Poll Question 040 – What’s the most important part of a game?

20th July 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

Back in Poll Question 039 I asked how important is the end of a game.

Thankfully nearly everybody said “Very Important”. But what if you never get to the end?

This week’s poll question is:

What’s the most important part of a game?

The Choices

Below are the 3 choices. Of course no game is simply a beginning, a middle and an end but often they have separate objectives.

The Beginning

Without doubt my favourite gaming moment of all time was when I started Half-Life. for the very first time. I had been playing Unreal and as many SP mods as I could find and thought I would never love a game as much as I loved Unreal.. I had heard about Half-Life but resisted the desire to play until I could buy all 3 releases in one go. Once that train ride started I was hooked. Whatever happened in the rest of the game I was going to play to the end. The start of the actual gameplay was also very cool for me.

Did this seminal start completely affect how I felt for the rest of the game? How would I have felt if I had played from the second level onwards? Who knows, because there’s no going back now.

The Middle.

Ok, let me be honest and tell you immediately….This is the most important part of a game for me. “Why?” Because I always play through the beginning, not matter how bad the game is. I did the same with Doom 3, Quake 4, and Gene Troopers, to name but a few. That’s why, even though my review didn’t sound as though I liked it, I did in fact like Alpha Prime because I actually finished it!

I will suffer through the beginning of a game in the hope that the middle gets better. However, if the beginning and middle are bad then the end will probably be bad and I think “Why bother continuing?”

The End

If I get this far then I just hope the ending isn’t terrible. Rarely do game endings meet or exceed my expectations. Sometimes the levels themselves are good, HL2 EP1 for example, but the ending as a whole (The level, the story etc) rarely is great. In fact I am trying to think of an ending that I really enjoyed. Okay, it’s official, I can’t think of one game ending I really enjoyed. Mmmmm…. Maybe the ending to Unreal.


  1. X7_Brazil

    Well IMO, the beginning is the most important part because that is where you’ll get all details and see what is happening to your character. Also, through here, the player will see if he/she gets to like the game, it’s style, plot/characters and mostly gameplay, immersivity of the game. Still talking of the plot, the beginning as said, is the most important then, because as of Half Life 2 you met the City 17, it’s aspects and then you’ll see the way the Citadel reacts to G. Freeman reapearance.

  2. X7_Brazil

    Oh not to forget, that if the ending goes well, but the end leaves much to desire, (As of Half Life 2 where *SPOILERS ABOVE, DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING*
    you are put back into stasis by the Gman, just knowing you did follow more orders and do not know what happened to the Citadel’s explosion
    the follow up game (if the early one was good the player will buy the next expansion) must be much more interesting for the player as he will know the details and such, so the ending, IMHO is not that very important, as it can be as bad as that of HL2 (personally speaking) and get revealed some more details later on HL2 episode one for example, since in my case I expected this game so bad that I could not stop thinking what happened to those two fellas (Gordon and ALyx).

  3. X7_Brazil

    Sorry for another post. Well, but why the ending is so better you speak? That is the time where you will definite the style of the game and see if you like it or not. If I do not like a game that much (As of the first impressions I had when I played Postal the game), I uninstalled it right later on some time, and so happened with some mods both for HL1 and HL2: Of the first impressions (the beginning) are well put, then I will definitely be ending it.

  4. zeroth404

    The beginning. First impressions are everything. If I start to play a game and hate it, I’m probably not going to give it another chance because there are many more worthy games that I could be playing.

  5. I think that the beginning is the most important because it is what pulls you into a game. I have not always finished the games I have started, so I can’t really rely on the ending to give me a feel of the game.

  6. X7_Brazil

    I see the POV of Philip. The middle could be a good aspect in the game if the person can play until he/she reaches the middle of the game, where popular belief say: The middle of something packs the essence of the whole thing. And thus getting to the end will be a short step from there, depending on the game tough. I also would like to say that I definitely agree with those which says about the bginning though, even more now. First impressions in human nature is what counts for the whole rest.

  7. My brother voted for beginning first, but I chose the vote I wanted later, so I’m not sure if it counted (if not, are you able to change it?)

    I went for the Middle, unless the game is absolutely awful I will always slog through the beginning if it seems at least okay, and I’ve seen that pay off in various games with the middle picking up a lot; the middle is also where at least 70% of the game’s content is in a lot of cases, which weighs towards it in itself.

    A sucky ending can effect my feelings towards a game quite negatively, but if the middle was very good it won’t matter in the end.

  8. Straven 007

    Hey Planetphillip, just an idea, but could you put a star or ?/5 next to the names of mods on their links under their listing category so that people can avoid D\L bad mods and conserve disk space. Sorry if this is an inappropriate place to stick this, but you are more likely to read it here.

  9. Hey Planetphillip, just an idea, but could you put a star or ?/5 next to the names of mods on their links under their listing category so that people can avoid D\L bad mods and conserve disk space.

    No. It’s not possible with the system I use. Each post used to have a star rating system but I removed it because I wanted something better.

    However, I am in the final planning stages of a new feature here on PlanetPhillip called The Greatest. Which will allow views to rate the maps and mods with a graphical star system.

    It will be easy to see which maps have been recommended by readers.

    Sorry if this is an inappropriate place to stick this, but you are more likely to read it here.

    You should have simply posted it on the Make a Suggestion post or alternatively sent me an email.

    I read all comments posted on the site and no particular post is more likely to be seen.

    I will leave yours and my comment for another two days then delete them both.

  10. I have a huge pet-peeve with Boss endings! I almost never finish a game if there is this huge boss that requires dying 30 times and reloading. For example: in Doom 3 I absolutely love fighing monsters, character interaction, and the spooky levels, but when I got to the two bosses in Hell, I gave up. I have never finished that game but I love playing it over and over with friends.
    The bosses are so annoying that it ruins the ending for me and I don’t even care how it ends.

  11. It would have to be an exceedingly awful opening to make me stop playing a game completely and, knowing it was just the opening, I’d be willing to overlook a very poor opening to see if the game got any better.

    If the end of the game was poor I’d be very disappointed but if the middle of the game was that too bad I probably wouldn’t even make it to the end.

    So I would say the middle is more important than the end which is more important than the beginning.

    I’m really beginning to wonder why I’m struggling through Doom 3. I thought the beginning was very good – it was original and interesting – but it soon descended into identical looking rooms and corridors and there’s only so many times I can stand opening a door just to be attacked by the monster hiding behind it. Don’t even get me started on clearing a room only to have a bunch of demons materialize behind me as I’m moving on. If the ending is as bad as Booman suggests I’m going to be very very annoyed. I’m only 2/3 of the way through but I’m already fairly certain that I’ll never play it again thanks to the awful middle section.

  12. the most important part? The WHOLE DAMN GAME.

    If the beginning is bad, I may honestly drop it without bothering playing the rest. This generally isn’t a huge issue, as it still needs to be pretty awful at that point, and most developers focus a lot on getting the first part just right. If it’s decent enough though, it may be enough to convince me to play through a shaky middle section.

    The middle part will ultimately decide what my opinion is of a game. If the beginning is good, I’ll generally be looking for good things from the middle, but if it wasn’t, the middle is when I’m going to start breaking it down and going “I should recommend that people avoid/play this game”

    the end decides whether I remember the game amidst all the others I’ve played.

    It’s all important, you can’t say one place is more important than the others. Well, you can, but it wouldn’t be true.

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