September 2018: What Shouldn’t Work

Videogames are a relatively young medium, taken in comparison to most of their nearest peers. Even still, they’ve been around long enough to have a formula, and most games are variations on their formulas than do things to innovate and drastic changes about what a game could be. Veering too far from what players expect less often makes for a novel experience than it does make for a bad game. At least that’s the general belief, and one I think we’ll question for this Blogs of the Round Table. What makes a good game doesn’t have to follow this formula.

This month will be all about games with intentional elements that could be read as “bad.” Perhaps a graphics style that’s difficult to parse, or an extreme difficulty to introduce punishing or intentionally frustrating challenges. Perhaps a game that is by design not fun to play. Let’s aim our sights on games whose design eschews the formula, but succeeds. Or at least fails in interesting ways.

Can a game designed to be “bad” by traditional metrics still be a good game? Should games have to be fun to be good games? Can a game have intentionally awkward elements of design yet still be successful or an enjoyable game? Perhaps even a good experience anyway? Are there good “bad” games? Join the discussion and talk about a bad game that you love, or perhaps a game that is way better than it should be despite its failure to meet genre conventions or good game structures. Sell us on your best experience, or at least one you went in thinking you’d hate and came out of the other side changed!

This is the first Round Table in a handful of quiet months, so I thought best to give you plenty of time, but always remember our deadline is the end of the month. September 30th this time around. I’m excited to get to read your thoughts and submissions after so long! To join in, you can email your submissions or tweet them to @NukeLassic or @critdistance with the #BoRT hashtag. And feel free to check the hashtag to see if there are any writings you want to make yours in response to, or from which to base your counterargument. And, as always, happy blogging!
Suggestions for the Round Table:

  • Blogs of the Round Table is not curated. If you write it, we’ll publish it, as long as it’s connected to the topic and has been written specially for BoRT or up to one month prior.
  • Think of the BoRT topic as a starting point. Connecting your piece to the topic can be as creative as you want. We’re interested in both writing and play, so be playful when you approach the round table!
  • This BoRT post is the home of the discussion. Regular reading of other BoRT participants isn’t required, but highly encouraged. Feel free to browse the #BoRT tag on twitter to see if there are any words submitted already that you could use as a springboard for your own posts.
  • As a knight of the round table we encourage you to leave a comment on a blog to which you respond with a link to the response piece and give the original writer a ‘right of reply’. Keep the conversation going!
  • If your work contains potentially disturbing content, please include a suitable warning at the start.
  • You can submit as many articles as you like throughout the month, and it doesn’t matter if they are commercially published, paywalled or available for free. However, we can’t include paywalled material in the round-up without access to the article text or a transcript.