Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Video Game Maker's Exam

Over my time writing for this blog you could say I've become something of a shitty video game connoisseur. You could say that, but you'd be wrong. The truth is I'm just bored. Also I made a deal with the devil where every day I fail to play at least one terrible, soul-sucking video game, he murders a puppy.

The point is, after playing these things for so long, and then reading the Fantasy Novelist's Exam and its retarded brother the Filmmaker's Exam I realized I could totally shamelessly rip them off by making my own Video Game Maker's Exam. Just like with the Rinkworks exams, if you're making or planning to make your own game and you answer yes to any one of these questions, then you should probably consider starting over.

Or you could jump into a wheat thresher. Seriously, you won't be missed.

1. Do you think shotguns are close range weapons?

2. Do you think swords are throwing weapons?

3. Do you think machine guns are fully automatic?

4. Do you think piano wire can cut someone in half simply by being swung at them?

5. Is any character in your game best described as "a brave and powerful warrior who refuses to aid the characters until they best him/her in combat?"

6. Is any character in your game best described as "a sarcastic evil artificial intelligence" and also your game is NOT Portal or System Shock?

7. Is any character in your game best described as "a space marine" and also your game is NOT Starcraft or Warhammer 40K?

8. Is the main character in your game best described as "whiny and self-absorbed?"

9. Is any character in your game best described as "like myself only better in pretty much every way?"

10. Did you lie on either of the last two questions?

11. Could your game be described as "basically just like ___, only not as good?"

12. Would you describe your game as "basically just like ___, only better?"

13. Do multiple characters in your game consistently break the fourth wall by referring to such out-of-character concepts as "experience levels" or "hit points," even outside of the tutorial?

14. Do you think proper game balance means that every strength needs a weakness to cancel it out?

15. Do you think a main character dying is all it takes to make a story poignant and meaningful?

16. Do you introduce a significant plot point or character motivation only to completely forget about it 5 minutes later?

17. If your game has multiple playable characters, did you make one or more of them noticeably better than the others in an attempt to boost their popularity?

18. Does your game contain a character who is noticeably worse than the other characters, but the player is forced to use them anyway?

19. Does your game include a morality/alignment system that doesn't actually affect the story in any way?

20. Is the main evil force of your game called by any variation of the phrase "forces of evil," including "army of darkness," "shadow king's minions," and "creatures of the night?"

21. Wheat thresher time: did you actually call them simply "the bad guys?"

22. Are you making a reboot or sequel to a massively popular game without realizing what made the original popular?

23. Is your game a remake of a console game that you're redesigning to be played on a handheld system?

24. Does your game's success hinge on its association with a major motion picture license?

25. Do you work for Zynga? (Oh, who am I kidding? They don't design their own games.)

26. Is a significant portion of your game comprised of references to other games?

27. Does your game's tutorial take more than 30 seconds, despite the fact that the gameplay is essentially the same as every other game in its genre?

28. Do you believe that a specific art style (pixel graphics, high-definition, polygon, etc) makes a game inherently better or worse, regardless of the quality of the game itself?

29. Are multiple non-combat segments of your core gameplay controlled by random number generators, even though that makes no sense? (Character attributes, levelling up, how much healing inns give you, etc?)

30. At any point is the player required to win a game of chance or luck in order to advance the story?

31. At any point in your game is the player forced to run directly toward the camera?

32. At any point in your game is the player forced to escort a helpless and easily killed character through danger?

33. Are the characters in your game ever stopped by some arbitrary obstacle such as a rickety wooden door, despite having power that can obliterate mountains, just because the plot demands it?

34. Does your game require the player to wander through wilderness or caves for hours just to get to the next town/dungeon/story segment?

35. Does your game's AI commonly cause enemies to get stuck behind boxes, stand motionless while being shot, shoot at other enemies, or any other ridiculous thing?

36. Do you believe that the right theme or "attitude" in a game can be a suitable substitute for story and/or gameplay?

37. Do you believe that marketing a game to females is as easy as adding some romance and a dress-up mode?

38. Do you believe that marketing a game to females means you need to drastically reduce the difficulty?

39. Do the female characters in your game regularly wear outfits that show cleavage, sideboob, midriff, or butt, even in combat?

40. Does a female villain change sides solely due to having a crush on a main character?

41. Bonus question sponsored by Wheat Threshers 'R' Us: does every female villain do the above?

42. Hell, does a male villain ever do it?

43. Do you think women are basically like men only not as smart or strong?

44. Did you include a lesbian couple among the playable characters purely for fanservice value?

45. Did you include a male-on-male couple among the playable characters purely to be edgy?

46. Are your cutscenes unskippable, even if the player has seen them once before?"

47. Does any cutscene (aside from the ending) in your game last longer than 5 minutes, not counting pauses for player input such as pressing a button to advance dialogue?

48. Is your game's ending shorter than 30 seconds?

49. Is more than 50% of your game comprised of non-interactive cutscenes?

50. Are you designing a game for an english-speaking audience, have access to english-speaking voice actors, and yet you still can't be bothered to include english dialogue?

51. If your game has online multiplayer and downloadable content that costs money, do the downloads make the player far superior to all other players?

52. Alternately, do the downloads do basically nothing at all yet still cost money?

53. Do you not know what the point of playtesting is?

54. Did you lie on any of the previous questions to get this far?

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