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#1 Posted by octupus6 (5 posts) -

Hey Giantbomb forums! Short time browser and first time poster, so be gentle!

I know this question has probably been asked like crazy before, but I'm required to write an essay for my game design portfolio outlining one very good game and one very bad game, and then discuss the reasons why I chose each.

Upon thinking about it, the good game was surprisingly easier to pick out than the bad one. As it stands it's a toss up between Journey and Spyro the Dragon for me.

So what are some games you guys find to be poorly designed (or even just not fun to play) I should take a look into?

#2 Edited by Yummylee (21475 posts) -

Resident Evil 6, specifically Jake & Ada's campaigns. I mean it's all bad, but those two of the four campaigns are especially egregious in terms of how they're designed. All of the boss battles are a complete mess at that, with the end boss of Chris' campaign a particular 'highlight'.

Oh, and while I haven't played it, I've heard some things about the 2006 Sonic game...

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

This is quickly going to devolve to "Worst Game, Period". You realize that, right?

#4 Edited by BeachThunder (11802 posts) -

The frustrating, drawn-out, quick-time-laden giant boss battles in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGfmGGeZSxU

And this is someone playing it perfectly - chances are that you won't play through it perfectly. You have to make up ground if you mess things up, so there can be a lot of redoing sections; if you need to heal, then that takes up and extra turn, and turns are few and far between; at least for me, the controls never felt particularly responsive, sometimes causing accidental deaths. Also, if you do die, you have to restart the entire battle again (The battle goes for over 15 mins for someone playing perfectly) and there's no skipping a lot of the lengthy animations...

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#5 Posted by SomberOwl (649 posts) -

From a design standpoint I would say GTA V. First reason is the whole 3 protagonists thing. The switching between the 3 characters. You have to do a lot of switching and the load times just got unbearable and tedious after awhile. Secondly the mission design for most of the mission was just plain boring. I've heard brad bring up this point and it's a good one. The constant amount of driving to point A and B is ridiculous, especially considering how damn large the map is. They constantly touted how large the map is but never said anything about all the boring driving you will have to do for the missions.

#6 Posted by GunstarRed (5103 posts) -

Take this...

It's no use.

#7 Edited by Original_Hank (98 posts) -

Dota 2 :o)

#8 Posted by Freshbandito (677 posts) -

Windjammers, come at me!

#9 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

Dota 2 :o)

Brad Muir basically said that on the DOTA Today podcast, but that's part of what fascinated him about it. It has such a steep learning curve that it flies in the face of a lot of modern game design conventions.

#10 Posted by Ryanmc94 (60 posts) -

Can I say The War Z or Infestation: Survival Stories or whatever the hell it's called these days? That game is broken from the ground up. And that's excluding all the dodgy crap that happened after its release

#11 Posted by afabs515 (1018 posts) -

Take this...

It's no use.

I saw one where the guy got into a position where every time Silver did that, he landed on a ring, so it just went on forever and ever and ever like that. GOTY every year.

#12 Posted by Brendan (7734 posts) -

I don't think it's "the worst" by a long shot, in fact I think it's alright, but Revengeance had some problems. Revengeance had problems specifically with applying it's combat concepts in ways that naturally taught the player and built the players skill over the course of the game. Many people aren't happy with DmC's forcing players to use certain methods to kill certain enemies, but it's essential in building a players competency with a wide range of combat styles so that they don't hit walls later on. In Revengeance one or two points (specifically the last boss) required skills that were unnecessary for the entire rest of the game. This problem made both the game more boring than it could have been by not more effectively facilitating the skill set they provided, and the few sticking points more frustrating than they should have been.

Wow in retrospect my sentence structure here is terrible but I don't feel like fixing it.

#13 Edited by GunstarRed (5103 posts) -

@afabs515: Haha That doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The funniest thing is that the Silver boss fight is a good example to show off the bad design in that game, but it's far, far, far from the worst offender in that game.

#14 Posted by Pr1mus (3858 posts) -

Brothers

#15 Posted by crithon (3111 posts) -

Brutal Legends. It's not even good as a exploration this album art inspired world while blasting Judas Preist because it's too janky. It should have really taken more hints from Pikimin if you want to handle a simple design of an RTS with a controller

#16 Posted by Nightriff (4979 posts) -

Why not use The Walking Dead as your good game and The Walking Dead Survival Instincts as your shit game.

#17 Posted by Akyho (1594 posts) -

@afabs515 said:

@gunstarred said:

Take this...

It's no use.

I saw one where the guy got into a position where every time Silver did that, he landed on a ring, so it just went on forever and ever and ever like that. GOTY every year.

