Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top 5 List: 5 More Web Game Concepts That Need To Die

We've talked before about the shitty nature of web flash games with the Top 5 Indie Game Concepts That Need to Die. They're not all bad, but for every Epic Battle Fantasy 3, there's The Day, War on Paper, Kids vs. Ice Cream, and I'm just going to randomly stop there.

The thing is, when it comes to web flash games the bar is set extremely low. Unlike a normal game all it takes for a web game to go down as not just good but one of the best ever is to basically work and have maybe one neat gimmick. So hey, what do you think most web games are gonna focus on? If you said "gimmicks" you get one point. Here are the top 5 that need to just go the Hell away.

5. "RPGs Sure Do Suck."
This one was going to be parody games, except that somewhere around 100% of these are targeted specifically at RPGs of some kind, whether it's JRPGs (Turn Based Battle, The Idle RPG) or MMORPGs (GrindQuest, HackerStory). The problem here isn't the idea itself, it's the execution. I get that they're intentionally bad to poke fun at the genre, but an ironically bad game is still a bad game. Didn't Airplane! already prove that parodies don't have to suck to be effective?

Pictured: The Idle RPG. Not pictured: a game.

4. Energy Games
For those not in the know, "energy game" is a slang term for "cheap money-making trick."

Want to keep playing? Break out the credit card.

Basically, you have a set amount of energy, which decreases whenever you do anything in the game. If your energy runs out you can't play anymore. Energy usually recharges, though depending on the game it can take anywhere between a few minutes and a day. The one common element between these games is that you can always recharge your energy in exchange for real world money.

Naturally, Zynga are huge fans of energy games. Honestly though, I could've made this entire list only things they've done and only scratched the surface. This is a company that, by the founder's own admission, operates more like a Colombian drug cartel than a team of web game designers. Besides, plagiarism isn't really a gimmick.

3. Pixel Games
Ever since sometime around Cave Story web game designers came to the conclusion that pixel games are awesome and unique while simultaneously forgetting that something can't be uniquely awesome if everyone's doing it. But again, it's not the idea that's bad. Hell, most of my 8 best Indie games had pixellated graphics. The problem is people who make these kind of games tend not to put much into, you know, the actual game.

This game is like 15 minutes long.

But so what if Vox Populi Vox Dei: A Werewolf Thriller has a title that's longer than the actual game. The bigger problem is that this often overlaps with...

2. Games That Want To Be Portal Part II: 200% More Emo
Puzzle/platformers have started to go away somewhat, but they're holding onto the basic story concept (seemingly normal game with dark undertones) for dear life. Sometimes it's done pretty well (The Infinite Ocean) and other times you get The Day.

A lot of these are pixel games as well and, as I mentioned in that entry, the main problem is that when so many new games are "pixel graphics, some emo-style pseudo-philosophizing, sinister undertones and a plot twist at the end" it's not really edgy and unique, it's just the same old shit. When even Achievement Unlocked 2 is doing it you know it's old hat.

But hey, at least they don't usually go so far as to actually literally include GladOS (or at least an expy) as a character. Only K.O.L.M. has done that recently. Well, that and I Am An Insane Rogue AI, but I don't think that one counts.

1. Unintuitive Random Guessing Is Technically A Puzzle, Right?
I really have nothing to say about this except fuck you, Doodle God and fuck you too, Doodle Devil.

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