Shitty controls in video games.

I'd love to understand why there's a certain video-game fad over featuring shitty controls.

Flappy Bird: Shitty Controls.
QWOP: Shitty Controls.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch: Shitty Controls.

[caption id="attachment_3491" align="alignright" width="300"]Intellivision w/
controllers. 16 directions of freedom, none of them the one you wanted. (photo: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Perhaps the reason I'm so jaded with playing these games is because I'm old enough to remember the Intellivision, Colecovision, and Atari 5200. Been there. Done that. Even Gallagher commented on it.

I remember reading an old Lucasarts article in Atari Connection where they gave their tips on how to make video games. #7 was "Make it hard".

Games need to be hard to be challenging, but the hard parts should be fun rather than frustrating. Don't make the game difficulty by making the controls difficult to use or the gameplay arbitrary; instead make the game difficult by making the tasks heroic. "I finally collected all 99 treasures!" is a lot more rewarding than "I finally got the joystick to work!"

Perhaps it's a poke in the eye of classic design wisdom, but I find games that rely on controls that really don't directly control the protagonist to be pretty tiresome. Sure, there's a bit of humor to the premise of Octodad: Dadliest Catch. But if the main feature of your game is a completely incompetent protagonist who has no control over basic functions like walking, picking up things, or even flying then you've lost me on the point of the game.

I lived through the Intellivision controllers. I don't need my phone to remind me.


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