#1 Edited by Schlorgan (356 posts) -

I find myself in a weird situation from time to time. My younger brother loves zombies and keeps trying to get me to buy Resident Evil 6 and Walking Dead Survival Instinct. "You should get Walking Dead Survival Instinct," he says, to which I respond: "No." "Why?" He asks. "Because it's a bad game," I answer. "How?" he replies.

I find myself at a loss for words.

This has happened to me a few times, like when Force Unleashed came out and I had to try to explain to friends who were really excited for it why it wasn't that good of a game. Or when I told my dad about Aliens Colonial Marines and how it was trash and he asked for more specifics and I didn't know how to articulate it.

How do you explain to someone who doesn't know games very well why a game is bad?

#2 Edited by UlquioKani (1286 posts) -

I've been in similar situations. I show them reviews mostly. I try to give them a summary of the opinion of several reviewers. I found it to be pointless as people ignore any warnings and find themselves with a bad game so I've stopped bothering.

#3 Posted by MattyFTM (14641 posts) -

Force Unleashed was a fairly good game. It was very rough around the edges, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Far from perfect, but it shouldn't be in a discussion of bad games alongside Aliens Colonial Marines and Walking Dead Survival Instinct.

#4 Posted by JasonR86 (10031 posts) -

'Good' and 'Bad' is subjective. Say 'I don't like that game because of (reason 1, 2, 3) but it's cool that you do.'


#5 Edited by kindnivore (2954 posts) -

How is it hard? The definition of a bad game isn't subjective when you take it seriously. It's merely to point out that the game isn't fleshed out, and you give an alternative. If that doesn't work, just acquiesce that they don't take their hobby as serious as you, and move on.

I tried to convince my wife not to spend our money on "Hitman: Absolution," recently. She wanted to know why, and I just told her that the game flat out isn't what she thought it was. She is a big fan of stealth games, the Thief series being her call-to, and I knew that was what she was expecting. She bought it any way, because that is how marriages work, and ended up putting it down after 2 sessions. It's not that she, or I, thought it was a bad game, just that it wasn't what she expected.

Wow, that last paragraph was a weird tangent. Just convince him that the game isn't "finished," per se, by comparing it to another product. That's really all you can do if the person you're trying to form an argument with isn't as involved as you are.

PS: As examples, Colonial Marines is actually an easy one. The game was just broken. The voice work was damn near comedic, and the AI refused to follow the script of the game. It offered no form of tension that FPS fans are a fan of, or the mysterious/creepy atmosphere that fans of Alien are used to. The game lacked the polish that a game at $60 requires, and obviously had a broken track-record as evidence of its abuse during development. You're arugment for The Force Unleashed, however, runs way too deep into the subjective area. I'm sure whatever you reasons you have for naming it a "bad game" make sense to you, but I thoroughly enjoyed that game and nothing comprehensive can be truly made about it that isn't flat out an opinion.

#6 Edited by Hunkulese (2968 posts) -

They have a pretty good point. Why should they trust you telling them a game is bad if you have no idea why it's bad? Sounds like you haven't even played those games.

#7 Edited by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

Is my strategy.

#8 Posted by MooseyMcMan (12022 posts) -

@mattyftm said:

Force Unleashed was a fairly good game. It was very rough around the edges, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Far from perfect, but it shouldn't be in a discussion of bad games alongside Aliens Colonial Marines and Walking Dead Survival Instinct.

What he said.

I've found the easiest way (whether it's true or not on a game by game basis) to tell someone that a game is bad is to say it's really buggy and glitchy. That at least works for my dad. Alternatively, boring is a good, easy word that everyone understands. You might be stretching the truth with some of these "explanations," but they've worked for me in the past.

#9 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (5055 posts) -

You don't have to go into detail just tell them what you didn't like. for example I didn't like the story, or I thought the gameplay sucks, or I thought the graphics suck. Not that difficult, if they still buy it then it's on them really nothing you can really do about it.

#10 Edited by Noblenerf (385 posts) -

"It's like the Walking Dead... without zombies!"

The person you're talking to will audibly gasp in horror, guaranteed.

