Sunday, October 28, 2007


Often when you talk to someone frequently the same topics come up again and again. With my little brother it's the subject of "playability" in computer games. As far as we're concerned you can forget your fancy graphics and whatnot, what really matters is whether the game is playable.

My proof, if proof were needed, is Zelda on the Super Nintendo versus Zelda on the N64. I loved Zelda on the SNES - except I can only play it with Oasis' Definitely Maybe on in the background (long story, but for me the two go together). But on the N64 it was a so-so rpg, with huge distances you had to cover to get anywhere. It didn't look as good either. Zelda on the SNES was cute. On the N64, it was humdrum. Basically the "better game" lacked playability and effectively killed off Zelda for me, although the screenshots on the Nintendo DS adverts have almost re-converted me.

Recently I've been playing PacMan on Facebook, which is further proof that graphics only get you so far and it's 'playability' that counts. PacMan has been around for almost three decades and yet it knocks many other games into a cocked hat. When I teamed up for a game of Halo with Irony Boy, I loved it, but Destroy All Humans 2 wasn't my bag. One had "playability", the other didn't. Wii Sports is the defining moment in Nintendo's triumph of "playability". Of course the graphics are something else too, but there's a reason Nintendo keep bagging awards for Wii Sports - it's simply great to play.

My favourite top thirteen most playable games
Arcade/Spectrum/other truly ancient consoles
Super Mario World
The Legend of Zelda - a Link to the Past
Super Star Wars
Game Boy
Super Mario World 2 - Six Golden Coins

Mario '64
F-Zero X
X Box
Project Gotham Racing
PlayStation 2
Zoo Puzzle
Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo Wii

So what games do you rates most playable?


  1. Mario Kart on the Gamecube

    Mario Football on the Game Cube - THE most intense game I have ever played - it makes your hands ache!

    Nintendo have always been miles ahead for playability. I don't care if the shadows are cast the right length behind my character for the time of day, I want to jump at a block and get a star that makes me turn gold and go invincible for 5 seconds!

  2. Good list. I'd have to add 'Super Bomber Man' to it.

  3. Well the game of all games for me is one I played last week during my time off work. I went out and purchased a spankingly new xbox360 and played a game called 'Dead Rising', where in it you are a character trapped in a zombie infested shopping mall and you have to survive for 72 hours. you can do anything you want, hide in a room for 72 hours or the following - have 72 hours of fun killing zombies with a variety of objects including amongst a million other things a lawnmower, a shopping trolly, golf clubs, manakins, a stuffed teddy bear etc. you get the idea. it is fantastically funny.
    Give it a go!