Worst Game Ever Award

QuarterToThree Message Boards: Free for all: Worst Game Ever Award
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 12:11 pm:

The article that was posted on the News page this morning got me thinking...I'm not sure what I would classify as the Worst Game Ever. I've got plenty of candidates for Most Dissapointing, but I don't think that would be the same thing. At any rate, it should make for some fun conversation...

We all know that Tom thinks it's Deus Ex, and Wumpus thinks it's Counter-Strike, but what do the rest of you think? What's the Worst Game Ever?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 01:19 pm:

For computer games, a few spring to mind: Outpost, BC3K, and Descent to Undermountain. E.T. for the Atari is truly atrocious and along with Pac-Man killed the videogame industry until Nintendo revived it.

There's that Custer's Revenge game where they object is to rape an indian. That deserves a place in the pantheon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TomChick on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 01:29 pm:

I'm always a little wary calling something "Worst". There are plenty of awful games around and it's hard to quantify their awfulness. Is Extreme Windsuring worse than Cabela's Squirrel Hunter? Where do all the crappy shareware games we've never played fit in? think the label "Disappointing" is more useful when you're making a personal list.

However, an interesting discussion would be which game has done the most damage to the industy.
* Outpost really damaged Sierra's credibility.

* Battlecruiser showed an unprecedented disparity between the developer's claims and the final product.

* I think Trespasser killed the viability of different kinds of first person shooters for a while.

* Although I personally liked Myst, some people think it killed adventure gaming.

* The success of Ultima Online undoubtedly killed a lot of projects at Origin.

-Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 02:25 pm:

I rarely -- especially recently, since I got married and have to justify buying a game to someone else -- play games that turn out to be bad, because I don't buy them very often, and usually only after playing a demo. (Of course, I'll pick up anything with a fifteen dollar or less price tag, and usually I get what I pay for.)

That being so, it's hard for me to think of even disappointing games that I've bought. (One of my greatest disappointments is that they quit making the Quest for Glory series...)

I was disappointed by Rival Realms, but only because I expected too much out of a ten dollar game. (Not that it doesn't have it good points.)

I got Age of Wonders as a freebie from Compuexpert, and I don't even think it was installed for more than ten minutes. I've heard people rant and rave, but I thought it sucked -- pretty bad. But, it was a freebie.

If platforms count, I give Mario Party my Most Disappointing Game Ever award. My wife and I looked and looked for a game where we could play at the same time and not have to kill each other, and found that one. After shelling out forty bucks, I doubt we've played it more than three times.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bernie Dy on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 02:30 pm:

Tom said:


Quote:

There are plenty of awful games around and it's hard to quantify their awfulness.



Yes, and there's the old cliche about all of this being opinion. I hated the oldie ACE (Air Combat Emulator) but someone out there might like it.

Perhaps the perfect example of a game that polarizes audiences is The Sims. I'm sure a few folks would put that on their Worst Game list, and some would put it on their Best Game list.

But I think you guys have already mentioned the universally accepted and critically unacclaimed biggies.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 02:37 pm:


Quote:

Perhaps the perfect example of a game that polarizes audiences is The Sims. I'm sure a few folks would put that on their Worst Game list, and some would put it on their Best Game list.




Yeah, I don't really know where to put it, either. I've spent hours playing it, and yet...I couldn't say why. The more I don't play it, the less I miss it. Yet, I can't fire it up without giving 2 hours or more. I don't get it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 02:53 pm:

Mark said:

"E.T. for the Atari is truly atrocious and along with Pac-Man killed the videogame industry until Nintendo revived it."

It was more than Pac-Man and E.T. that killed the video game industry back then, although E.T. probably helped. God, that game was awful. Or at least the first screen of it was (that's all I ever saw... ;)

Cart makers were shovelling out crap right and left, however--I have a whole stack of really, really terrible (even by early 1980's standards) games for the 2600 in my attic. Some of them I couldn't even figure out how to play, or what you were supposed to be doing. The game makers thought that the booming market would buy anything, and it did... for a while. Then people got fed up and it collapsed.

Then Tom said:

"Although I personally liked Myst, some people think it killed adventure gaming."

I loved Myst, personally (and I rather liked realMyst too, in a "nostalgia trip" sort of way). It annoys me that so many people blame Myst for ruining the adventure genre, but fail to lay any blame on all the companies that decided that since Myst was so successful they could make money by simply churning out shoddily-made clones and then rely on players' fond memories of Myst to sell them. Those are the people who ruined the adventure genre.

So my "most disappointing" game? Hmm. Outpost would be up there--I had been looking forward to that clunker for quite some time. Star General would be another. Privateer 2 ranks pretty high (or low, rather) on my list, too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 03:01 pm:


Quote:

along with Pac-Man killed the videogame industry




You really think Pac-Man hurt the industry? I thought that it did a lot to help. Heck, my mom even played it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 03:32 pm:

Hmm, there was, um, Star Fleet II I think it was called, from Interstel; it was supposed to be a Trek-like game (one step above ASCII graphics era, still late 80s here) but with marines, boarding, etc. Never worked, company went under.