#11 Posted by mikey87144 (2000 posts) -

They have a pretty good point. Why should they trust you telling them a game is bad if you have no idea why it's bad? Sounds like you haven't even played those games.

Why should he waste his time playing a bad game?

I tend to fall back on the fact that people who know me know that I like to play games. Sometimes the best thing to do though is to let them play the bad game but say beforehand you heard it was bad. After a while they trust you to make good recommendations.

#12 Posted by leebmx (2342 posts) -

It depends on what aspect of the game is lacking. If you are talking about plot or story that is easy to describe. Describing game mechanics is slightly harder.

I haven't played either game but from what I know I would say for RE6 it is that the mechanics used to be good but haven't been updated to modern standards and the plotting, characters and story are just throwaway and stupid

For Survival Instinct, I would say it is a cheap cash-in, that fails in almost every aspect. Bad graphics, gameplay- cheap and half-finished is the only way to sum this game up.

I guess the difficulty comes in when you are explaining this to someone who doesn't play games, talk of mechanics will probably go over their head - but it is not too hard. Think of the difference between Aliens and a good shooter for example - what stands out?

#13 Edited by believer258 (12979 posts) -

If it's a game that's largely universally disliked, then you can probably come up with at least three or four words or short phrases that describe what's wrong with it.

"What's wrong with Aliens: Colonial Marines?"

"Most people who played it said that it was a buggy mess, that its story was terrible, that its graphics were ugly, and that it just wasn't very fun to play. I haven't played it personally but when almost everyone posts that opinion of it on the internet, it's probably a good sign that your money should be spent on something else."

If you find that you can't describe why something's bad in simple, universal terms, then it's probably not as universally disliked as you might think. Look at the number of people in this thread who already mentioned that they liked The Force Unleashed, a game which I also liked.

To be honest, most people who don't already keep up with games will kinda just shrug your opinion off and keep their interest in it until they play it. Some people will just play anything they can get their hands on, good or bad. Some of the same people will say that they thought a game was fun just because it had the name "Aliens" on it. I can't understand these people, but whatever.

#14 Posted by Zevvion (3119 posts) -

You express your opinion like you do here. They'll understand most of it. In the end, they are only bad games because you don't like them. Not because they are actually bad. For instance, I thought The Force Unleashed was pretty good.

#15 Posted by Jeust (11573 posts) -

They have a pretty good point. Why should they trust you telling them a game is bad if you have no idea why it's bad? Sounds like you haven't even played those games.

Pretty much. You should play the games so you'd know first hand why it is bad, or you should try to understand what is the common opinion of gamers and reviewers about the game, and especially the perspective of the people you follow. Because if you can't explain why it is bad, it is probably because you stop giving a game atention as soon as as people call it mediocre or the sorts. If you want to give someone a good answer of why it is bad, try to understand the why.

#16 Posted by Hunter5024 (6447 posts) -

For a long time I had this problem. My blanket answer would usually be something like "it reviewed very poorly." My friends would ignore this warning, play it anyways, and find out it sucks on their own. Now they listen to me when I say that. I'm also pretty selective about the games I warn against too. Don't bother warning against something mediocre, because they could very easily enjoy a mediocre game, we just have higher standards because we play so many. I mean Force Unleashed? That game is cool, you didn't need to explain why it wasn't amazing to your friends, because the kind of problems you had with it probably aren't things that would bother them.

#17 Posted by HypnoToadBrwowrowrow (1715 posts) -

Plot twist, @schlorgan don't actually know if a game is good or bad if he can't elaborate; try to rationalize to yourself why you think a game is bad.

#18 Posted by TobbRobb (5218 posts) -

I mean, if you can't tell someone why you think something is bad. Do you actually think that its bad? Don't just brush off games entirely on hearsay, some "bad" games are hidden gems of entertainment.

#19 Edited by Christoffer (2099 posts) -

Use analogy.

