The idea of putting love in a videogame usually boils down to the romantic notion of a developer so passionate that they surmount countless hurdles to put their personal stamp on the project. It’s the extra sprite that’s encountered just once in the game, the playful dialogue between minor characters only accessible upon subsequent replays, an alternate special move for a boss that only appears on the hardest difficulty.
These loving touches don’t carry a lot of bang for the buck, at least not immediately. They’re easy to miss, they’re rarely duplicated, and they usually have a minimal effect on the gameplay. If they’re planned ahead of time, they’re often the first elements to get cut when the realities of budgets and schedules rear up. It’s not easy to place any actual value on them, and when removed — or simply not implemented — their absence doesn’t seem very detrimental.
In short, they’re the opposite of the typical bullet-points that can go on the back of a box.
Somewhat contradictorily, though, they can become the most memorable parts of a game. They’re what can set it apart from other titles and make it special to the player, and, in the grand scheme of things, matter a whole lot more than the number of levels or weapons. That alone warrants a definition:
- An element of a videogame that’s largely inconsequential and easily overlooked, but one that often represents quality and resonates as a unique and defining feature.
What are some of your favourite examples of “the love” in a videogame?