Breach 3, because I loved Breech and Breech 2.

Semper Fi from Interactive Magic, because I loved the subject matter and the execution was execrable.

Kampfruppe for the Amiga, because the excellent C-64 version was ported not only with no enhancements, but with all bugs intact.

Witchaven and Witchaven II. If you don't know, consider yourself blessed.

The Fortress of Dr. Radiaki. The epitome of the bad clone shooter, and also proof that people with no talent should not attempt parody.

Birthright, because the gap between potential and actuality was the Pacific Ocean in width.

I'm sure there are others....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jim Frazer on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:14 pm:

Oh man, when I saw the Birthright box and the description of the gameplay, I ran out and slammed my $40 onto the checkout counter...woe is me.

As everyone has said, it's hard to say what the "worst" in my stack of disks is, so we'll go for disappointing.

Force Commander: naughty children should be forced to play this game during detention. Not a single good point for it. Bad controls, horrible object clipping, bad resource management, the list goes on.

Dune 2000: I have an idea, lets take a classic game, update the graphics a little, add "2000" on the title and claim it's a new game! We won't even bother to update the AI except to make it build so fast that no one could ever stop its patented tank rush tactics.

Deus Ex: Revolutionary my ass

Diakatana: While we all knew it was going to suck, I held out hope that all of the development time would at least churn out a passable FPS.

Battlecruiser 3000ad: It's kinda disolved into a gaming myth, but it's amazing how disappointing this game was. Bugs galore, no manual to speak of, and no aftermarket support for a few months.

The list could go on, but these al lept into my mind.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bub (Bub) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:36 pm:

Most disappointing?
I'd go with Star Wars Rebellion since I had really high hopes for that one.

Daikatana, even though there was fair warning it was going to stink beforehand, what amazed me about it was the sheer level of half-assedness found throughout that game. What can you say about a game with so little polish?

Trespasser deserves mention. But my disappointment in that one runs more toward myself.

Starfleet Command II slightly improved an awesome game and added nothing else that worked. And even if Dynaverse 2 did work I don't think it's a worthwhile addition. A dynamic story driven campaign with that combat system is what SFC1 fans deserved.

I had really high hopes for World Series Baseball for the DC.

-ahem- Ultima 9.
-Ah-ah-ah-hem- Messiah

American McGee's Alice, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Thingamajig, Birth of the Federation, those all spring readily to mind as well.

Great, now I'm all depressed.

-Andrew

PS: Here's a column I did about Last Year's Stuff.
http://www.dailyradar.com/columns/game_column_609.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:39 pm:

Michael said:

"You really think Pac-Man hurt the industry?"

The Atari version did. People were really anticipating it, and it ended up being pretty bad. Square Pac-Man, atrocious color schemes, and the gameplay was nowhere near as good as the arcade version. Atari's Ms. Pac-Man port was a lot better, though.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:43 pm:


Quote:

One of my greatest disappointments is that they quit making the Quest for Glory series...




Well, they did manage to finish up the series with the 5th game. After they patched it, it was even kind of fun!

As a programmer, I understand how crappy products can get pushed out the door. Even so, it seems like a tremendous waste to spend all that time and money only to prematurely release a title. M1A1-2 comes to mind.


Quote:

It annoys me that so many people blame Myst for ruining the adventure genre, but fail to lay any blame on all the companies that decided that since Myst was so successful they could make money by simply churning out shoddily-made clones and then rely on players' fond memories of Myst to sell them.




My personal complaint with Myst is that some of my non-gamers friends associate all games with Myst. "Half-Life? Is that like Myst?"

- Alan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TomChick on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:43 pm:

"Deus Ex: Revolutionary my ass"

Hey, a brother-in-arms! Now there are enough of us to form a club, Jim.

-Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 04:51 pm:

Alan said:


Quote:

Well, they did manage to finish up the series with the 5th game. After they patched it, it was even kind of fun!




You do it a great disservice, my friend! I thought QFG5 was pretty darn good. Especially for a thief -- but then, all the QFG games provided pretty good opportunities for the thief. And the tieves' guild was always cool. I'd like to see more games handle that as they did.

And Andrew:

Quote:

-ahem- Ultima 9.




Come now. After it was patched -- which, granted, took way too stinkin' long -- U9 shaped up to be a pretty good, "one-of-my-favorites" game. Minus the bugs, it was really pretty cool. And one of the most beautiful games ever played. I liked to just sit and watch the sunset from time to time. My wife even liked it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 05:08 pm:

Re: Ultima IX: I played it patched and patched only. I laughed my ass off at the wolf suspended in mid-air about 30 minutes into the game and the fish I watched go right through a wall. Right then I knew it deserved every bit of bad press it had gotten and would get from then on.

