Gamers’ Arguments: Gameplay First?

Gamers’ Arguments. Everyone’s got ‘em and everyone’s got opinions on ‘em. So why don’t we air out these deeply-held thoughts? Why don’t we get a little hot under the collar? Why don’t we make our claims known?

This time around in GA’s Gs’ As we’re going to look at an idea spawned from Blizzard’s very own mission statement: Gameplay First. At first, it seems obvious — of course gameplay — but then again, take a second to ponder this. How many games can succeed nowadays solely with gameplay as their hook; bad story, bad design, bad characters. On the other hand, wouldn’t gaming kinda suck if everything was Walking Dead this and Heavy Rain that? Let’s talk.


Gameplay first. Yes. Gameplay should come first. While this immediately comes under fire by the “You’re Stuck In the Dark Ages!” Clan, I cannot think of a single one of my favorite games that lacks sublime gameplay. Tetris, Mario, Oblivion, Hello Kitty: Island Adventure. They’ve got it all, sure, but most importantly they are excellent games at their very core. And that is what makes a game great.

I won’t give those who disagree the easy Straw Man and say “Go watch a movie for story” because that’s dismissive and reductive towards the medium I love. However, to throw away gameplay is to disregard the strongest asset of gaming itself. Y’know, the gameplay itself. It would be like reverting to silent film after the decades spent towards photography direction. So, yes, gameplay first. Maybe not always, but definitely first.


Gameplay can come first. I’ll even say that gameplay should come first … but only in certain instances when it’s a title’s strongest asset. As traditional games and, in turn, most games today focus on this element, gameplay should come first in a majority of cases. But not every case. Here’s where a little living proof plays in.

I hate the gameplay in every Metal Gear Solid entry. From clunky to frustrating, I could create a near-endless list of negatives detailing why I’ve never enjoyed playing a Metal Gear installment. And yet, Metal Gear Solid may be the best experience I had on the original PlayStation. I liked the sequel even more. The third and fourth didn’t do quite as much for me, yet I still felt compelled to drop down the difficulty of Guns of the Patriots so I could effortlessly glide between the ridiculously convoluted (but beautifully ridiculous) story sequences that exist outside of player control.

I could have watched a movie or read a book instead to benefit from an entirely narrative medium, but I wanted a video game. The ever-so-slight level of interaction allows me to become more absorbed in this form of entertainment than others. But it was the story that got me going, the story that kept me coming back, and the story that gave me a good time. Gameplay became irrelevant, and it didn’t matter for a second.

Hit page 2 for some more from the throwdown.

Pages: 1 2

Written by: Nick Cane

Game writer, fervent lover of mac and cheese. Favorite games are ES4: Oblivion, Kirby's Adventure, Link's Awakening, Final Fantasy 8 and Mario Galaxy.

9 Comments Added

Join Discussion
  1. Pingback: Gamers Association – Game Reviews, Videos & Giveaways – Tomb Raider Review March 11, 2013

    [...] the sort of fellow that gets pretty bored with having constant narrative thrown in my face. Some people may refer to that as ADD, but I think I just tried to play Metal Gear Solid at too [...]

  2. Pingback: Gamers Association – Game Reviews, Videos & Giveaways – Bit.Trip presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien Review (PS3) March 11, 2013

    [...] sarcastic. Plainly put, the narrative is of little consequence; the why, where or how unimportant. What is important is the gameplay. And in Runner 2’s case, this is running through levels and jumping, sliding, kicking, bouncing, [...]

  3. Pingback: Gamers Association – Game Reviews, Videos & Giveaways – I Like To Play Games March 7, 2013

    [...] This realization got me thinking about all of the games I love and hate, and why. Simply put, games for me are made and broken by their gameplay, not their story. To me, a story is a tasty icing on a cake that must be delicious enough to stand on its own [...]

  4. Pingback: Gamers Association – Game Reviews, Videos & Giveaways – Why Open World is Overwhelming & Not What I Want February 8, 2013

    [...] my eyes, the ever-important narrative elements always take a dive when developers opt for the open world approach. From inFamous to Red Dead [...]

  5. Pingback: Gamers Association – Game Reviews, Videos & Giveaways – The Curious Case of Paper Mario Sticker Star February 6, 2013

    [...] to the actual gameplay that leaves me wondering what exactly I’m doing. Let’s be real here. I’m not playing it for the story and I’m not driving towards something like a level cap or new abilities. Seriously now, what [...]

  6. Devin Hudson 1 year ago | Reply
    For me it's more about having a good balance of the elements rather than putting one ahead of the other. I love it when the gameplay, narrative and presentation are all equally good, and you're enjoying the game for the overall experience rather than just for the story or just for the gameplay. Unfortunately it seems pretty hard for most games to achieve this balance, and one of those things usually gets put on the back burner in order to boost up the others. But with that being said, not all games need this balance. Tetris hasn't endured for all of these years because of its epic story, but because of its simple, engaging gameplay. Ultimately, these are video GAMES, so there's nothing wrong with having some that focus mostly or purely on gameplay. I love that the video games medium is all-encompassing, but there's nothing wrong when a game chooses to put gameplay first.
    • nickcane520 1 year ago | Reply
      Very true. And - obviously - we all think that. It's just a fun piece when you really put the screws to someone and they have to CHOOSE ... Gameplay? narrative? Exploration?
  7. Luke Frazier 1 year ago | Reply
    Such an excellent piece. These Gamers' Arguments really shine when so much of us lend an opinion. If outsiders don't show their interest, I'm filing for divorce from the Internet.

Leave Your Reply


Welcome to the Gamers Association, everything you’ll need from great editorials, opinions, gaming news, and reviews. We have all kinds of content you will love! We have taken the next steps in continuing to expand our community, and more. We have plenty of staff who have been working in the media and gaming industry for a while now.


Where is GA’s The Sims 4 Review
Amazon ‘End of Summer’ Sale Starts Today
POKKÉN Planned for Released in Japan for 2015