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Oftentimes on our sites we write long editorials to defend a point, but I thought it might be fun to try something a little different: short, sweet, and to the point. I was reflecting today upon Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and a recurring thought of mine struck me once more: with video games, it is the memory of the game, not its quality, that counts.
Games can be technically "good." They can have flawless gameplay, they could tell a compelling story, and they could be gorgeous displays of high-end graphics, but none of that necessarily creates a lasting memory in a gamer. To me, the value in a game comes from the good memories and feelings it creates as a lasting influence, rather than whatever a player may feel during the course of the game itself. Naturally, games which are technically "good" are likely to result in good experiences and thus good memories, but such is not always the case.
A perfect example of this idea is Shining Force, a game that I enjoyed immensely in my youth and has given me lasting impressions for a while. Just a few months ago I finally had a hankering to return to the land of Runefaust to replay one of my favorite childhood games. But as I was making my way through the first two hours or so, it hit me: this game stinks. The controls are awkward, the menu systems are as clunky as can be, and the text is hardly legible on a big, low-res screen. I gave up about three hours in because I couldn't stomach any more of it — but that didn't end up devaluing my wonderful memories of playing through the game as a youngster. Shining Force remains, to this day, one of my favorite games, even though I've come to realize that, from a purely critical standpoint, it's pretty unappealing.
Then there are games that do everything right yet still manage to evade your mind. New Super Mario Bros. 2, for me, was totally unmemorable. It's everything that makes Mario great — fun gameplay, solid mechanics, and enjoyable level design — but despite being technically proficient in every way, the game is completely forgettable to me.
So that's that. I just wanted to share a personal philosophy with you and see what you think. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Why or why not? Let's get talking in the comments!