Bad Design 1

This column looks at design flaws in popular games. Nearly all of the examples of poor design are from games that are either good or great, so don’t assume we are picking on these games solely because they suck and it’s fun to make fun of crap. Perhaps it is the games’ quality that makes identifying one specific design flaw so easy. The flaws are also not unique the only these games; hopefully each specific game we examine will hold a flaw that is common in many other games, some sort of universal design flaw. This will ultimately make the column much more valuable than if it were just a place to piss on a game for a specific and unique quirk.

Tell me, how is it I know English?

That being said, welcome to the first installment of this potentially never ending series. →  What is a post? A miserable little pile of secrets.

Review – Castle Shikigami 2

Castle Shikigami 2
Developed by Alfa Systems
Published by XS Games
Released 11.12.04


The shooter, it is said, is a dying genre. Debatabley the first video game created, Spacewar, was a one on one shooter, so it is also a proud and essential genre. News of its demise has not fallen upon hardcore gamers’ ears lightly. The shooter is an odd genre in some respects. Many critics of current games complain that games are too long, too involved, and too complex. To reach a bigger audience, games should be shorter and simpler. The shooter tends to be both shallow and quickly completed, yet it is not embraced by the general populace. Is this because they are far too hard for the average person or because companies refuse to publish and advertise this type of game?
 →  Densha de Read! Shinkansen

Dear EA

Dear Electronic Arts,

On June 28th, Frank Gibeau told Next Generation, “It’s really hard to think of new ideas.” Perhaps it’s only because I’m a genius, but I come up with new ideas all the time. I have enclosed two new game concepts for your consideration. A resume is not included because these designs speak for themselves.

Library Simulator – Build the library of your dreams. Decide the layout, build improvements, and take down unused wings. Hire staff to keep peace, shelve books, and keep the patrons quiet. Choose amongst dozens of librarians, each with their own special talents and interests. Develop the collection to best suit your demographic, or attempt to move the library in a new direction and capture more demographics. By preventing your library from dipping into the red and keeping your patrons happy you can keep it open indefinitely, which is good because you’ll want to see all of the new technologies that will eventually become available to your library, assuming you fund the research. →  Devil Summoner: Readou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Article

Concerned Citizen

Grand Theft Auto 3 has come under a lot of heat because of the Hot Coffee mod, which allows the player to have polygonal sex with his video game girlfriend. GameStop, crusader for freedom Jack Thompson, and Hillary Clinton are among those who have lined up against Rock Star for making such an immoral product. Murdering prostitutes is questionable behavior, but having sexual intercourse is just ethically wrong so I, too, decided to share my discontent… but in the most positive way possible, by thanking those retailers who pulled the game from their shelf. Enjoy.

Wal-Mart team photo
What Would Wal-Mart Do?

Thank you for being a family friendly store. Capitalism will never work if we just allow people to buy whatever they want. We need more huge corporations to stand up to products Jesus wouldn’t like and say, “No. →  To be this lame takes ages.

Oh Joy, a new video game site

This is a brand new style for a web site. We are totally extreme, to the maxx and in your face. And sarcastic, I bet you’ve never seen a website that uses sarcasm. Well this one does. Get over it.

My God, that man is sitting on an enormous gun!

Since there are about 600 trillion websites already dedicated to reviewing video games, we knew we had to come up with a good angle. First, we thought we’d go with the “we have no angle” angle. Seinfeld did it so why can’t we? Seinfeld also had extremely talented writers, we do not. So then we thought “if we are just true to ourselves and the games, our humanity will shine through.” But the idea that the writers on bigger, richer sites are writing something that’s false to themselves or creating a personality to sell the site is sort of offensive. →  I’m gonna take you for a read.