Craptastic - Or: How not to design games.

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  • I guess it makes sense to show and discuss some of the worst games ever - so that people can learn how not to do it, so that there are no excuses if you actually ship shit, cause there's nothing worse than being a shit shipper.

    Probably one of the worst games ever is the NES version of Dragons Lair. Let's take a look at it: ... 6889378692

    Can you believe a profit-oriented organization actually shipped that shit?

    Another 'gem' is the SNES version of Pitfighter:

    A buddy of mine bought that way back for 90 bucks! o_O

    Oh, there's so much to learn here...

  • That first video you linked to was hilarious.

    But probably not as hilarious as $90 for Pit Fighter. I'm as retro nostalgic as the next guy, but my god, there were some appalling games in the 80's.

    (And the difficulty curves! Anyone play Battletoads? Scratch that, anyone finish Battletoads?)

  • I beat battletoads. The difference there was I found battletoads to be fun, even if it was ridiculously hard. Hard doesn't mean not fun. One of my favorite games, gradius V, is STUPID HARD on the higher difficulty levels, but the harder it gets, the more fun it gets when you can't believe you survive something.

    But that dragon's lair - yikes.

  • Here's another one that's really fucking bad:

    The infamous Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde on the NES:

  • Can you believe a profit-oriented organization actually shipped that s**t?

    like you mentioned in the 'fantastic'-thread, it did not take that big of a company to publish games back then; and you are right about the situation today being similar regarding that people can publish low quality games rather easily. this is why i don't really see the point of bashing old nes games: you could as well grab any random klik&play-abomination and complain about that.

    if we really want to investigate the errors of games' designs, we should try to separate between the good and the bad choices & elements that make up these games. jeckyll and hyde does not have that many, it's a bare bones jump'n'run. i guess that

      - irresponsive controls are the first big mistake to make with any action game.
      • challenging enemies (moving fast & having mean attacks) become frustrating if the player character reacts laggy.
      • and the many different enemy types that are thrown at you right from the beginning turn the learning curve into a brick wall.
      • enemies are never defeated, only evaded.
      • the level is very long.
      • the game does not appear to be rewarding in neither its controls, challenges or even graphics.

    if the controls were as responsive as super marios, the game would still be difficult, but less frustrating. also, any kind of reward would have been nice. i don't think i saw any indication of the players progress or accomplishment (except the level count and the coins), all the games' displays are for measuring failure. fun times :(

  • Oh yeah, this thread is not about bashing bad old 8bit games - not solely, that is But you definitely watch this stuff and get something out of it. Like: Why in the world did they put the Weapon Animation into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if it doesn't do ANYTHING?

    A lot of times, a great game can be seriously fucked up by a simple design flaw. It's like a magician making a mistake on stage - make one mistake and it's over, you lost me.

    I start things like that with simple, obvious examples because it's easy to point out a million flaws in these games - yet, someone once sat down, designed and created it and thought it's a good idea to release it to the public. Now, of course it's totally unfair to judge a game 20 years after it's release, but since a lot of the people here will design a game for the first time (me included), it's good to learn from those early mistakes as soon as possible.

    Personally, if we have to judge Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I think the whole premise has not been concepted very well. I don't clearly see why this game should be fun in any way - it's very confusing, the enemies are just annoying, there's virtually no gratification, it's extremely easy to die, the graphics are fugly (you can even design things properly if you have the 8bit hardware limitations), etc. etc. - I think you can easily shoot it down as not being thought out properly form the beginning.

  • Some games maybe had not-worked-out ideas, released pre-maturely.

    It's something to keep in mind.

    Or what about newer games. Playable most of the time, but with incredible bad design-ideas now and then?

    Like in Turok, for Xbox360. Looks and plays ok (unreal engine 3), only 1 area has neverending flying bugs, which you have to ignore, to place bombs.

    The ignoring part is too difficult, as the character can't evade well enough, nor runs fast enough.

    Finishing this dull area requires luck and many tries.

    Turok (from Propaganda Games) is my most hated game.

  • Alrighty, I've started to accumulate a lot of that good / bad stuff on a new blog I created:

    Also, here's another entry in the craptastic series: ... 69006.html

    This is a GREAT example of how you could mess up something that could've otherwise been a fun game thanks to a ton of design hick-ups. The thing that bugs me the most is this:

    Clarity - Konami has a thing with using whatever icons for something that could've been clear form the start, especially in the Castlevania series. I mean, seriously, if you pick up hearts, what do you usually think will happen in the game? Your regain health? (thinking that a heart probably relates to life?) - WRONG! That sorta stuff is all over the place in the Castlevania series.

    In Symphony of the Night and some other Castlevania Games, collecting hearts is the energy for your secondary weapon. So if you have a cross, it'll cost you 10 hearts to shoot it. Makes sense? No? They kept up with this tradition, so even the newest Castlevania games on the DS use hearts as the energy for using secondary weapons.

    And it gets even better: In Simon's Quest, hearts were used to represent money. So you wanna buy a new whip? That's 100 hearts right there.

    Why would you use hearts to represent money? You could've used a dollar sign and it would've been perfectly clear right from the start.

    And there's a lot of that shit happening in todays games as well. Be clear about the icons you use and don't expect me to figure out what the fuck you meant by collecting some arbitrary power up that doesn't give me an indication of what it's doing. The moment I have to guess is the moment I stop caring.

  • Lol Simon's Quest...

    I acctually finished that game back in the day... I don't remember it being that bad... but I guess back then there wasn't really anything to compare it to. I thought it was pretty cool, since I loved the first Castlevania game.

    Looking back at it now, I certainly wouldn't have the patience for all that dying and hearts and water.


  • ... 69006.html

    I feel horrible, as the reviewer, seeing this game. Headaches by the game decisions.

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  • Hey Sol, how did you find out that you needed to crouch facing the wall with a red crystal equipped for 5 seconds to get taken away by a whirlwind? In the review, that part just seemed inexplicable.

  • Hey Sol, how did you find out that you needed to crouch facing the wall with a red crystal equipped for 5 seconds to get taken away by a whirlwind? In the review, that part just seemed inexplicable.

    I don't specifically remember, but there are clues... they guy made it sound a LOT worse than it was... back then there was no internet guides or anything like that... and I managed to work it out. I would have been like 10 years old or something like that.


  • Not so bad, then! I guess they must have hinted at it.

    (Even the instant-kill water and the poverty-stricken player economy would have been okay, by the standards of the day. But that day/night cycle must've been one of those terrible ideas that looks good on paper.)

  • Bah the video you posted.. its just a guy trying to be AVGN ( angry video game nerd ) and failing at it.

    Search for Dragons Lair on to see a really funny interview of Dragons lair.

  • Bah the video you posted.. its just a guy trying to be AVGN ( angry video game nerd ) and failing at it.

    Search for Dragons Lair on to see a really funny interview of Dragons lair.

    LOL yeah that was some funny nerd rage. I remember that game... I rented it overnight when it was a brand new game, and couldn't get past the first screen. That game had serious issues...


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