Well, while reading to the article I had this
subtle impression that you are a RTS fan... ;)
I think some of the points could be "generalized".
I'll compare the points to my favorite game, which is,
obviously, Lode Runner, and others that are equally
great, such as Tetris.
Infinite replayability - I think that games that
are based on the simplest ideas are the ones that have
the greatest replayability: Lode Runner, Tetris, Pac
Man, Quake. (I actually don't like Quake, but the
basic idea of FPS is indeed simple and people keep
playing them ad nauseam, so I think it should fit the
Skill scalability - This actually should mean two
things: (i) that the game should have its own learning
curve; and (ii) that the curve should be well balanced
(not too easy, not too steep).
To explain (i), let me
use an example: I remember playing King's Quest VI and
getting stuck, until a friend of mine who played lots
of games of that genre came over, played for a few
minutes and went much farther on the game than I had
in days. Great games are unique: being skilled in Pac
Man does not make you skilled on Tetris, which does
not make you skilled in Lode Runner.
On item (ii),
I mean that playing Lode Runner makes you skilled on
Lode Runner. Playing KQ6 over and over didn't raise my
skills on the game, but skills earned from other games
seemed to do the trick for my friend. (Maybe I'm just
really bad at this type of game, but take this just as
Always fresh - This is related to the way you
explained "make it fun". Great games are timeless
because the ideas they are based on can't get dated.
If Tetris never existed and someone invented it today,
it would be great.
Modes of playing - I think this is the implied
thing at point 4. The game doesn't need to provide
separate modes of playing, but should allow the player
to play it with different mindsets. For example, in
Lode Runner you can only focus on getting the treasures
and avoiding the monks and succeed, or you can also
take into account how many monks you kill and pay
attention to the score in order to get extra lives.
Mindless playing can be more fun, but not enough on
later stages -- on the other hand, if you concentrate
a lot on that aspect, you may get better in the "action"
part of the game and end up not needing all those extra
lives. Again, a good learning curve (well designed stages)
will make points 5 (simple/complex modes) and 6
Single and multiplayer - while it is nice to
have in most cases, this can't be a general
rule, in many games it doesn't make much sense.
Make it fun - This is the recurring theme in
all points, after all, a great game is nothing but
a fun game. Isn't that what games are for, having
fun? (Not video hardware and graphics algorithms
showcasing, that's what "demos" are, or at least,
were for -- is there a demoscene somewhere that I am
"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner