Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On My Mind: Go play mediocre games!

Longtime friends and colleagues of mine have know my eccentric taste in games, and sometimes those games borderline on being unplayably bad.

Now mind you, I've often advocated playing these terrible games because you'll learn quite a bit in what not to do, but that's sort of like shooting fish in a barrel: imprecise controls, shoddy health regen system, or bad level direction/AI is easy to spot and easy to suggest fixes for.

What I suggest, however, is to play some more "middle of the road" games: not the 10/10s of the generation, but rather games that serve just the niche they target, and see why they fall short of greatness:

Oh wow... did I just prove a secondary point that all these gritty, dark, games have been doing terrible? Let's balance it out with some non-gritty, colourful "mediocre games":

...second corollary: it's easier to name mediocre, non-gritty games on the Wii.

Getting back to my main point: mediocre games are great reference work because they are usually mostly playable (and sometimes enjoyable), but are flawed in some ways that makes them fall short of being a great game.  

It's also important to note here that mediocre games falls into two different categories: games that have some critical flaw that broke it (like the case of SSX Blur or FlingSmash, where the controls were directly interfering with the potential enjoyment of the game); and B-games: designed to be serviceable and cheap fun with no ambition to be anything more (Wanted and Eat Lead are great examples of that).  In the latter case, these games actually serves as a great template on what "can be fun' in a game because it does everything else just so mediocrely.

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