The game was way too ambitious given the capability of hardware at the time. It also seemed to use way too many textures and objects for any computer to handle given its renderer. I remember the guys at 3D Realms took a look at the game and used a cheat to fly out over the water where there wasn't much on the screen. The engine just flew. So as a renderer it was ok provided you didn't throw all the stuff on the screen that the Origin designers did. Living within the limitations of your game engine is part of making a great game. Those that go beyond that limit run the risk of making an Ultima IX.


Quote:

Minus the bugs, it was really pretty cool.




Minus bugs, anything can be "pretty cool". Sure there's some cool stuff there, but just about every game I've played has cool stuff in it. Even the repugnant Mayday had one or two redeeming traits (though I can't think of them off the top of my head). Cool stuff does not a good game make. Though I guess if you wanted eye candy and could tolerate ten frames per second, Ultima IX could be considered a good game. Thank God I only paid $20 for it. Even that was too much...

--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tom Ohle on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 05:11 pm:

There aren't too many PC games that really disappointed me... Diablo II is the first one that comes to mind.

Bub said:
"I'd go with Star Wars Rebellion since I had really high hopes for that one."
I actually liked Rebellion. Granted, it could have been a lot better, but I think LucasArts did a decent job with it.

To get back to the "worst game ever" discussion, I'd have to vote for either Deep Raider for the PC, or Tail of the Sun for PlayStation. I remember buying Tail of the Sun because I thought it was an RPG. God, was I wrong. The whole point of the game was to build up a pillar of mammoth tusks--to reach the "tail of the sun." While that was ultimately the goal, there were a bunch of other things you could do, like explore this huge world, kill a bunch of different animals, and build up a tribe of sorts. Sure, it sounds good, but each of the ideas was so poorly executed... it was almost sickening ;) If you've never played it, you should just rent it to see how stupid it is.

There are so many horrible games made for consoles, and the PSX seems to get the bulk of them. I remember when I worked at Gamers.com, I was supposed to do all this research on PlayStation games... so many crappy games, wow. Heh.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 05:12 pm:


Quote:

Semper Fi from Interactive Magic, because I loved the subject matter and the execution was execrable.




Yeah, a game about the Marine Corps. with no amphibious assaults. Go figure. That game also had the most inpenetrable interface I've ever seen.

A lot of games with "Star Trek" in the title would qualify. New Worlds, of course, was one of the worst of last year. And that was just one of many, many bad RTS games I've played over the years. I think the all-time worst in that category may be a tie between Armored Moon and Tribal Rage. Tribal Rage gets special points off for Talonsoft's ingenious marketing campaign of spamming the Strategic newsgroup.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Bussman on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 05:43 pm:

About Star Wars: Rebellion...

I bought that game, played it for a while, then realized it really sucked. I never tried this, but some of my friends who lived on the same floor of my dorm at the time tried something interesting with multiplayer. They'd start a game, and play for a long time, building up resources and ships but deliberately avoiding combat. Then they'd assemble two HUGE fleets and agree to meet somewhere. I think the actual battle would take 2 hours because of how slowly it would run.

I remember seeing the teasers for the combat in Homeworld and thinking that is what the combat in Rebellion should have been like.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jim Frazer on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 06:06 pm:

"I remember seeing the teasers for the combat in Homeworld and thinking that is what the combat in Rebellion should have been like."

Still surprised that no one liscensed the Homeworld engine to make a space opera game (although Homeworld itself was a space opera). Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Babylon 5 all come to mind as worlds that would work out perfect using the Homeworld engine.

"Hey, a brother-in-arms! Now there are enough of us to form a club, Jim."

Works for me. We'll sit around and compare notes about just how many crates will exist in the future and what will be stored in them. I'd love to skin my knee knowing that all I had to do was walk down an alley and break open a crate to satisfy all my bandage needs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Geo on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 06:07 pm:

I have more obscure votes:
* Tank Commander (or something like that) by Domark. The horror, the horror!
* That crummy giant mech/robot game of last year. Blocked it from my mind. Was such a bitter disappointment it became the first EB purchase I ever returned.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By XtienMurawski on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 07:58 pm:

A child's question...

Um, can someone distill for me the argument that Myst ruined adventure gaming? I missed the whole debate since I came to this gaming thing late in life. After church.

Thanks.

Amanpour


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Bussman on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 08:15 pm:


Quote:

Still surprised that no one liscensed the Homeworld engine to make a space opera game (although Homeworld itself was a space opera). Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Babylon 5 all come to mind as worlds that would work out perfect using the Homeworld engine.




Yeah, that's a good point. I do know of a B5 mod for Homeworld, but I think they just changed the ship models, not the weapons layouts or anything like that. I don't think we'd ever see a Star Wars game using the Homeworld engine because I don't think Lucasarts would want to admit that they've really been sucking lately... :)

Back to the topic at hand. I was really disappointed in MechCommander, it was too damn hard to work with.

Playing the demo of Force Commander almost made me ill.

I was also pretty disappointed in MS Combat Flight Simulator 2. It looks really good, the flight models are good, but there is zero sense of immersion. I get more gratification out of playing the instant action missions than I do the campaign... Probably because the campaign is a bunch of instant action missions strung together. lol.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TomChick on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 08:40 pm:

"Um, can someone distill for me the argument that Myst ruined adventure gaming?"

The argument goes a little something like this:



Because Myst was so phenomenally successfully (due in large part to the happy coincidence of CD-ROMs catching on when the game was released), adventure game developers and bandwagoneers basically copied it without understanding what made it tick. The result was a lot of puzzle-based, minimally interactive games without Myst's artwork and languid sense of exploration. They didn't sell, so people stopped making adventure games. It's Myst's fault. Wah.

I'm not sure I agree with this. To me, adventure games didn't die so much as they failed to grow. While certain genres saw explosive growth (first person shooters and real time strategy games, for instance), adventure games stayed at a consistent level and were thus regarded as failures.

Something similar happened with RPGs, flight sims, and wargames. RPGs have been revivied thanks to massively multiplayer titles and the Baldur's Gate series. Flight sims are still in torpor because they tend to require larger budgets and thus publisher support. Wargames are doing just fine because they were niche products all along that didn't really need lavish production values.

As for killing adventure games, I think people like Jane Jensen and her infernal cat fur and syrup puzzles have done more harm to adventure games than Myst.

There. Now you're caught up, Amanpour.

-Professor Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sean Tudor on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 09:05 pm:

The last truly bad full price game I purchased was Braveheart. Now that I am married with wife and house I can't afford to waste money so I only purchase games with good reviews.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 10:03 pm:


Quote:

That crummy giant mech/robot game of last year. Blocked it from my mind. Was such a bitter disappointment it became the first EB purchase I ever returned.




That could be anything! The subtle irony is that I don't really remember the bad games either. That isn't to say I've never played them, only that they are wholly unmemorable.

- Alan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Geo on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 10:07 pm:

Well, it was an action game, wasn't one of the Mech Warrior games, and you played this giant robot who could stomp on little cars and people. It simply was boring from the get go.

I wonder sometimes if it's better to be an awful game everyone will remember for its awfulness (Daikatana) or one that's simply forgotten (Dominion, Conquest Earth, the giant robot game I can't remember. ;)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 10:28 pm:

Slave Zero.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Geo on Monday, April 9, 2001 - 11:10 pm:

Ba da bing! Thank you. :) And I got that Kohan price adjustment at BB, BTW, thanks as well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 12:49 am:

Rebellion dissapointed me alot, expected a moo game with star wars and w/ cool star wars fleet battles. the interface really really turned me off, and the pace was ultra slow. plus i'm pretty lenient when it comes to interfaces...hell i thought Wizards and Warriors had a pretty good interface.

anyway, Rebllion isn't the worst game I've played...probably the worst were the cheap arcade ripoffs i played on an apple clone my family had, like Canonball Blitz (donkey kong ripoff) and some cheap ripoff of Karateka or i remember Mindscape doing Rambo as a text adventure...was pretty stupid.

also, i was very underwhlemed with starfleet command...though its far from worst game ever...actually i really never bought a game that i felt terrible about...i'm too easily pleased i guess.

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Geo on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 01:19 am:

How about, I think it was, Good and Evil? The mediocre Lucasarts SimCity ripoff of a few years back. It wasn't putrid, but it seemed to be the first sign of the bloom fading on Lucasarts' rose.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 01:48 am:

You mean Afterlife? :)

LucasArts and strategy rarely mix I'd say. Rebellion, Afterlife, Force Commander... at least for the next one they have a proven game engine.

--Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 02:28 am:

Recently, I'd have to say Soldier of Fortune. A run-of-the-mill shooter (at best) encased in a delicious gory shell. After you become jaded to shooting guys in the balls and watching them clutch at their groin, the uninspired shooter begins to shine through. Also, for so much hype about the game being "realistic" & influenced by a REAL LIVE soldier of fortune, the weapons sure are silly. Really, a microwave gun? (Not to mention that you needed it to defeat the final boss.) How about the anemic WP grenade launcher on the belt-fed MG? Just what I need, a launcher with less range than my arm.

Another for the disappointing shooter pile is Elite Force. The Borg levels were fun, but not much else. An entire level of shooting at bat creatures made me think the designers watched The Beastmaster a few too many times. Worse, it followed the Deus Ex Quartermaster Rule by giving you insufficient ammunition despite working for the largest, wealthiest organization in the universe. Not many crates, but lots of weapon and health power stations on derelict ships that had been abandoned for decades. I can hardly wait for the expansion, where I get to wander around all of Voyager! Now THAT sounds like improved gameplay!

Many years ago, my wife and I sat down to play Myst together. We thought it would give us something fun to do together, but we found it so annoying that we downloaded a walkthrough and burned through it in a couple days. After watching the ending video, she sputtered, "That's it!?" and stomped off. The whole experience was so burdensome and anticlimactic that it soured her on computer games ever since. For its ability to permanently turn off the novice gamers to whom it was sold, Myst gets my award as Worst Ever.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By XtienMurawski on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 03:33 am:

"Now you're caught up, Amanpour."