  • It feels like running knee-deep in mud
  • The weapons are peashooters
  • The textures looks like a blurry photo
  • The story is like a bad episode of Goosebumps
#20 Posted by crithon (3549 posts) -

depends, I try not to tell anyone it's a bad game, but I often see my cousin's children get into horrible fights over Mario Party and Mario Kart level of random blue shell attacks. When I start seeing the level of frustration in person, then I'd open up and say why it doesn't work.

#21 Posted by HatKing (6524 posts) -

Explain it the same way you'd explain you don't like a certain movie. If the person has a loose understanding of games, they should be able to grasp what you're saying.

#22 Posted by tourgen (4568 posts) -

well if you are not in a position to describe specifically why a game is bad then you probably shouldn't be making that judgement call in the first place.

#23 Edited by DeadpanCakes (1112 posts) -

I typically don't give advice about games unless I've played them myself, and I rarely ever feel completely negative about a game, so I'm never really in this position. When I am, though, I explain it to them just like I would a person who's into games, if they don't listen to my advice, then sucks for them- they just bought a shitty game. I guess it's different when it's your little brother, but the closest thing I have to a little brother (a cousin with whom I'm close) is smart enough to look up videos or consider what I have to say first.

I think what's more common is that people around me get hyped about games very easily and I sorta hafta bring them back down to earth. I still remember when Watch_Dogs was announced, I had to hammer into everybody's heads that they hadn't played it so they had no way to know how good or bad it'd be (not to suggest it's bad or anything, I haven't played it, so I can't speak to its quality). Now that it's out, most of them have forgotten its existence.

#24 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5775 posts) -

If you hadn't played the game say you heard it's bad. As long as they aren't spending your money that's the most you could do. You didn't play those games so how would you know why those games are bad as thoroughly as a reviewer who has played it. You can give examples from reviews you read/heard/watched but you can't describe it in detail so don't try to.

#25 Posted by nasp (597 posts) -

just say what you didnt like.walking dead survival instinct is a easy one.all you had to say was you can chain knife kills on zombies to the point where you cant die,which makes the game boring because how broken and easy it is.

#26 Posted by Demoskinos (16442 posts) -

@schlorgan: Good/Bad is entirely subjective you should throw out the reasoning that YOU personally think its bad. Just parroting other people's thoughts about it will do you no good. I mean its easy really just straight up tell people what you think is wrong with the game.

#27 Posted by meteora3255 (243 posts) -

I think if they are considering a purchase they have at least some familiarity with the medium unless it's buying a gift. That being the case you should be able to discuss the mechanics of a game. If a friend asks me why I don't care too much for a game I can usually tell them something like "the movement makes it feel like you are stuck in mud all the time" and they can get that.

Story, plot, world design and so on are more difficult. I personally don't think The Force Unleashed is a very good game but have a friend who loves Star Wars more than anything and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

#28 Posted by LordAndrew (14588 posts) -

Tell him that Robert Kirkman agrees that The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct sucks.

#29 Posted by egg (1619 posts) -

I didn't know what to expect when opening this thread, but after reading the Op I have to ask, could it be that you don't know yourself why they are bad games?

#30 Posted by HerbieBug (4228 posts) -

I suppose I would draw a comparison to a bad movie. Only you paid a lot more for it and you have to directly interact with it.

#31 Posted by egg (1619 posts) -

By the sound of it you did not even play Resident Evil 6. Of course it is going to be difficult to describe it is bad. To you it is bad not for any practical reasons that prevent your enjoyment.

On the other hand, I'm surprised however that you cannot describe why Aliens Colonial Marines is bad. And I haven't even played it. Have you tried saying simply "It's broken" or "It doesn't work" ?

Though I suppose we can't expect nongamers to simply pick up on this stuff, even in cases where it is clear cut.

#32 Edited by NTM (8490 posts) -

@i_stay_puft: The problem is that he didn't play these games, so he is basing it off of what he saw on the internet, and from reviews. If I were him, I would get one of those games for him as a present (preferably RE6, I actually liked that game a lot and don't agree with most peoples problems with it, though I do have my own problems with it). I would suggest to him, not to say "hey, this is why the game sucks!" but to show them and see what they think, a YouTube gameplay video of the game.