But it pays off so well later in the game!!

#18 Edited by AlecOfTheWest (278 posts) -

Deadly Premonition, without a doubt.

#19 Posted by Counterclockwork87 (652 posts) -

From a design standpoint I would say GTA V. First reason is the whole 3 protagonists thing. The switching between the 3 characters. You have to do a lot of switching and the load times just got unbearable and tedious after awhile. Secondly the mission design for most of the mission was just plain boring. I've heard brad bring up this point and it's a good one. The constant amount of driving to point A and B is ridiculous, especially considering how damn large the map is. They constantly touted how large the map is but never said anything about all the boring driving you will have to do for the missions.

Worst designed game ever? Yep, its GTA 5! Superman 64 has some terrible design elements, hundereds of PC games released in the 90's and early 2000s, Karate Champ, Big Rigs: Over the road racing..yep but GTA V is the worst definitely...

#20 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4360 posts) -

I don't know if I would say "worst," but the first thing that comes to mind are the Borderlands games. Besides the fact they take ages to get going (and I've never accepted the "it takes X amount of time to get to the good part" excuse), it does one of the things I hate the most where it focuses on sheer quantity of enemies rather than quality. It's not inherently always a bad thing in every game I guess, but in the case of something like Borderlands, not only does it cause every fight to drag on much longer than they should, they also become annoying chaotic. Half the time, I'm getting and I don't even know where it's coming from. The rest of the time, I know exactly where it's coming from but there are so many freakin enemies, it feels like I haven't let off the trigger for almost half an hour. It just feels like when they were designing the game, everyone in the room just said "Well, all the A.I. is dumber than a sack of rocks so JUST ADD MORE ENEMIES AND MAKE IT EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME!"

And I get that's kinda sorta the appeal of the game for a lot of people and not every game can have crazy smart enemies and etc etc, but I feel like there's a happy balance somewhere and neither game has yet to come even remotely close.

#21 Edited by Hunkulese (2694 posts) -

@babychoochoo: I'm fascinated by people like you. It was made clear early and often that Borderlands was Diablo with guns. If you don't like the mindless quest for loot, why would you bother with the first game? Even if you decided to take a chance on the first one, why in the holy hell would you bother playing the second one if you did not enjoy the first?

#22 Posted by OneLoneClone (69 posts) -

Thief? An incredibly innovative, yet deeply flawed game design. I think it might be a good choice for an essay because other aspects of the game were solid (story, sound, graphics), yet the game mechanics were revealed to be tedious after the stealth novelty began to wear out.

Sim City (most recent) also might be a good one.

#23 Posted by Freshbandito (677 posts) -

As a serious answer you should maybe look into MorphX

It looked like a ps2 game, it controlled awfully, was pitch black everywhere, textures for normal walls and floors were identical to switches that you had to shoot to open doors to progress and it explains zero of it's premise about trying to evolve by killing aliens.

#24 Edited by afabs515 (1018 posts) -

@akyho said:

@afabs515 said:

@gunstarred said:

Take this...

It's no use.

I saw one where the guy got into a position where every time Silver did that, he landed on a ring, so it just went on forever and ever and ever like that. GOTY every year.

But it pays off so well later in the game!!

That's fucking amazing.

#25 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Sonic 2006 is a strong contender, but it does have some very brief redeeming elements; but obviously Big Rigs.

RE6 is a good game; it's no RE4 mind but it is still quite solid.

#26 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4360 posts) -

@hunkulese: I just said it wasn't an inherently bad thing. I have enjoyed games with wave after wave of mindless enemies before (i.e. Diablo), but, for the most part, I think it's handled poorly. The first Borderlands looked fun so I bought it. I was disappointed in a lot of ways. I was hoping Borderlands 2 would fix a lot of the problems I had with the first game. Sequels tend to do that. Look at Assassin's Creed 1 to Assassin's Creed 2. Sadly, I was disappointed with Borderlands 2 as well. I'm sorry that upsets you.

#27 Posted by MaxxS (198 posts) -

I mean, tons of the cliched "worst games ever" fit that pretty well. ET for the 2600?

#28 Edited by Sergio (2080 posts) -

Hmmm... hard to tell. I think a lot of people confuse a bad game having bad design when it's often bad execution of that design. There are plenty of good games that have bad designs as well, a couple even made it onto several top 10 lists this year.

#29 Posted by C2C (855 posts) -

From a pure design point of view? I would probably say Dwarf Fortress. I love the hell out of it, but it is just so clunky and takes so long to do anything. All the systems beneath the interface however make it an amazing game, but getting to do anything in that game is an endeavor.