Thanks Professor. Can I have a hall pass to the bathroom now?

I never played Myst, though a man named Cain (I think that's a David Carradine film) introduced me to Riven. I loved Riven, what I played of it, but it scared me because of the way it made time warp. I'd start up the game and then look at the clock and four and a half hours had gone by. I hadn't done four and a half hours of work or anything constructive. All I felt I'd done was click on things and take notes for a few minutes. But there the clock sat telling me four and a half hours of life was gone.

I grew to think that Riven was the "Lifeforce" of video games and got a little spooked I guess. I keep meaning to return to it. I suppose I have until the 21st of this month. After that I have to co-purchase games with my Mrs. so that we have "something fun to do together." I've already begun looking into titles we can co-purchase. I'm considering "Interactive Mind Teeazzer" but am open for suggestions.

Amanpour


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 08:40 am:

Alan said:

"My personal complaint with Myst is that some of my non-gamers friends associate all games with Myst. "Half-Life? Is that like Myst?""

Again, is that really the fault of Myst?

Some people don't know about games--they may have seen or heard of one or two (and Myst may well be one of those, since it sold about nine gazillion copies), so naturally they associate all games with their own limited knowledge. And when they do, just tell them "no, there are actually lots of different types of games out there--Myst is merely the tiny tip of the iceberg." Heck, let them borrow a few good games of your own as an example... =)

Then Tom said:

"I'm not sure I agree with this. To me, adventure games didn't die so much as they failed to grow. As for killing adventure games, I think people like Jane Jensen and her infernal cat fur and syrup puzzles have done more harm to adventure games than Myst."

I'm not sure they died at all. I think that they are merely in the process of merging with (of all things) shooters. The traditional, point and click adventure is probably a thing of the past, but there are a lot of 3D games out there that have very strong adventure influences (stuff like NOLF, and Drakan, and Thief, and all the other games that we're calling "action/adventures" these days). I think 3D environments capture a lot of the immersiveness that made Myst such a compelling game, and that's where adventures are going.

Eventually some designer is going to have the balls to take a lot of the shooting out of their shooter and focus more heavily on the adventure elements. American McGee's Alice, for instance, would have been a much better game if it weren't so heavily focused on combat. I was more interested with exploring the weird environments and talking to Wonderland's strange denizens; I found the game frustrating because while it dangled all that stuff in front of you, most of the interaction boiled down to killing things. And the combat felt really out of place--it seems like they felt compelled to put a lot of it in merely because "it's a shooter."

As for Jane Jensen, she comes up with some really great stories, but she can't design puzzles worth a damn. None of the GK games had good puzzles--they were full of illogical oddities that existed (and worse, FELT like they existed) merely as roadblocks. Say what you will about the clones that came later, but almost all of Myst's puzzles actually made logical sense, and there were always clues. I also really enjoy the way the game never forces you to pixel-hunt--they would hide important things from you in plain sight, and then use visual trickery to direct your attention elsewhere. Clever.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 08:45 am:

Supertanker said:

"For its ability to permanently turn off the novice gamers to whom it was sold, Myst gets my award as Worst Ever."

Then again, I've had friends turned off of games after trying both Civilization and Doom, too. Some people simply don't enjoy certain types of games, and some people don't like games at all. It happens.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 09:14 am:

If a designer took the shooting out of the shooter and made it more adventure-y, you'd have, um, a first-person RPG. Or System Shock 2 . Games like Azrael's Tear, for instance, or even Realms fo the Haunting, were sort of like what Ben's talking about. Imagine, now, that sort of thing with today's graphics and potential for intricate environments though....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 10:08 am:

Okay, I'd like to go way back and simply say this about U9 -- I never saw a floating wolf, or a fish go through a wall. I had a couple of strange experiences late, late in the game, but that was it, and they seemed to be (more or less) flukes, as they didn't happen a second time if I loaded up the last save and went through it again. It didn't have a painfully low frame rate, either. This was running on a AMD K6-2 450MHz processor, Voodoo3 card, with 64MB RAM. It ran pretty smoothly. So, I still have fond memories of it. I thought it was a pretty great game. In fact, for a long time I wondered why no one else liked it.


Quote:

I've already begun looking into titles
we can co-purchase. I'm considering "Interactive Mind Teeazzer" but am open for suggestions.




Amanpour, if you haven't already, you might think about the Rollercoaster Tycoon games, or the Sims. They seem to be very female friendly (i.e. My wife likes them), and they're pretty easy for a guy to handle. Occasionally, my wife will feign a little interest in an RPG, but never for long. She seems to like the "cutesy" graphics a lot, but if it's well-rendered 3D, she at least appreciates it. (She loved the sunsets in U9.) She goes for the city-building games, too -- Caesar 3, Zeus, etc. She doesn't like violence, and she doesn't like the threat of losing. So, that's how my wife thinks about computer games. Your wife could be completely different, but that's how my wife is, and I remember Mark saying that his wife likes a lot of those same games.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By twelhajj on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 11:29 am:


Quote:

After that I have to co-purchase games with my Mrs. so that we have "something fun to do together." I've already begun looking into titles we can co-purchase.




