Gamers like Bad Games and There Is a Reason for It
I ask myself a hard question, can we have fun with a purposely bad game? The answers may shock you as much as they shocked me.
So Bad it's Good (Even Though it's Horrible)
Games have a tendency to be rated in two categories; The Bad and The Good. This can depend upon the descretion of the gamer but is also due in part to the developers. We don't tend to see the fine line when playing or reviewing these games. Good Games can certainly be bad in their own right and the same goes for Bad Games being downright good (fun) to play.
Avoiding the Possibility and Being On One End of the Extreme Only
Good games usually get their title and don't have to worry about being ripped apart if they are no fun. "This story is amazing and the lanscapes are wonderful, how could you go wrong here?". While games that turn out bad usually get the critical end of the review spectrum. "Bad graphics and horrible lip-sync mechanic, it’s a bad game!” “The backgrounds look cheesy and the game mechanics are flawed, I didn’t enjoy it and therefore it’s bad!” This is standard in game journalism, but what if the game has all these flaws that make it bad but you can still find it satisfyingly good?
Insane you say? ”Not possible, there is either bad or good, there really isn’t anything in between!” is what you want to scream at your computer screen now, isn’t it?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, you’re dead wrong.
Bad games do exist that are as fun as a standard ‘good’ game.
Now a disclaimer: I didn’t think the idea was even possible before I began writing this article. I thought, just like a majority of the public, that bad games were indeed just that, bad to the point of unenjoyable. I am glad to find I was completely wrong about this.
I always wondered to myself “How can people like this game?”, when I saw games that were just absolutely ridiculous looking. With games like Goat Simulator and Roundabout, the premise of these games alone was enough to make me not look twice at them.
I admit, I had a moment where I turned my nose up at a game, and that has never been my style. But how could I not when you tell me about a game that is super buggy and revolves around you being a goat? It sounds absurd on the surface.
Despite my hesitation, I found myself looking into these games as I watched other people play them on YouTube. I spent hours watching videos, listening to testimonies, and experiencing the games vicariously through the Let’s players.
The results where something far different than I expected.
I found myself laughing hysterically at some of the outrageous videos, which you can find one here. Within my moments of laughter, I stumbled across the answer to my question of why people enjoyed these purposely bad games.
The biggest thing with these games is that the bugs didn’t matter. Bad graphics, horrible bugs and glitches, and just downright cheesy game themes did not matter to the players after a certain point. They went in knowing the game wasn’t going to be perfect, they knew it would be somewhat bad in some regard. Especially when the developers wrote “Tons of Bugs we’re not patching” in the game description on Steam, as Goat Simulator did.
The ones who played found themselves enjoying the hell out of these titles much more than I’ve seen some newer AAA titles. They laughed at the buggy, overused rag doll physics, and they enjoyed the challenge of an ever spinning limo as you had to dodge obstacles. I sat and watched some of these players spend the whole video doing crazy or insane stuff that most people could only dream of in their own privately built games. The gamers knew it was bad, in fact so many of them repeated the words “this is so bad” as they played on but you could hear and see they were having the best time.
Enjoyment factors and Technical factors don’t always go hand in hand.
As someone who reviews games regularly, I have always found the standard rating system to be missing something. The final score is always being whittled down to technical stats; graphics, sound, gameplay mechanics, etc but never hits the mark on the enjoyment had from playing. Sadly the reviewers miss out by just sticking to that formula, they never sit back and ask themselves if they had fun with it.
That’s the down side to journalism while making a review for games like these, you can say these games get 2s and 3s just for technical issues or cheesy dialogue alone but you leave out telling the reader you had so much fun attaching yourself to a hang-glider with your goat tongue and flying around the town.
The main thing I’m trying to say is that games are inevitably, bad or good, fun plain and simple.
If you can’t pick up a controller and just enjoy yourself, even with a game you think is pure crap, then I think you missed out on the idea of what it is gaming was founded upon. Every game has something to offer that you can have fun with, even if it is the absurdity of the mechanics.
I recommend picking up Goat Simulator and Roundabout on Steam and give them a shot, sure I still think they classify as bad games but they sure looked like they each had their own aspects when it came to being just downright fun games.