We all love gaming but I’ll be damned if gamers don’t suffer the stupidity of the industry’s repeated mistakes. I’ve been playing video games for a while now and it has become apparent that the gaming industry can be a bit hard-headed about changing their ways. Gamers are more engaged and passionate about the product they purchase than any other type of customer and so deserve to be treated as more than just a potential transaction. We simply ask the gaming industry that they hear our cries and see the error of their ways. And so, here are the video game industry’s five worst offenses and how they can be fixed:
5. DLCThe final goodbye…. [Sobs hysterically]
Solution: DLC doesn’t need to be abandoned altogether — it just needs to be done properly. The best DLC are the ones that use the game’s engine or plot to create an entirely new experience and not just a piece of the original. DLC like Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Skyrim: Dawnguard or Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon all use the tools of their original game to deliver something that enhances the game but does not take away from its foundational experience. Rockstar Games accomplished this very well with Undead Nightmare because it took the world and characters that were so dearly loved and threw them into an alternate universe that focuses on the fun of fighting against a zombie apocalypse. Undead Nightmare was not necessary to enjoy Red Dead Redemption proper but its different vision highlighted the reasons why the main game was so spectacular in the first place.
4. Motion-controlled gamingWant to hear a joke? “Better with Kinect”
Problem: While the concept of battling with a lightsaber or sniping targets is enticing, the reality of flailing around in front of a TV is not. The technology for motion-controlled gaming is limited and detracts from the game itself as players are forced to shout and fight with their Kinect just to get the correct command. The difficulties of perfecting motion controls have led to awkward and unresponsive control schemes. These imperfections ruin the immersive experience that gaming has that no other medium can capture.
Solution: Slow down. Motion-controlled gaming can have a niche in the market if time is dedicated to perfecting it. It’s frustrating to deal with motion-controls in games where they don’t belong. Motion-controlled gaming can be a great experience in the future when the technology catches up to the vision developers have. Some great games including The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Heavy Rain, and Dance Central effectively use motion controls to enhance the gaming experience in a way that standard controls could never accomplish.
3. Multiplayer where it doesn’t belongA great game that did not need multiplayer
Problem: Many developers feel the need to tack on a multiplayer component to their game in an attempt to satisfy the gaming community who expects it. This is treated as an afterthought that offers nothing unique to the landscape of existing multiplayer games. For example, Tomb Raider was a great game whose single-player campaign was well-received but was trashed for its unoriginal multiplayer. Most of these tacked-on multiplayer modes boil down to basic shooters with other players as targets instead of AI. Unfortunately, there are only so many different ways to have one group of players shoot at another while still keeping it innovative and exciting.
Solution: If multiplayer is going to be added to a game then it needs to be done wholeheartedly. There is nothing wrong with having a game that is entirely single-player as long as it is done well. However, if the decision to add a multiplayer mode is made then it needs to be worked on with the same dedication as every other aspect of the game. The most admirable quality a developer can have is the ability to choose a direction and commit to it. When the market is flooded with high-quality games, the best way to stand out is not by being mediocre in many respects but by being spectacular in a few. At one point in time the thought of multiplayer existing within Assassin’s Creed was absurd, but Ubisoft dedicated the time and resources to make it an exceptional and integral part of their franchise.
2. Short gamesI thought Rome wasn’t built in a day?
Problem: While a tight and compact experience can be great, there is a point when a game can simply become too short. If you only have money to spend on one game would you really want to spend it on a game that will not even last you a full day? A game that is priced at $60 has no right to be six hours long when there are other $60 games that can push beyond forty hours.
Solution: Not every game needs to be 30+ hours long. It can be difficult to hit that sweet spot of length where a player doesn’t feel cheated by a short game or intimidated by a long one. That is why the best path is to give players a satisfying experience from a contained main story while presenting the option to explore the larger world afterwards. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Skyrim hit that sweet spot because they provide that addicting sense that there is always more to do without forcing the player to trudge through every single mission in order to come away with a rewarding experience.