Everything, with a little bit of sauce.
We should expect all three. When I see a film I expect quality cinematography, sound design, editing, writing, direction and acting. Not just one. Doesn't mean every game has to have amazing technology behind it, but it needs a cohesive look and perform well. Granted, some games aren't even trying to tell stories (Tetris, Geometry Wars), but if a game presents a story, it had better do so in an effective manner.
While I love an excellent story (or even a not-excellent story told excellently), gameplay is always king. If you make a game that feels right to play, doesn't get old or repetitive too quickly, and remains interesting all the way through, then you've made a great game.
Examples (for me, at least):
- Art Style: light trax
- Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Burnout: Revenge
- Super Meat Boy
- Rez HD
- Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress
Also, "Graphics" is too broad of a term. Higher polygon counts and new shaders and dynamic lighting and ambient occlusion and buzzwords x, y, and z are all really cool, but I'd take a game with a unique visual style any day.
EDIT: Also, what's interesting, looking back on that list I just wrote, is that most of those games have a unique or minimalist visual style, emphasizing the gameplay. I swear I didn't notice that until just now.
I voted for gameplay simply because even if the story was amazing, the gameplay would tarnish the experience so that it probably wouldn't be as enjoyable. It's a catch-22, but I would rather play a game and get some worth out of it rather than buying a game and not playing it because I didn't feel like it or couldn't.
Gameplay, no question. The others are welcome, but it's entirely possible to make a very fun game without a great story or technically proficient graphics. Even if a game looks great or has a great sounding premise, broken or poorly thought out gameplay can really prevent it from being a good game.
Oh look, this thread again.
You need at least story and gameplay. If the gameplay is the only thing that's interesting it will start to get old after a while because there won't be much of a motivation to keep playing. If it's just the story that interests you though then you will never get to the good parts of the story because of the bad gameplay. Graphics are nice to help convey a story better and make the action more intense, but even rudimentary graphics can be fine if you have the other two.
A bit of everything is always nice, but more than anything I want my experience to count. All three more or less depend on each other because that's the way games are, but even with crap graphics and crap gameplay, a good story can make me persevere and hold on 'til the end.
Advent Rising being a prime example.
Story for me, but gameplay has to be at least average or fun. don't really care about graphics, the only game that I stopped playing because of bad graphics was FFVII. I didn't have a PSX at the time so I tried play it a couple of years ago but man, that game has aged horribly. Still was able to play FFVIII though.
" I kind of think that the majority of the Mass Effect community out there told us - Sometimes awful gameplay and at time terrible graphics still makes the original Mass Effect one of the greatest gaming experiences ever. :) So yeah - story. "Mass Effect 1 didn't look terrible, its like a four or five year old game. That said, I vastly preferred the more rpg gameplay of ME1 to ME2. Also, mako >>>> scanning. They both suck but damn scanning was terrible.
Gameplay, if its not fun to play then the story doesn't matter. Ex: Deadly Premonition.
" good gameplay can forgive a lackluster story, but a good story will always make up for bad gameplay. "Both yes and know - horrible story in Call of Duty but good gameplay, no one would care about that. But if you look at Dragon Age, then god story will make up for the gameplay.
For the most part, I'm an advocate of gameplay first. A game without a good story can still be good, but a game without good gameplay will usually be less easy for me to recommend. Obviously, the ideal would be to have both, but that can't always be the case, can it?
Also: Graphics Smaphics. That shallow preference is reserved for people who don't play that many games to begin with, or people around the age of 13.