#30 Edited by Landon (4133 posts) -

I don't know if I would say "worst," but the first thing that comes to mind are the Borderlands games. Besides the fact they take ages to get going (and I've never accepted the "it takes X amount of time to get to the good part" excuse), it does one of the things I hate the most where it focuses on sheer quantity of enemies rather than quality. It's not inherently always a bad thing in every game I guess, but in the case of something like Borderlands, not only does it cause every fight to drag on much longer than they should, they also become annoying chaotic. Half the time, I'm getting and I don't even know where it's coming from. The rest of the time, I know exactly where it's coming from but there are so many freakin enemies, it feels like I haven't let off the trigger for almost half an hour. It just feels like when they were designing the game, everyone in the room just said "Well, all the A.I. is dumber than a sack of rocks so JUST ADD MORE ENEMIES AND MAKE IT EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME!"

And I get that's kinda sorta the appeal of the game for a lot of people and not every game can have crazy smart enemies and etc etc, but I feel like there's a happy balance somewhere and neither game has yet to come even remotely close.

Borderlands 2 is a lot worse about this than Borderlands 1 was. I don't remember minding the amount of enemys in the first game, but Jesus Christ do they send wave after wave after wave of enemys at you in the second one.

I wouldn't mind it so much if they gave you powerful enough weapons so you can handle yourself, but their loot drop system in that game also kinda sucks. Thank god for the second wind, because the first time I played it i spent nearly the entire game on the floor.

#31 Posted by crithon (3111 posts) -

@landon said:

@babychoochoo said:

I don't know if I would say "worst," but the first thing that comes to mind are the Borderlands games. Besides the fact they take ages to get going (and I've never accepted the "it takes X amount of time to get to the good part" excuse), it does one of the things I hate the most where it focuses on sheer quantity of enemies rather than quality. It's not inherently always a bad thing in every game I guess, but in the case of something like Borderlands, not only does it cause every fight to drag on much longer than they should, they also become annoying chaotic. Half the time, I'm getting and I don't even know where it's coming from. The rest of the time, I know exactly where it's coming from but there are so many freakin enemies, it feels like I haven't let off the trigger for almost half an hour. It just feels like when they were designing the game, everyone in the room just said "Well, all the A.I. is dumber than a sack of rocks so JUST ADD MORE ENEMIES AND MAKE IT EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME!"

And I get that's kinda sorta the appeal of the game for a lot of people and not every game can have crazy smart enemies and etc etc, but I feel like there's a happy balance somewhere and neither game has yet to come even remotely close.

Borderlands 2 is a lot worse about this than Borderlands 1 was. I don't remember minding the amount of enemys in the first game, but Jesus Christ do they send wave after wave after wave of enemys at you in the second one.

I wouldn't mind it so much if they gave you powerful enough weapons so you can handle yourself, but their loot drop system in that game also kinda sucks. Thank god for the second wind, because the first time I played it i spent nearly the entire game on the floor.

I feel so much better reading this, like I'm not insane.

#32 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5375 posts) -

Every 3d Sonic game.

#33 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

It's weird that so many people are saying well received games that they personally don't care for. If it's the worst game, then almost nobody is going to like it. Sonic 2006 is a pretty great example.

#34 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6197 posts) -

The King of Fighters XII.

If there was a fighter that had really bad design, it's KOFXII. Compared to past KOF games and XIII, XII just feels clunky all over with movement feeling very abnormal. A lot of the tools given to the defensive side have been removed for aspects that haven't been well thought out like critical counter and its version of defensive C+D blowback. Even players at the offense don't feel dominating. There is a lot of stuff that just feels below barebones. While most fighting games have systems that help compliment depth, XII doesn't have anything to help the output and metagame. It was made to bring new players but just made folks keep on playing KOF2002UM or 98 before XIII came out.

#35 Posted by Sinusoidal (1383 posts) -

Some of these suggestions are ridiculous. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's designed badly. You want bad design, look at something like Catechumen or Superman 64.

#36 Posted by Turambar (6713 posts) -

Maybe not the worst game, but Beyond: Two Souls certainly is bad from a design perspective. The out of order timeline serves no purpose other than to wholly confuse the player. Quick time prompts that requires rather vague directions of the analog sticks also ends up being rather terrible. Lastly, hedging one of the last choices you can make in the game on emotional resonance with three characters that may or may not happen with any degree of success was also poor.

