I must admit, I was diverted from my originally intended blog. After two recommendations that I tackle this question as well as what makes a good game, I figured why not. I'm game. Even as I type out that question that probably most of us have wondered about, I find myself wanting to chuckle. I mean, who really cares what makes for a bad game right? We just want to avoid them. But, knowledge is power folks. And maybe recognizing the tell tale signs of a game detined for the bargain bin just might save you some dough.

Then again, there is just one paradox here, and I know you'll be able to relate to it. You see, sometimes a game can be so bad, it's good. Confused? Well, haven't you eve loved a "bad game"? Wasn't there at least one stinker of a game that you found yourself inexplicably addicted to? What about the game with horrible reviews, but somehow, for you it was at least a 7?

So now you see my point. Knowing what makes a bad game is just as difficult as knowing what will make a game great. But to be fair, there is probably one big thing that most gamers would agree is not negotiable. It is... control.

Okay maybe utter stupidity is a factor too...


No one wants to play a game with broken controls, period. You could build a time machine and travel to the year 2340, and  maybe play the Playstation 36, but if the controls weren't there, I guarantee you'd lose interest quickly.

What's more, that sense of control goes beyond physical controls. It also involves your sense of situational control. Then again, sometimes the player wants to be teased a little. Sometimes you want to feel like you're not completely in control. Like anything could happen. Isn't that what games like Resident Evil and Eternal Darkness were about? What about the iconic moment when Psycho Mantis took over your controller and read your memory card saves in the original Metal Gear Solid?


I can be honest and admit that I've loved some horrendous games. Sunsoft's Superman for the Sega Genesis is one that comes to mind. That game had some of the most repetitive, unoriginal gameplay ever, and yet I found myself playing it over and over and over again.

People hated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on the PS One. I actually thought it wasn't all that bad. I faithfully played it through and beat it.

The funny thing about this question of what makes a bad game, you start to realize how silly some of the critiques are that we launch at games. Most of what makes us feel a  game is bad has to do with frustration or disappointment. Case in point, I recently read a review for the new Sonic: Lost World just released. And unfortunately, it appears that our favorite hedgehog just can't get a break.

But what I also realized was that Sonic probably never will reach the heights he once enjoyed. It's just not possible. Why? Because what we truly love about Sonic is a certain time and place in history that made us happy. It is a photograph of something good that we all knew, but the moment is long gone.

You can never recapture the first time seeing these screens.


Some might say that my answer to this question is a bit of a copout. And I'll except that criticism. But the truth is that much of what we do or don't like, whther it's the food you eat, your favorite car or sport, or even the kind of people you are attracted to is all based on your unique idiosyncrasies. And you may say, "well what about things that that it seems everyone loves?" I'll be honest, I wouldn't even try to tackle that one. Life is random. So are people.