Get an adventure game. A few good ones that come to mind are: Any of the Monkey Island series, or Grim Fandango. Those will get you started.

My wife is no gamer. But I find that she can only stand to watch while I solve the easy puzzles in the begining, then she's right in there fighting for the mouse.

My thing is to have a walkthrough handy for hints because nothing is worse then getting stalled when you only have a few hours to play and aren't sure when you can make time again.

Heh--personally I think it's cool to hide the fact that I have the walkthrough, so I can solve all the problems and look like a brilliant adventure gamer. ;)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tom Ohle on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 01:38 pm:

I forgot one candidate for worst game ever. That would be Abomination: The Nemesis Project. What a load of crap that was.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Xaroc on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 03:28 pm:

I hate to dredge up old wars but Deus Ex worst game ever? I can see how some things about the game might turn people off but worst game ever?

The gameplay was revolutionary in that it didn't force you to complete missions in any set way. You could be stealthy or go in like Rambo, or do a mix of both depending on the situation and your mood. I don't know of another game that really does that. Others like Thief and NOLF force you to not be seen in some missions or not kill anyone. Different but not better IMO.

The only drawbacks in the game were the initial levels framerate and the AI was a bit dodgy at times. Other than that it was a great game IMO.

Also, complaining about crates in Deus Ex and FPS games is pointless. Maybe you could do without them but they are always going to be there. Half-Life had crates, SS2 did, NOLF, etc. etc. etc.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jim Frazer on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:08 pm:

I never said Deus Ex is a Worst Game Ever, but it is indeed on my Most Disappointing list. It was supposed to radically change the way FPS games were made, but it did nothing of the kind. Messiah (another disappointment) was much more "out of the box" than Deus Ex.

Deus Ex was enjoyable, but it was nothing like as advertised. That's becoming quite the pattern for Ion Storm.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TomChick on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:15 pm:

Xaroc, I don't think anyone's calling Deus Ex "Worst Game Ever". I would personally call it last year's most disappointing and Jim also questioned whether it was really revolutionary, but I'm sure we could both think of games we dislike even more.

"The only drawbacks in the game were the initial levels framerate and the AI was a bit dodgy at times."

Saying "the AI was a bit dodgy at times" is like saying "there's a small leak in the Titanic's bow". The half-baked AI completely ruined the gameworld.

"Also, complaining about crates in Deus Ex and FPS games is pointless."

I disagree. What's pointless is swallowing conventions that make no sense just because everyone does them. You can have your sewers, key hunts, limited ammo, crates, spiders, magically impassible doors, slapdash AI, unimaginative level design, deravitive artwork, and bad stories. But me? I'm going to complain.

-Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:17 pm:

I dunno, I liked Deus Ex. Only the abysmal performance on non-3dfx machines really hurt my enjoyment of it. The AI? It sucked, but then again, so does the AI in most games. Overall I found it quite entertaining. What I would have given it had I been reviewing it I really don't know, though. Most of Tom's criticisms are completely valid, but they just didn't bug me much.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:38 pm:

"I disagree. What's pointless is swallowing conventions that make no sense just because everyone does them. You can have your sewers, key hunts, limited ammo, crates, spiders, magically impassible doors, slapdash AI, unimaginative level design, deravitive artwork, and bad stories. But me? I'm going to complain. "

Yet these very same reviewers are more than willing to heap praise at Serious Sam's doorstep.

Hypocrisy hoooooooooo!

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:40 pm:

Well, I guess the bottom line is exactly that: One man's trash is another man's treasure. What some people can't stand about a certain game, others may think are that game's redeeming features. That's why we can have threads like this. J


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Han on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 04:41 pm:

For my 11th birthday, one of my friends gave me a game called "V-8" for the Commodore 64. A bunch of us were gathering around my C-64 hooked into a 13inch TV waiting for the damn slow 5 1/4" drive to load the thing up. It took at least three minutes, then the game started with a voice saying, "V-8, return to base immeeeedjitly!" Then some ridiculous looking red sports car pulls out of what looks like a garage, then the game freezes. We tried reloading and re-running the damn thing about a dozen times (even took out the catridge that "speeds loading time of games 5 fold"). We finally gave up and went back to playing Bruce Lee or Karateka or something.

"V-8, return to base immeeeedjitly!" has never escaped my memory as the worst gaming experience of all time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 11:23 pm:

> Imagine, now, that sort of thing with today's graphics and potential for intricate environments though....

And you'd have Shenmue.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker (Supertanker) on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 12:22 am:

"Yet these very same reviewers are more than willing to heap praise at Serious Sam's doorstep."

