautiful.

    Max Payne 2 - Everything in the game works so bloody well. The music, the narrative, graphics. Love the gritty Film Noir motif, just rocks my world. Graphics were superbly handled, still has some flucking awesome shadows effects. The music - those violins takes the monologue narratives to the next level, and often manages to avoid the cliches in the text.

    Prince of Persia series - 'nuff said.

    There are a dozen others for me - WarCraft3, Diablo series, Battle Realms, Half Life, Total Annihilation, Quake series, many more.

    - d.

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    carmageddon because [for its time] had an excellent environment engine.. and with all the cars and chaos bouncing around the screen, could hold its own against most other, even with the animated and VERY pixelated graphics. i dont think any other game from that time was as fun to play.. it never got old.

    and definitely max payne.. both of them. with the game features and the interwoven graphic novel cut-scenes.. and interactive environment. very cinematic, excellent styling. - JAG
    it's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything..

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    Hi there!

    I see it's practically impossible to pick just one game as a fav. There are just too many good games outthere.

    But, exept of the Shadow of the Collossus, favourites are obviously more old-school games. And that's how i come to the reason for opening this discussion: Why is that so?

    Are game designers blinded by the bling-bling and hype about graphic technology? I don't think so. WE are also the ones who design them. Yes, many people in this community are shaping games, me included.
    So what are we doing wrong?

    Where is that excitement of riding over Hyrile fields in Zelda, where's the fear of walking through hallways of Resident Evil's mansion, Raiden's unforgettable outfit in Mortal Combat or the beauty of the ancient temples in Tomb Raider?

    Your turn,

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    i guess onimusha, onimusha 2, onimusha 3, devilmaycry, devilmaycry 3,

    shadow of the colosuss. doom 3, castlevania synphony of the night, viewtiful joe.

    gears of war.

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    Chupa, now I see what you're aiming at.

    I think an important aspect is the age of a person/player. I began playing games at the edge of the pixel/polygon ages. At that time I was ca. 8 years old. Back then, image quality was limited. Visuals weren't in a magical way better or more fascinating than nowadays. But the soul of a child is more manipulable than a grown person's disaffected mind. It was a sparkling, fast moving world of magic. The new games still are, but in a more adult way. That's why I love Full Throttle (1995), Prom loves pixel games and a person born after 1990 is enchanted by Tomb Raider.

    However, there IS a loss in the content. Today's most "valueable" games are dealing with realism. As a former hobby level designer with Unreal, I have been adding to this myself. You want your game to be more believable and less magical. That's a shame.

    If you ask me, I've been waiting for a game that fullfills my dreams for years now, and my hope slowly fades. Looking at what Epic/DigitalExtremes/Legend did with their Unreal merchandise, this series is a good example. Unreal had sparkling energy guns, slowly moving projectiles with a kind of magic theme. UT pushed the tempo because it was a multiplayer game (see below). Faster and at the same time more limited and realistic. Soundscape and music was mostly removed to give the "gameplay" a more prominent touch. Let's skip UT 2003 as it was really unfinished. With UT 2004, there came another move towards realism. With Gears Of War has replaced energy weapons with low-tech bullet guns (ok, another universe, but it's the timeline, player's preference and economic aspects that are important here).

    It's a generational question. I want my magic back, nowaday's kids want to be thrown into a world by it's realism. I want the content, they want the entertaining shell. Ask a kid about Myst and he'll laugh at you (or worse, kill you).

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    To me, the biggest let down of modern games and gamers is the lack of imagination involved. I remember playing Red Alert and imagining how it really would have been instead of taking the pixel sprites seriously. Back then, games demanded a lot more attention from the players, and that involved them more. These days, developers aren't leaving an awful lot to the imagination, and so players don't get dragged into the game. Stories and concepts have been getting stronger, but immersion in the game is something that is often overlooked, and very few developers are pulling this off.

    Recently got to play the demo of Defcon - an indie developed game, same peeps who did Darwinia and that hacking game. The graphics stretch no further than a technical representation of events akin to those radar screens you see in movies. The result is, it leaves a lot to the imagination, and whilst not everyone finds this appealing I'm digging it.

