Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Playing Bad Games…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 8, 2014

Across the street… a neon sign.
“All you can eat for a dollar ninety-nine.
Our soul stew is the baddest in the land.”
But uh, one dollar’s worth was all that I could stand.

— Huey Lewis and the News, “Sometimes Bad is Bad.”

It’s often easier to figure out what has been done wrong than what has been done right.

For that reason, there’s virtue in playing bad games if you are a game developer. I may not know what to do to make a better game, but I can get a good list of “what not to do.” Bad games can be a stinky treasure trove of game design lessons.

Plus, there are some games that are really not great games, but do have some really great ideas or mechanics buried in the crap. In these cases, the baby frequently gets thrown out with the bathwater, and those ideas may never be revisited again. Mediocre or bad games can be mined for good ideas.

And sometimes, a game has enough virtues to be worth turning it onto easy mode and just plowing through the crap to enjoy the good parts. They aren’t irredeemable.

But sometimes, bad is bad, and a game’s greatest virtue is to serve as a cautionary tale.

(And no, I’m not going to admit what game I played a little of this weekend that served as the inspiration for this post. I’ll only say it’s not an RPG, and it’s not irredeemably bad, but I could write several paragraphs on what it’s doing wrong.)

Filed Under: Design - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • McTeddy said,

    Oh come on… if you really believe in this cause you need to admit what games you played!

    But, I agree completely. I’ve been doing the bad game retro remakes and I’ve put hundreds of hours into “Bad” games. Very few of them haven’t been beneficial to my learning.

    Heck, on one recent project I was able to see trends building that linked my game to “Superman Returns”. Seeing the patterns made it very easy for me to recognize and redesign what needed to be done.