The difference to me is that Serious Sam never pretended to be anything but a frenetic action game from the Doom mold. It delivers this in spades. Deus Ex was hyped as having realistic environments, good AI, and multiple methods to solve problems. It didn't have any of those (well, maybe the last if you count having more than one door to choose from on a warehouse). I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but the best underlining of these shortcomings was OMM's walkthrough of the demo.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 01:07 am:

"The difference to me is that Serious Sam never pretended to be anything but a frenetic action game from the Doom mold. It delivers this in spades. Deus Ex was hyped as having realistic environments, good AI, and multiple methods to solve problems. It didn't have any of those (well, maybe the last if you count having more than one door to choose from on a warehouse). I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but the best underlining of these shortcomings was OMM's walkthrough of the demo."

Still, the underlying message is-- don't try anything unless you can make it absolutely perfect. That's the OMM theory of game design. Unfortunately this does not work in the real world.

Deus Goatse.cx should be admired as a noble failure-- not ridden out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered, as some would have you believe. That's irresponsible game journalism. The game was popular for good reason; it tried things in the FPS genre that nobody else has. Sure some of them didn't work out perfectly. But a game doesn't have to be perfect to be enjoyable. Plus, there's just no way in hell that anyone could deliver a working Deus Ex with today's technology. It's far too ambitious. I think they did well to get as much working as they did.

Tom's argument that this is not a classic game is correct. It has too many problems for that. But is it a *significant* FPS title? Absolutely.

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com

p.s. Serious Sam gets seriously repetitive. Fun game? Absolutely. Innovative? Not in the slightest.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 09:37 am:

wumpus said:

"The game was popular for good reason; it tried things in the FPS genre that nobody else has."


Uhm, System Shock 2? System Shock 1?

Don't get me wrong--I liked Deus Ex a lot, in spite of some of the problems that it had. But it was hardly blazing a trail where nobody has gone before.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Gunga on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 04:40 pm:

"For my 11th birthday, one of my friends gave me a game called "V-8" for the Commodore 64. A bunch of us were gathering around my C-64 hooked into a 13inch TV waiting for the damn slow 5 1/4" drive to load the thing up. It took at least three minutes, then the game started with a voice saying, "V-8, return to base immeeeedjitly!" Then some ridiculous looking red sports car pulls out of what looks like a garage, then the game freezes."

It was called "The last V8" and it was great. Plus, it was only 1. You had problem because of the disk drive, I had a tape drive and no problem. It was well known that most games loaded faster on the tape drive than on the disk drive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By kazz on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 07:36 pm:

See, I'm kinda hesitant to post here, because people confuse "disappointing" with "worst" a lot. I played Ultima IX, meaning I was a victim of EA marketing (dammit). It was a horribly disappointing game, but only because you could see how great it was going to be if they just took the time to finish it. It was beautiful, had all our favorite characters, but the voice-acting was horrible, the bugs were horrible, etc. Disappointing, but even if it never played, it still (in my mind) wouldn't be as bad as a horrible game that DID play well enough to waste 10-20 hours of my time before I fully realized it sucked and was going to strand me. Those are the games, the ones what futilely suck away bits of your life like a mean kid licking a stolen ice cream cone, that are the worst.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 09:06 am:

I think I would be the first one to spring to U9's defense, but I won't. Really, everything you said was true, as much as I still love the game. (Fortunately, I didn't get it until after they'd patched it fully, so I missed 99.9% of the bugs.) But, I can see how it could be disappointing. Personally, I'd read enough reviews to expect several bugs, but, like I said, the version I got was mostly bug-free, so I was pleasantly surprised.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 11:58 pm:

"Oh man, when I saw the Birthright box and the description of the gameplay, I ran out and slammed my $40 onto the checkout counter...woe is me."

Oddly enough, I loved Birthright. The dungeon parts weren't very good, but I loved the strategic part and the tactical battles I liked too, though there really wasn't a lot to them.

In fact, my love for the game helped me get my start writing about games. I contacted Synergistic and offered to rewrite parts of the manual for free, and they took me up on it. It was going to be used for a Birthright Deluxe that never got published.

Then I found out Synergistic was doing Hellfire, the Diablo expansion, so I asked them if I could get a preview copy and they sent me one. I was one of the first people to have one, so I contacted George Jones at CNET and pitched writing a preview, and he bought it. Then I just kept pitching articles and before you know it....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 12:41 pm:

So, is that the best way to get started reviewing for magazines, then -- just propose an idea and see if they accept? Or is it better to make contact with the magazine and ask them what they want?

I'm getting more and more interested in at least attempting to write some reviews for magazines -- any help from anyone would be appreciated, as I really have no idea how to go about doing this.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 01:23 pm:

You need to query the editors, and it's better to pitch a couple of ideas. Just saying, "Hey, look at me! I'm ready for work!" won't get you too far.

Right now is not a good time to try to find paying assignments. The market's contracting and not only are there fewer assignments to be had, people are getting tossed out of jobs and are thus competing for the diminishing number of freelance assignments to be had.

If you really want to break in, try to establish an relationship with a site or two and do work for free. Become a regular contributor, polish your writing, and soon enough you'll have a portfolio and a track record. That will make it easier.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 01:39 pm:

Yeah, I know that my timing sucks. That's become more and more apparent with the closing of each website.