    Developers overall should try to immerse the players more imo, get them involved. FEAR, for instance, utilizes a first person view throughout almost the whole game, helping to immerse the player. This train of thought would do many other games good imho.

    - d.

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    Silent hill series; This is the perfect example of an amazing and original design, mood, etc with a really really crappy gameplay.

    A real success IMHO from the art crew for making it popular.

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    Unreal - sound superb (esp in dolby surround); design - still one of the best, hence the spawning of so many other unreal titles.

    Resident Evil 4 - Hands down the best and most refined resident evil. Character/creature design was top notch, level design great, and the sound was superb.

    Street Fighter 2 - Still one of the best designed fighters ever made. Simple and yet effective. Who on this earth would not recognize the likes of Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, ETc. ?

    Ninja Gaiden (xbox) - sound and graphics alone bring this one to the top of the list.

    Jet Set Radio - Very distinctive style at the time and some kickin tunes.

    Final Fantasy Online - (FFXI) - I played this for a short while and I can honestly say that the character design alone was mind blowing.

    Metroid Prime - beautiful to behold and listen to. I just remember playing this at christmas time and being in the ice area and feeling like I was having christmas inside the tv haha.

    Zelda & Mario series - goes along with the street fighter idea of everyone knowing who these characters are.

    Sonic the hedgehog 1-3 - characters, sound, playability...all rolled into one.
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    Regarding your comment Chupacabra, the newest Zelda game may be for younger guys what A Link to the Past was for me. I played a number of games, and after Doom, Heretic, Quake 1, 2 and 3 and several other shooters - the same goes for other genres, i just chose this as an example - the design principles for the FPS genre just aren't new to me anymore. Doom was fascinating because it was new.
    Something else is that graphics are tied to gameplay. I don't believe in "i would still play an ugly game if the gameplay was good". If a game is well designed, and the graphics are functional, it will still look good to the player. I can't think of a game that was great despite it's bad looks. If you take a game like Lemmings for instance with it's little green pixel guys, it was still beautiful to looks at, not only because of the almost necessarily - by design - fluid animation, but also because of the game principle itself. Having a ton of little people walk around doing their thing just looked good. Similarly i think a well designed character is a story element just like well written dialog. So when i dislike Pokemon, it's because their character design - story - does not appeal to me, not because it is a bad game.
    I sometimes wondered why, with the great designs i saw from some artists, some games looked so boring. I can only presume that that is a matter of production and art direction, since the individual artists often don't seem to be at a loss for original designs. I guess that is up to individual developers. Maybe with the advances in hardware, low level programming and technical limitations on game design are becoming less problematic and we see even more diversity in game design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by demented
    Developers overall should try to immerse the players more imo, get them involved. FEAR, for instance, utilizes a first person view throughout almost the whole game, helping to immerse the player. This train of thought would do many other games good imho.
    I understand that's just an opinion, but to offer one in the contrary--many people don't necessarily want to be immersed in a game. That's probably why games such as Tetris, Snood, and The Sims have done so well. You can play these games for just a few minutes a day if you want, you don't need to spend hours playing them just to get anywhere, with the exception of The Sims. Although, in The Sims, you can play for 10-15 min. save it, and go do whatever, you don't need to "make it to the end of the level" or "make it to a save spot." Personally, I enjoy either types of games--FPS's (high-level of immersion), and casual games (low-level)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabo
    However, there IS a loss in the content. Today's most "valueable" games are dealing with realism.
    I think you hit it right on the head there. Most games now are going for realism, so, it's kind of taken the artist as creator out of the picture. It's difficult to add artistic style to something that actually exists or is based off reality.



    Otherwise, one modern game that springs to mind to have great artistic style is Zelda: The Wind Waker. There are certain things about it that I just love to watch over and over--for example the puffs of smoke, the design of Link's boat, the b&w underwater Hyrule (and then how it turns to color), that huge bird, etc. That whole game is great. Also, as someone else mentioned before, the artistic design of Viewtiful Joe is refreshing, too. I've always held Xenogears (for PS1) in high esteem for it's character designs and artwork. I love the environments in that game--and it's blending of 2D "sprite-based" characters with 3D environments.