#37 Edited by Tom_omb (368 posts) -

Mario is Missing and Mario's Time machine are a couple impenetrable games that do a dirt poor job of communicating to the player the most dirt basic things needed to know to play these games. It was a bad time renting these as a child. Come to think of it, AVGN featured this game. His channel could be a great place to find some real crap games and why they were bad. Granted, they'll be old ones.

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#38 Posted by Hailinel (24286 posts) -

There's so much wrong with Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing from design to execution that it seems like too easy a target for this query, but this is the perfect query for that game. Superman for the N64 is another terribly designed game that's arguably worse despite being more of an actual game than Big Rigs.

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#39 Edited by glacialhelmnun (52 posts) -

Nothing in your post said anything about whether it had to be a video game. If that's true of the assignment itself, then classic board games like Monopoly and Life might be worth looking at as:

1. Everyone's played them so you don't need to explain how they work.

2. Almost everyone agrees that they're boring as shit, so instead of convincing your audience that yes they are in fact terrible, you can focus on why they're bad/boring/unrewarding.

My personal choice for worst game of all time goes to NATIONAL VELVET.

You compete against your opponents to see who can spin an arrow the best!

It is literally 100% chance.

No, you don't ever get to make any decisions.

No, you can't influence or interact with the other people you are playing against in any way.

Get some dice and a friend and see who can roll a 6 first. Now, do that 100 times and you've just played National Velvet: A Fast Paced Game of Horses and Racing !

SEE ALSO: Snakes and Ladders.

For me, this game takes it because of how elaborately vapid it its. It comes with over 50 pieces, is pain in the ass to set up and it takes forever. If I was a 9 year old girl in 1961 I'd be so pissed.

Edit: If I was writing this essay I would look at differences between Street Fighter/Fighting Street and Street Fighter II because it makes for easy comparisons between design decisions. The changes they made between these two games provided the foundation from which almost every fighting game from '91 on has drawn.

#40 Posted by believer258 (11776 posts) -

@crithon said:

@landon said:

@babychoochoo said:

I don't know if I would say "worst," but the first thing that comes to mind are the Borderlands games. Besides the fact they take ages to get going (and I've never accepted the "it takes X amount of time to get to the good part" excuse), it does one of the things I hate the most where it focuses on sheer quantity of enemies rather than quality. It's not inherently always a bad thing in every game I guess, but in the case of something like Borderlands, not only does it cause every fight to drag on much longer than they should, they also become annoying chaotic. Half the time, I'm getting and I don't even know where it's coming from. The rest of the time, I know exactly where it's coming from but there are so many freakin enemies, it feels like I haven't let off the trigger for almost half an hour. It just feels like when they were designing the game, everyone in the room just said "Well, all the A.I. is dumber than a sack of rocks so JUST ADD MORE ENEMIES AND MAKE IT EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME!"

And I get that's kinda sorta the appeal of the game for a lot of people and not every game can have crazy smart enemies and etc etc, but I feel like there's a happy balance somewhere and neither game has yet to come even remotely close.

Borderlands 2 is a lot worse about this than Borderlands 1 was. I don't remember minding the amount of enemys in the first game, but Jesus Christ do they send wave after wave after wave of enemys at you in the second one.

I wouldn't mind it so much if they gave you powerful enough weapons so you can handle yourself, but their loot drop system in that game also kinda sucks. Thank god for the second wind, because the first time I played it i spent nearly the entire game on the floor.

I feel so much better reading this, like I'm not insane.

Borderlands 2 isn't at all balanced for single player. If you set it to offline, the difficulty becomes more bearable, but you're still surrounding by fifteen billion bullet sponge enemies. The game also isn't consistent with good drops. My first character was a soldier, or whatever the Roland equivalent was called, and I just couldn't find anything worth using with him. But then I restarted the game with a Gunzerker and he got a few good weapons and shields that I could use. I still didn't beat it with him, though.

I played it with my brother and it was a lot of fun co-op, but playing that game by yourself is sometimes an exercise in frustration. Borderlands 1 was not, it was at least do-able.

Anyway, OP, isn't something wrong if you're in a games design course and you can't point to one game, or a handful of games, that stands out as "bad" to you? Don't pick something universally agreed upon as "bad", I'd be willing to bet that teacher is going to get several essays on Daikatana and Big Rigs and Superman 64. Why don't you pick out two very comparable games and explain why one is good and one is bad, instead of two random games off the top of your head. So you think Spyro the Dragon is a well-designed game; pick something like Knack or, better yet, one of Spyro's contemporaries (Croc 2 might be a good one to use, but my memory on that one is hazy) for one of your badly-designed games.