If they like what they see, I don't see why they shouldn't get it, at least as a present. I think it's ignorant, and somewhat arrogant to say no to it if they hadn't even played it themselves. There are some games I would never want to play that my brother does, but he loves them, so I find it hard to believe this is that much different. Even if one had played it, I wouldn't even tell them not to play it because they may enjoy it. Sorry, this is a reply to you, but more so a reply to the original post.

#33 Posted by DarthOrange (4127 posts) -

@schlorgan: Resident Evil 6 is a great game. Why don't you buy it so the two of you can play it together? The coop is really fun.

Even the worst games are fun if you are enjoying them with someone else who is laughing at the absurdity of it with you. Quit being such a wet blanket.

#34 Posted by Abendlaender (3007 posts) -

"It's not fun to play"

There ya go

#35 Edited by Sanj (2734 posts) -

"Good" and "bad" can be subjective because not only are they linked with taste and enjoyment, but are relative to other experiences. It's why some games that were considered "good" in the 1990s now seem shit today. Additionally, some people enjoy "bad" reviewed games and some don't enjoy "good" reviewed games. Reviews these days are almost entirely subjective, Giantbomb being a prime example. I enjoyed Catherine despite Jeff giving it a 2/5.

Personally, if there was a game my younger brother wanted to play, I wouldn't be all video-game snob about it, I would just get it for him. Let him figure this stuff out and develop his tastes on his own (and to save costs, demo/rent first).

...unless it's Walking Dead Surival Instincts.. That's just plain broken.

#36 Posted by James_ex_machina (913 posts) -

At work when people ask me about games I relate it to our primary product, textbooks. Some books are "bad" distracting colors, unreadable fonts, type size to small, too many images breaking up the flow of the pages, etc. The end product is hard to read/control, or the authors writing is hard to follow/the game doesn't make sense what you do next. Those are the ways I try to relay it to coworkers.

On a slightly different topic, I love when people give me electronic games devices as gifts. Why…because I love games so of coarse I'm gonna love this strange electronic match colors game from the dollar store. It's the thought that counts…

#37 Posted by Pezen (1820 posts) -

A few years ago a buddy of mine started going to school to become a sommelier. He had a birthday party around his first year there and I bought some alcohol to drink at his party. One of the things I bought was a bottle of zinfandel red wine called Gnarly Head, from California. When I unpacked my bag of alcohol, he grabbed the bottle of wine and inspected it closely and with pompous pride said "hmpf, so you're drinking this american crap, huh?"

I didn't take wine all that seriously, it was a wine I thought was good and I didn't mind he considered it some form of inferior product. A few years later when he finished and got the degree I brought that conversation up again to see if he still looked at it that way. He laughed and said he was being stupid back then, too filled with a false sense of knowledge and had since realized that it wasn't that simple. He said to be a good sommelier you need to be able to both pick a wine that is complimentary to the food if you're doing a wine list. But also be able to pick a wine based off of someone's preferences that may not be your own. It's not a value judgement as much as it is being knowledgeable enough to be good at your job.

His change in attitude has also greatly helped in asking him for suggestions based on certain criterias. Since he can make suggestions that doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. But it has also sort of taught me about specific grapes and what I like and look for when buying wine.

I have the same attitude when it comes to games, I would never tell someone who seems to want to get a specific game not to get it. I'll tell them what I think (if I have played it) or what I've read others thought of it. Or I'll make suggestions on similar games that they can check out that might be similar but with better reception. But never in a way as to proclaim they can't make a judgement call on their own. Because at the end of the day, it's not my time or my money that's being spent. And just because I may not like a game, doesn't mean they can't like it. I mean, there are plenty of games I truly adore that some people shit all over for various reasons. But that's fine, I had a great time with them.

#38 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (6352 posts) -

I've always found it's best for people to learn for themselves.

#39 Posted by pinner458 (1056 posts) -

@schlorgan: I'm a bit too tired to argue why it's good/bad but The Force Unleashed isn't a BAD game, it's kind of decent...

#40 Posted by SkullPanda1 (673 posts) -

Different people are after different things. I think that most video game based on movies are no fun. Other people (kids?) just want to play as Iron Man or what have you. That's fine.

