Bad Trends in Game Design

I have noticed a horrible trend in game design while playing with my XBox 360. This is obviously a marketing-led game design decision – shades of New Coke.

The trend has to do with giving the player EVERYTHING in the game in the first five minutes, and then taking it all away and making the player earn it back.

This horrible design technique (which I call Riches to Rags to Riches) was evident in Need for Speed and Kameo. In Need for Speed, the player starts out with an awesome fast car, great nitro boost, great tires, etc. Five minutes later, it is taken away and you have to start over with a crappy car. Kameo, which is a really lame game in almost every other way, also uses this horrible design technique of giving the player all powers and abilities right in the beginning. A few minutes later, your “evil” step-sister, or some other lame plot twist, takes all your powers away.

Obviously, much of the player’s classic incentive for building up their character is taken away if they already know what it is like. Need for Speed tries to replace that motivation with some fictional “revenge” where you have to impress some bloomy girl and beat this bloomy guy because he is a jerk.

Imagine if you spent the first half our in Diablo with all the best armor and the best weapons? But I can see the Dilbert marketing department sitting around saying, “We have to get them hooked, so let’s go ahead and rip up the whole game design and create a stupid fiction to trick the players.” Sorry, it doesn’t work!

FMV’s sweet comeback now with Ultra-Bloom to Mask Bad Acting:

A super-zoom for super-ultra-bloom.

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  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/gfailure/ GFailure

    It’s really your own fault for buying Need For Speed. I know there’s only 16 games out there to chose from right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy them all. :)

    Don’t mind me, I’ll go back to playing Burnout Revenge.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com tratcliff

    Oh yes.. Burnout is a much much better game… no doubt about it. The best thing about NFS is running from the cops – it’s really fun.

  • http://www.photontorpedoes.com rguion

    Here’s my review of Most Wanted.

    Burnout Revenge is awesome, but I don’t always want Red Bull. NFS is good with the cops (as Trey says), the city is pretty cool, and the sounds are just awesome.

    In the open-city street racing category, I think the Midnight Club series has always been the best.

    Here’s my review of Midnight Club 3.

    Thanks for the opportunity to pimp.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com tratcliff

    You can pimp your stuff here any time mysterious RGUION with your mysterious racing references.

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