I certainly didn't expect to just waltz in and get paid either -- I mean, no one's ever heard of me before; why would they pay me when there are guys out there like Mark and Tom and so many others that frequent this site...

But, I would like to try to eek my way in. Perhaps in a couple of years, when the dot-com industy either stabilizes or collapses completely, I will have done enough work to show them that I could start getting a little cash on the side. For now, though, I'd just like to get a little start. As for getting "paid gigs"...well, I'm not going to hold my breath. Not for a long time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jim Frazer on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 03:59 pm:

Note to self: go to school and bug Mark for another preview copy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Gordon Berg on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 05:35 pm:

"If you really want to break in, try to establish an relationship with a site or two and do work for free. Become a regular contributor, polish your writing, and soon enough you'll have a portfolio and a track record. That will make it easier."

Precisely, have a body of work to point to when an opportunity presents itself. However, the golden rule of getting your foot in the door still applies above all else: It's who you know.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tom Ohle on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 05:42 pm:

Hey hey!
I think I'm just one of the lucky ones. I just wrote in to Mr. Mayer's little publication (Mr. Cross, too, I suppose ;), asked if I could do freelance work, and then did the whole spiel they made me do. Now I'm freelancing for them. It's kind of cool, but I have been doing reviews and such for around four years on my own websites.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tom Ohle on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 05:45 pm:

Oh, and Michael...
I'm going to be launching (re-launching, actually) my site, GamersClick.com, in the near future (whenever the server admin gets off his ass and sets up our account), and I'd love to have you write for me :)
It's not paid, since the internet ad market is basically dead, but it'll get you some free games and such... let me know if you'd be interested.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 09:04 pm:

"But, I would like to try to eek my way in. Perhaps in a couple of years, when the dot-com industy either stabilizes or collapses completely, I will have done enough work to show them that I could start getting a little cash on the side. For now, though, I'd just like to get a little start. As for getting "paid gigs"...well, I'm not going to hold my breath. Not for a long time."

There may be more paying gigs later in the year when the new consoles launch, if you don't mind writing about consoles. Be warned that you may have to invest money up front -- buy the console, of course, and perhaps invest in some hardware that allows you to do screen captures of console games.

An unfortunate side effect of the Internet collapse is that freelance rates are being whittled away. Some markets that still pay, such as Gamespot, have cut freelancer rates. The mags haven't, however.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TimElhajj on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 11:17 pm:

"However, the golden rule of getting your foot in the door still applies above all else: It's who you know."

uh... I thought the golden rule was that it's not who you know, but who you...


:)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Saturday, April 14, 2001 - 05:53 am:

But remember the golden rule of Gaming Journalism...never make friends with the Developers...they'll end up flying you to E3 and so on and sex and the drugs... John Romero groupies (huh?), High Elf woman...the Eq groupie... dont fall in love with her.

"so Michael we want you to do a piece with a front cover for Serious Sam... are you Serious enough for that? And you can send it over 56k in 10 seconds....amazing how fast technology is eh?"

"I have to call my mom."

sorry i had to put in an Almost Famous ripoff...

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Saturday, April 14, 2001 - 06:53 pm:


Quote:

let me know if you'd be interested.




Definitely!! I'd very much like to start getting some pieces out on the internet, so I have something to point to when I try and get gigs for magazines.

Mark, I wouldn't mind writing about consoles, but I don't know if I have the cash to front. It might be workable, but I don't know.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 12:44 pm:

Just want to say I agree with Murph's 'assessment' of The Sims wholeheartedly. I played and played and when I stopped I found myself wondering what was so interesting in the first place. I remember the last session clearly. One of my Sims was having so much fun playing his computer games I decided that I'd try it. Out went The Sims.

Also, he's right about different folks having different viewpoints about games. I think I'm one of very few people who had a ball playing Abomination - yeah, it was no X-Com but it was fun. Like eating jellybeans. Nice effects and graphics. A semi-RPG style skill system. Random maps and missions with varying goals (though most tended to boil down to killin' critters). I had the most fun just trying to make it through using only unpowered characters. Inventory management sucked and the lack of a meaningful tech tree or the wonderful complexity of an X-Com strategic layer really did hurt the game though.

The worst game, the one I became furious with, was a title by Random Games called Viking. It looked awesome. Strategy with events and dynamic factional politics, roleplaying, quests, empire building, personal combat, the works and in a richly detailed setting to boot! Everything hinted at class. Worf was even doing voiceovers! (Of course the fact I'd never heard of this title and that it was sitting in a bargain bin didn't raise any red flags.)

Of course, the thing didn't work. Personal combat was uncontrollable (not by design), naval combat resembled more PT boats racing around each other and the whole interface was unnavigable. I can't even remember my entire list of complaints but that was one broken game and one that could have been pretty damn interesting. Maybe someone else will pick theme up and do it right one day.


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. If you do not have an account, enter your full name into the "Username" box and leave the "Password" box empty. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail:
Post as "Anonymous"