    -Chris

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    many people don't necessarily want to be immersed in a game. That's probably why games such as Tetris, Snood, and The Sims have done so well.
    When you play tetris you're immersed from the first second. It's part of the game. Your concentration is taken from the first second as you solve the problems that keep popping up.

    However, there IS a loss in the content. Today's most "valueable" games are dealing with realism.
    Realism has to be conceived, designed, and modeled as well. There is a considerable difference between models that have been badly modelled from pictures and models that have been "created". There is good and bad realistic graphics in games. Is a movie at a loss in terms of value because it plays in a realistic setting? Compare the models from Gran Tourismo HD and those from any GTA third party car model.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John
    When you play tetris you're immersed from the first second. It's part of the game. Your concentration is taken from the first second as you solve the problems that keep popping up.
    I'm not arguing whether it's a gripping game, but by no means do you feel as immersed in the game--that you're actually in it, that you're actually the blocks falling--as you do with say something like Doom, where, you actually take on the role of the Marine fighting the mutants. I don't think of games where you're acting as the literary equivalent to 3rd person narrative as being immersive. You really don't feel the emotional connection in a puzzler as you would in a FPS, and if you think you do, you might want to check whether you're confusing emotion for addiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Realism has to be conceived, designed, and modeled as well. There is a considerable difference between models that have been badly modelled from pictures and models that have been "created". There is good and bad realistic graphics in games. Is a movie at a loss in terms of value because it plays in a realistic setting? Compare the models from Gran Tourismo HD and those from any GTA third party car model.
    What? Your point is lost on me, I don't think I'm the only one (maybe I am, and it's just because I'm kind of tired)... What do movies have to do with anything? (so no feelings are hurt--I'm not trying to put you down, just would like you to clear up your point)

    -Chris

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    John: Of course realism has to be created. But that creation is limited to a certain amount of abstraction. And to me, abstraction is one of the most important parts in a game, if you want it to be magical. A contemporary movie setting is often a good theme, but that's because it's a movie. Film can bring up a dozen times more emotion than a computer game (that's why people around the world love Max Payne. It's an interactive movie).

    In a computer game, what makes you get goosehumps is a nice looking, atmospheric sounding environment. That's what Rune was good at. In the first level of the game after the intro, you find yourself trapped underwater. There's bodies of comrades floating around you. You have to find your way through ship wracks and eventually end up in a huge underwater cave filled with 3 foot big crabs. The whole soundscape seems to yell at you "you're twohundred feet under the ocean". The walls of the cave make dark sounds, echoes of critters everywhere. That was one of the most exciting and most atmospheric things I've ever experienced in a game.

    Max Payne is set in a real environment, but it has bullet time. GTA has a comic background. But stuff like America's Army or Counterstrike has nothing like that. In these, the "special" is multiplay-action. That's why there's barely no "highly-realistic" singleplay game. It would be boring.

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    Ok, that immersion thing was a misunderstanding i think blakboks. Been a bit tired yesterday.
    I agree on wind waker, it's the one gamecube title i'd like to play. Non photo realistic rendering - i think that's what it's usually called - is a good road for developers to take if they don't take a realistic approach. TF2 is supposed to look rendered, Okami has a very pretty engine, Windwaker did good things with cellshading. There's a lot of opportunity there to waste resources on nice effects.
    Jabo, yeah that's pretty much what i was getting at with the reality comment. It's similar to portrait painting, a good portrait can be a caricature to a certain degree. A bad portraitist badly tries to copy what is before him, while a good one "invents" it. So it's similar with games, there's wooden "realistic" character models in some games, and slightly abstracted but more realistic models in others.
    I'm not really into invented places though anymore. I liked the somewhat cartoony version of Miami in GTA VC. I think the new hardware let's developers explore this part more.

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    Yes, the Zelda Windwaker is one of the best "new" games for me.
    It did actually wake up the kid in me. Especially because of Cell Shading.
    I hope the new one can top it.

    Cheers,

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