#41 Posted by MonetaryDread (2007 posts) -

It's laughable what some people are putting down for worst game ideas. Check out Deadly Towers or Darkman on the NES, or Firefly on the Atari 2600. I don't think there is a single game released since 93' that is as awful as some of the shit put out pre-snes.

#42 Posted by l4wd0g (1931 posts) -

Killzone Shdow Fall. They make you revisit areas and repopulate them with enemies that you just killed... Because that's "fun."

#43 Edited by Mirado (993 posts) -

I guess it depends on how reductive you want to be. If the design philosophy of Big Rigs was to "Make a racing game" and the core tenants of that are:

  1. Have a starting line.
  2. Have something to defeat the player (other racers or a countdown timer).
  3. Have a finish line.

...then it fails on at least number two (non-functional AI and no timer) and possibly one and three, if you count the fact that you can just reverse over the start line to win the race as a flaw in start/finish line logic.

But that game is busted top to bottom, so maybe it's not the best example. Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is rendered nearly unplayable thanks to it's controls (busted Kinect tech), it's mission design is obtuse and laborious, and it fails to capture what made Steel Battalion notable in the first place, so perhaps that's a better fit. It's an IP that at least had some sort of funding and recognition. They didn't design a good mech game, and they certainly didn't design a working Kinect game.

I guess the games you choose should be more dependent on what you are trying to illustrate. if I were you, I'd go for contrast; take two games that are directly comparable, rather than just "bad" and "good", and differentiate what makes one a design tour-de-force, and the other a smoking pile of garbage.

#44 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5814 posts) -

Watch some AVGN if you want to see some truly horribly designed games.

His schtick may not appeal to everyone, but god seeing how bad some of those games can be is amazing.

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#45 Posted by maverick1 (92 posts) -

Fable 3 was pretty bad. The menu interfaces were just godawful.

#46 Posted by Yesiamaduck (969 posts) -

Recently I thought 'The Cave' had some baffling design choices which made what could've been very enjoyable game into a tedious slog....

I'll never forget the feeling I had when it dawned on me that you could only play 3 of characters stories per playthrough... that the were SEVEN characters meaning you'd need to play it 3 times with 2 repeat characters to see everything... AND EACH OF THESE PLAYTHROUGHS HAVE THE SAME UNSKIPPABLE SECTIONS THAT DONT APPLY TO ANY CHARACTER WHICH ALSO NEGATED THE WHOLE FUCKING CHARMING CONCEPT ALL TOGETHER.

FUCK.THAT.GAME

I was so ready to love it as well, because it's really funny.

#48 Posted by SomberOwl (649 posts) -

@somberowl said:

From a design standpoint I would say GTA V. First reason is the whole 3 protagonists thing. The switching between the 3 characters. You have to do a lot of switching and the load times just got unbearable and tedious after awhile. Secondly the mission design for most of the mission was just plain boring. I've heard brad bring up this point and it's a good one. The constant amount of driving to point A and B is ridiculous, especially considering how damn large the map is. They constantly touted how large the map is but never said anything about all the boring driving you will have to do for the missions.

Worst designed game ever? Yep, its GTA 5! Superman 64 has some terrible design elements, hundereds of PC games released in the 90's and early 2000s, Karate Champ, Big Rigs: Over the road racing..yep but GTA V is the worst definitely...

I never said it was the worst game ever. I was just pointing out game design flaws. It's obviously not a bad game by any means. I didn't mean for the statement come off that way. I just thought some of the mission designs were bad is all.

#49 Edited by TheHT (11102 posts) -
@yesiamaduck said:

Recently I thought 'The Cave' had some baffling design choices which made what could've been very enjoyable game into a tedious slog....

I'll never forget the feeling I had when it dawned on me that you could only play 3 of characters stories per playthrough... that the were SEVEN characters meaning you'd need to play it 3 times with 2 repeat characters to see everything... AND EACH OF THESE PLAYTHROUGHS HAVE THE SAME UNSKIPPABLE SECTIONS THAT DONT APPLY TO ANY CHARACTER WHICH ALSO NEGATED THE WHOLE FUCKING CHARMING CONCEPT ALL TOGETHER.

FUCK.THAT.GAME

I was so ready to love it as well, because it's really funny.

OK, sure, that's totally a case where it's design and not necessarily execution that's shoddy. Trying to think of games that fit the bill, I ended up with a bunch that were just terribly put together, but not obviously bad from a design standpoint. Games that just didn't make the translation from paper to game.

But having to backtrack and redo parts also with an odd amount of characters like that? Bad fuckin design.

#50 Posted by Kidavenger (3528 posts) -

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

There is no direction for the player, you don't know what to do at any point in playing that game, there is no progression, no score, no goal.

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