Game mechanics are the things we can do in a game. Many video games have similar mechanics while appearing to be vastly different from each other. Poor mechanics can affect players opinion of the game as a whole. Good mechanics are important for a few reasons. First, they fulfill different wants the player has and this keeps them playing. The chart below from The Incentive Research Foundation incorporates very basic explanations of some game mechanics and how they keep players interested.
Second, the way game mechanics are presented can create a unique experience to each player and make the video game itself more unique. Popular racing games include the Forza Horizon series, Forza Motorsports series, and Need for Speed. I decided to look specifically at Forza Horizon.
The Forza Horizon games are believed to be some of the best race games out there by video game players all over the world. They contain the same mechanics as many other games plus many more. Like any racing game, the core mechanics of Forza include driving (accelerating, braking, turning left and right), selecting a car, and winning points and credits for races won. When you really strip things down, all racing games are very similar. You are “driving” a car and typically racing other cars in the game or other players and trying to complete the track or map as fast as possible. The visuals in Forza are incredible and in my opinion, they are one of the things that sets it apart from other racing games. However, the options and mechanics do too.
Besides the typical driving and racing mechanics, players can also level up, collect cars, complete challenges,
In Forza, players complete races to win credits. You can also simply drive around an explore. They can also complete others challenges and explorations to unlock other cars and achievements. Players can accumulate experience points by doing tricks while they drive around and explore the map. Once players have enough experience points they can level up. Each time you level up, you get a “wheel spin” which awards you different cars or gives you more credits.
Players can use credits as money in a way and modify and customize their cars. There are many options when it comes to customizing cars and these help make the gaming experience more personal and realistic. You could create the car of your dreams or a replica of the car you already own. You can purchase wheels, exhausts, wings, paint the car a different color, and so much more. The video below demonstrates most of the customizations a player can do to their car in Forza Horizon 3.
Besides races, players can participate in other challenges as well. One example of a challenge that isn’t a race is a Barn Find which is a challenge where the player must explore a certain area of the map to locate an old barn. If they locate it, the receive a prize which is another car for them to collect. These cars are different from the cars players are generally awarded by leveling up though because they are classics.
So sure, the Forza series has many mechanics similar to many other games. There is really no way to make driving cars unique. However, the game allows players to customize so much that it makes the game more realistic. Players also have a lot of options as far as challenges to complete and this makes the game more interesting. You aren’t simply competing in race after race to unlock faster cars just to race some more. You have a lot more freedom in the Forza Horizon games and that is what makes the experience so entertaining.