From The Adventure Gamer
By The TAG Team
|Environment and Atmosphere|
The final category is the most ephemeral of them all, since atmosphere of a game is something hard to point out. Essentially, we are speaking of the capacity of the game to create a feeling of immersion – that magical moment in which we forget the world around us and are inevitably sucked into the game world. It is what makes us shiver, when playing a horror game, and laugh uncontrollably, when playing a comedy.
The problem of subjectivity with this category is almost inevitable. For instance, a reviewer with nostalgic feelings toward a game will have more chance of being immersed in the game than a reviewer who has not played it before. And what is even worse, even one reviewer might have different views about the atmosphere of the game, depending on their current state (just try immersing yourself in a game after a stressful day). Despite the subjective nature of this category, can we still find some criteria, by which to say, when a game has excellent atmosphere? Other questions you might consider:
- You sometimes see opinions that adventure games must be comedies, since creative adventure game puzzles don’t really make sense in a serious setting. Is it still possible to make, for instance, adventure games with a gritty atmosphere?
- More generally, which is more important for an adventure game – puzzles or atmosphere? In other words, which should have a better overall score – an adventure game with original and interesting puzzles, which would otherwise be uninspiring, or an immersive adventure game with only mediocre puzzles? And more generally, should we evaluate adventure games as games or as works of entertainment/art?
- Some reviewers have suggested that there are additional elements of adventure games, which are not included in PISSED-scoring (Overall Fun Factor of TBD and well-craftedness of Alex). Are there such elements or are they covered by some of the existing categories?
- Should there be some criteria for using discretionary bonus points? Until now, the maximal bonuses have been +3 for originating the adventure game genre and -3 for plagiarism. Are these reasonable limits that should not be exceeded?