Yes, I’ve played a whole lot of games (that list isn’t even complete). There are a few things that keep coming up over and over and over about games that really bug me, even though I can be very forgiving about a game’s flaws so long as I’m getting some fun out of it. Here then, are a list of five things that I really hate about video games.
If you’re going to use – you know – words then hire yourself a darn writer, okay? There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this, but if you’ve got more than a couple hundred words of talking and story, get an actual writer to make sense of it and lay it out for you.
They’ll vastly improve your product, and show you how you can pace and tell your story better than you thought possible. Start the project out with a writer, even if you only need them part-time through development. Make sure your writer can also write actual decent dialogue. Not all of them can.
“All your base are belong to us” might be a whole big cultural catch-phrase, but it doesn’t really make anyone want to play Zero Wing. Get some proper translation resources, which means people who are fluent in both the language you’re translating from and the language you’re translating to. Not just someone who can consult a bilingual dictionary.
Lousy translation is a double-feature, since it ruins any good writing you may have had.
Misleading or tired cover art
Blood-drenched orc. Half naked guy with a big sword and steel belt he can’t bend over in. Skinny elf-lady in combat thong. Unless you feature these in the actual game, leave them off the cover.
Terrible voice acting
That guy can’t read the language your script is in, and stutters in a monotone. Don’t use him for the lead character voice for your game. Don’t–
Seriously, get some professionals. Get a proper voice director. Yes, you can’t pay these folks in Cheetos and beer, but they’ll make up for that in one single important respect:
Good voice-acting will double your sales.
I’m not kidding.
Coupled with good writing and translation, you’ll probably double or treble that, even if your game-play isn’t so hot. You get talent like Stephen Russell or David Matranga coupled with good voice direction, and I am so in!
Quick Time Events
Suddenly, and perhaps without any warning, mash a key or a button really quickly within a short space of time, or it’s game-over. Maybe you have to suddenly tap out a combo – a veritable fandango – of buttons or keypresses within a half-second or so. Maybe precision timing is required.
These completely break the flow of the gameplay, and usually require you to exercise button-mashing skills that the rest of the gameplay doesn’t prepare you for. It almost constitutes a game-play bait-and-switch.
This is hardly a complete list, but these are five particular pet peeves. Definitely a topic that will get a revisit. It isn’t like I’m expecting any of these things to suddenly get any better, and there’s still more to say.