So, let's see, not a lot of people are buying my off-the-cuff "less is better" theory -
The division between "more" and "less" seems bogus to me. They can all be phrased to suit your point (by saying "more frames per second" instead of "less inverse frames per second").
And that's true. I suppose even something like "more enemies" could be rephrased as "less repitition of the same enemy" - although if you have too much repitition you should simply make a shorter game. Here reviewers can take a little blame for our quality vs. scope problems, because "amount of gameplay" is something they frequently ding us on, and some games take what's fun in small doses and turn it into marathons that are more chore than game. (Nintendo in particular, ordinarily beyond reproach, has fallen into this trap with the Metriods and Zeldas which just slog at times.) But we should shoulder most of the blame - Geometry Wars and Tetris make a little go a long way.
So I'll have to stick with the "I know it when I see it" defense.
Another good comment:
"Between a design doc that describes a few high quality features or one that describes a lot of poorer ones, the latter seems more exciting."
Yet another reason why waterfall doesn't work!
This reminds me of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Spock, Lizard - perhaps the quintessential example of how adding features does not make a better game. Even though RPSSL comes with
* two new weapons!
it's less intuitive (paper disproves spock?) and harder to play (some people can't even do the "live long and prosper" symbol). A good game to remember when you find yourself saying "it would be so cool if we added x."
Greggman mentions Halo and says its framerate sucked. Ok, maybe - but Halo absolutely oozes quality on almost every other axis, and is a great example of weighting quality over scope. (We'll give them a pass on those flood levels which do drag... ) I think a lot of people said of Halo "What's so special about it? Isn't it just another shooter?" because of this - because rather than adding more enemies, weapons, vehicles and features they focused on feel: the way you accelerate into the turn as you push the right stick; the way projectiles home in on the enemy but don't feel like they do; the perfect harmony of sound, visuals and controller feedback when you fire your weapon; the nice, saturated colors; the field of view; the fluid enemy animation; the convincing enemy AI. As for the high texel density - Halo had some of the highest texel density for a shooter around when it shipped - is that a "more" thing or a "better" thing? Tough call.