Dear Video Game Developers; Please Stop Sucking.

Posted by on April 19, 2011 at 1:09 am

That’s right, I said it. You suck. Well most of you, anyway, and it’s high time you stopped before Rob has to slap someone in the tooth locker.

I remember when I first started playing computer and console games. Back in those days, during the technology boom, things were infinitely better than they are today and it’s YOUR fault!

I think back on the first action adventure game I played. It was called “Police Quest” and was created by Sierra. I played it on an old black and white Mac in the Arizona State University Decisions Lab. Before that, I had played Atari and Intellivision, arcade games like Pac Man and Frogger and Centipede, Computer games on the Commodore 64 and IBM PC like Jumpman and Questron (which, by the way, is still one of my favorite games of all time even though the whole thing was written with peeks and pokes, in 4 colors) but, with the exception of Questron, every game I’d played was basically monotony defined. They were all about doing the same thing over and again, only with different level designs as one got further into them.

So there I am playing Police Quest…for hours…and hours…and hours…and days…the more I play, the more I fall in love with this concept of DOING SOMETHING in a video game. I’m not just mindlessly mashing a fire or jump button, blowing up and / or avoiding obstacles and projectiles while points tick off on a score board. I’m actually getting involved. I’m exploring and trying things, failing some times, succeeding others, saving and loading and reloading and re-saving and getting frustrated when I can’t get past a task and excited when I finally do.

My first real video gaming experience. It wasn’t quite as fulfilling as my first woman but it sure as hell lasted longer.

Hell, the title credits lasted longer…


These days such experiences are all but extinct. We go out and buy a first person shooter, drop it in the drive and 8 hours later, we’re checking out the end credits with nothing left to do but log in to a glitchy multi-player match and get digitally raped by 12 year olds who have more hacks than a team of lumberjacks on meth.

So the first person shooter thing isn’t cutting it and now we decide to go scoop up a role playing game. We drop that in and spend 45 minutes on the “tutorial mission” which, as it turns out, is really the first eighth of the game and 6 or 7 hours later, we’ve hit the level cap, gotten all the skill points and the only thing that keeps the game going is an endless stream of nonsensical missions that draw themselves out for no other reason than to add hours to the “total play time” stat. Then we get through all of that tedium, kill the end boss, get a nice CGI cut scene and roll the end credits. Now all we have to look forward to is playing through again with a different race, class or path and roll end credits again.

Now that’s over and we’re on action/adventure games. We load up, start another tutorial mission and then we’re off to the races; running around, solving puzzles, hacking up enemies, and then BOSS FIGHT!

Oh…shit…it’s a fucking QUICK TIME SEQUENCE! Push X, push A, do some morse code on Y, tap B and the boss is dead.

WHAT?! What the hell ever happened to having a proper BOSS FIGHT?! I don’t know but that quick time shit makes me want to go draw a warm bath, slide in, relax and drown myself.


One of you people please explain to me what the hell happened to the games of yore! Take a moment out of your busy schedule to attempt to justify how you spend all of your game development time thinking of new and creative ways to suck at making games. Try to help me to understand why you spend all of your effort on flash but none of it on substance. Tell me what happened to the 40, 50, 60 hour marathon games full of new ideas and interesting concepts and why they’ve been replaced by 8 hour borefests on which 98% of the development was focused on pixel shading and nifty new particle effects, 1.5% on story and gameplay and .5% on bug fixing.

Of course, there are some of you out there who still seem to have the right idea.

Rockstar : You’ve done a bang-up job on the GTA series. Lots of stuff to do, lots of style and substance, lots of fun. It looks like you’re following the same path with L.A. Noire and that makes me drool with anticipation. Keep up that kind of work and you’re absolutely on course. Also, Red Dead Redemption. MMMMMMMMMM.

BioWare : The Mass Effect series is top notch. The story, the gameplay, the graphics…You seem to have figured out the magic balance. Nothing is lacking and everything that should be there IS (except I still say Mark Meer was a terrible choice). I can’t wait for Mass Effect 3. I have to say, though, spend a little more time on Dragon Age in the future. Good, not great.

Bethesda : Oblivion was the cat’s pajamas and Fallout 3 knocked my knickers off. You’ve been doing some damned good work (for a damned long time). You, like Rockstar and BioWare have figured out the balance between style and substance. Playing Fallout 3 was like biting in to a perfectly slow cooked pot roast…with baby potatoes…and garlic bread.

Everyone else, you’re on notice. You’ve been putting out sucky games for years and it needs to stop. Let’s get away from showing off how good our artists are and hire some fucking WRITERS and level designers because I swear, the next time I find myself in the middle of one of your linear hunks of camel leavins’, making me feel like I’m being funneled up the rump of a hippopotamus with amoebic dysentery, I’m going to rip myself in half and slap the bejesus out of someone, in stereoscopic 3d.


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