Brenda Romero believes the best games are the most evocative, not the most beautiful.
Speaking during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, the veteran games designer was asked 'what does a great game look like?', to which Romero responded that the answer used to be quite different.
She said that when she joined the games industry in 1981, games were often judged on graphics or the size of the manual, Gamasutra reports. However, Romero offered a less quantifable answer.
"For me, a great game is all about how it makes you feel," she said, going on to cite classics such as Zork and Alone in the Dark as titles that are more about imagination than flashy graphics. "Our memory and imagination of a game and how it makes us feel can alter our memory over time."
She also suggested that developers are also a big part of what gamers praise and remember when it comes to deciding what a great game looks like.
"For me, it's not on the screen, it's on the faces of players… being able to seem them," she said. "And the faces of game creators.
"I feel like the designer… and the player – we're almost mirrors of one another, and there's this computer in the middle that acts as the border between the two.
"[Players] are a mirror of us, and we a mirror of them. Ultimately, we are what makes a game great. And we are what great games look like."
Romero will receive a special honour for her industry advocacy at next month's Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco.