I’ve always been able to look at Skyrim as a game that I could play for hours on end and never get bored. Skyrim is a game in which the experience is tailored exclusively around how each individual player wants to play. Players can choose different combat style based on what their preference was. I always enjoyed playing as a warrior with heavy armor and a greatsword. The game’s mechanics are as simple as using the W, A, S, and D keys on my keyboard to move the character, moving the mouse to point my character in different directions, and pressing the mouse buttons during in-game combat.
Every time my character levels up or receives some sort of upgrade, the player is immediately rewarded with a brief, 5-10 second orchestral piece which incites a sense of achievement or power in the player.
One game that I get incomparably frustrated by is a game that was only available on PC for a short amount of time. It’s a game called 8-bit Bayonetta. The actions were simple. There were only two buttons that I, as the player, needed to press. One button was to jump (and double jump), and another was to fire the playable character’s, Bayonetta’s, gun. The gameplay mechanics were not what frustrated me, however. Because the response from physical action to in-game effect was instantaneous and had no issues. I got frustrated with the game because it is very unrewarding when the player does something right and unforgiving when the player does something wrong. The goal is to shoot the enemies coming towards Bayonetta to get a high score, meaning it can essentially go on forever with no end goal in sight. When Bayonetta gets hit once by an enemy, she instantly dies, triggering a “GAME OVER” screen that, when the “game over” text, player’s score, and the “retry” option all appear one after the other, takes 8 seconds to fully appear (yes, I kept track of it) before the player can interact with the game again. 8 seconds may not seem like a whole lot. But when it’s so easy to slip up, and especially when the player has a high score, being punished with an 8 second “GAME OVER” screen can get very frustrating.
Whenever the player presses a button to fire Bayonetta’s gun, a short, low-pitched, 8-bit firing sound plays. Whenever one of her bullets hits an enemy, a higher-pitched, slightly faster version of that sound plays. The sounds themselves aren’t all that appealing to listen to at all, leading to the player getting easily irritated with the game. But what really destroyed the experience for me was this: the music that plays when the player enters the actual game is somewhat appealing. At least, I found it to be catchy. But the music cannot be heard over the sounds made when the gun is fired or when an enemy is hit. When the game increases in difficulty, the gun needs to be fired at a faster rate. When all that the player hears is a flurry of bullets being fired and hitting the enemies, the music cannot be heard at all. The experience was essentially ruined for me even while I was playing the game.