1) No pandering to casual gaming stereotypes. No gratuitous kittens or ‘cute’ cuddly characters.
2) No time wasting. No splash screens, intros, or FMV. We have 30 minutes tonight for gaming. Ensure all 30 minutes have us interacting with the game.
3) No Grind. We have day jobs. leave the grind to the kids in the F2P MMOs where it belongs. Give me decent, varying content, without filler. And don’t reward grind either, with bonus achievements for time played, or 1,000 low level rats clubbed.
4) No nickel+diming. We have proper jobs and disposable income. If the game is good, we will buy outright. Don’t keep breakign immersion to try and sell us $0.05 worth of magic pixie dust.
5) No oversimplification. We can cope with 2 mouse buttons, maybe even 3, and a wheel. We can cope with right clicking, tech trees, customisable units and mods.
6) No mandatory training levels or tutorials that cover the obvious. This is my 245th first person shooter. I can guess that WSAD moves, the mouse looks, and the mouse shoots. At the very least, let me skip tutorial stuff I don’t need.
7) Don’t patronize us. We shouldn’t get an achievement for hitting the jump key, or told we are awesome soldiers for hitting a tin can. Leave that crap for kids in kindergarten.
8) Be original. We have gamed before. We have fought in many a crate-strewn corridoor, and killed many a rat and returned their hides to someone who is too lazy to do it themselves. We have heard many tales of lost kingdoms and evil wizards. Surprise us. Please.
9) No arbitrary save-game restrictions! With some acceptable exceptions (like in the middle of a combat sequence, for example), I expect to be able to save and exit the game at any time, and then come back and pick up more-or-less where I left off. If for some technical reason your game does have “checkpoints” rather than save-anywhere, EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN’ ONE OF THOSE CHECKPOINTS SHOULD BE A VALID SAVE LOCATION! None of this B.S. about having three or four checkpoints in-between valid save points. You obviously DO have the game state recorded from each check point in memory, so there’s no reason you can’t store it to the disk.
10) Make your PC game as playable as possible WITHOUT a game controller plugged in. It’s fine to port a game from the consoles and note that the game plays “best” with a controller. You optimized it for that input device, that’s fine. But make a friggin’ effort. Not all PC gamers want an XBox controller plugged into their system, but they DO want to play your game, especially as a “casual” diversion between sessions of “serious” work. Ridiculous control schemes that are obviously just brain-dead remappings of controller inputs poorly implemented on the keyboard are not acceptable. And no, players won’t appreciate your attempt to “force” them to use a game controller on their PC.
11) In addition to keeping the cut-scenes short, make them easy to pause, review, or at least check out the summary and critical exposition / explanations revealed in the scene. Because when the wife enters the room and needs to talk, she does like having to wait until the cut-scene is over.