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Video games are big business to the financial world. It is important for video games developers to constantly improve upon their existing games and to develop new ones. Companies hire Hollywood calibre graphic artists to provide Oscar winning quality graphics. Focus groups try to spot trends and preferences to target what features should be added to traditional games or incorporated into new ones. Children are often ‘hired’ as consultants to test games and report on their appeal and flaws. They are paid with newly developed games and game related items, such as a Nintendo player or Game boy instruments.
But what features are crucial in the development of a popular Video game that will be successful financially? Of all the elements that comprise a popular video game, interactivity is the most important. This feature enables the player to explore virtual environments that range from realistic depictions of the normal world to highly stylised, artistic virtual environments, and sometimes alternate between them. Interactivity allows the flow of the game to change with the player’s movements and decisions, thereby creating an individual scenario or experience for each player and every game. Interactivity has given rise to the phenomenon of emergent narrative, which occurs within the context of the game and represents the player’s reactions to elements of the game and even his own reactions to them. It is this emergent narrative concept that makes playing the game and experience that is unique to the players and to each and every game played.
A sense of danger, or at least drama, is important to a successful video game. To the extent that a player is drawn into the game and feels involved is proportional to the success and popularity of a video game. Graphic presentation of the game is integral to this and most games require eye popping, three-dimensional artwork. The graphics must present and create a virtual environment that is alluring, navigable and ever changing in response to the player’s actions. Most video games rely nearly equally, ironically enough, both on repetition and the element of surprise to create a hypnotic world that remains both challenging and interesting. Most video games must tell a story and the level of manual dexterity required to play the game increases as the complexity of the story line gets more involved.
Finally, music plays a fundamental role in popular video games. Music adds to the mood, the element of surprise and the general tone of the video game. Video game players no longer choose games on the basis of graphics and character appeal alone. Now the type of music that is incorporated into the game is equally important in the selection process. And the overwhelmingly most desired form of music in video games is hip-hop. This form of music provides an intensity that draws the player in, and the rhythmic beat makes for a hypnotic quality. Hip-hop is the type of music that the player can coordinate his movements to and achieve a movement flow with. Hip Hop gives energy of its own to the game and is rapidly becoming a key element in the development of a popular video game.