#41 Posted by Nightriff (6476 posts) -

First off it doesn't help you saying that a game is bad and you don't know why. You should know why, that is the problem with review scores and metacritic, they give you a score and nothing else, it doesn't help in the end explain why it might not be for you.

I say this because not every "bad" game is bad. I have played many bad/mediocre games that I originally would've never played and loved the hell out of them, same with friends, all of them loved RE6 even though it averaged what, 60 on metacritic?

Everyone has different tastes, that is why you should know what you might like and what you won't and take risks sometimes, not everything is gonna hit liked you hoped but you will find gems along the way. It helps to know what similar tastes you have with sites and reviewers. Example I know if Patrick likes a game, I will probably like it too, as I'm going to try that Danganropa (?) that he played a few months ago because we have similar tastes. Jeff is the opposite, sometimes he hates something and I'll like it, and sometimes he loves something that I hate. I know to take IGN's reviews with a grain of salt because they'll give a game a 10 and I think its mediocre at best, or say the game is awful and I love it, very hit or miss.

If you don't know why Survival Instincts and RE6 are bad then you probably shouldn't say it is bad and I'm not gonna get it. Say you watched videos of the game and you didn't like what you saw, you read reviews from people you trust and don't think you'll like it, that will help explain your reasoning.

#42 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4713 posts) -

I think this really just comes down to us not having a clear-cut textbook definition for 'janky'.

#43 Posted by TechnoSyndrome (1109 posts) -

I can generally explain why games are bad if I've played them, though thankfully I generally have a good idea of if I'll like a game or not before it comes out. A good way to get used to picking out the actual reasons a game isn't good is to write blog posts or reviews of games, even if you aren't going to post them anywhere. It makes you think of exactly why a game doesn't work, rather than just remembering that feeling of something feeling off.

#44 Posted by 49th (3120 posts) -

I pretty much just say "the reviews were bad".

#45 Edited by xyzygy (10596 posts) -

I find myself in this and other similar situations sometimes and I find when I go into details (In your Colonial Marines example, I would bring up things like how they initially showed the game, how it turned out, what fans expect from an Alien game, the difficulty, the AI, etc), people tune out. Maybe I just suck at explaining things but I kind of just say "It's hard to explain" a lot now when people ask things that require a lot of detail. I like to go into a lot of detail when I explain things and I guess some people just like smaller talk than that.

#46 Posted by RupertTheBear (219 posts) -

I would usually ask the person why their interested in a game or what they expect from a game I knew or heard was crap. Then I would explain to them how it might not live up to their expectation for instance the Story in Aliens Colonial Marines seems like Gearbox made a fan-fiction story of how they want to relive their favorite movie experience or the AI is so bad it's almost like it wants to be killed. Plus I would also do some research on developers who made the game and types of game the developers have made in the past.

I had a similar situation with a co-worker who has autism and he wanted to buy most of the ps4 and xbox one launch titles mostly because it has "pretty graphics" and flashy animation" (Plus some clerk at gamestop recommended these games). Out of all the games he wanted to get from his list of launch title games that concerned me was NBA Live 14 and NBA 2K 14. I was surprised he wanted 2 basketball game of the same year so I ask him "Why do you want two basketball game when one of them looks and feels better then the other?" His response was " I just want to see what the games look like with the new graphics in the console and I like basketball".

I tried to dissuade him from getting NBA live 14 by explaining the game looked rushed, the mechanics feel buggy, it's a waste of money to spend on two franchise of the same sport (especially when both companies will make another one every year) and i showed him both trailers for the game. In the end he still got the game and I respect his decision. No matter how many people say the game is bad, it's still the person's choice whether or not they want the game and can handle the pros and cons of the game.

#47 Posted by Anwar (982 posts) -

Well, acting all high and mighty like you know so much about video games and some person who you know doesn't, looks to me like you are patronizing him. Most media is subjective. Video games are obviously different, because some games are straight up broken and unplayable and unless you point out how a game locks up/freezes constantly, has a save deleting bug etc. I don't really get why you want to stop him from playing these so-called 'bad' games.