The Sins of Gaming: An Introduction

We are often told that worst sin a game can commit is to fall into the trap of bad game design. We are told of horror stories of games like Daikatana and Superman 64, and warned NEVER to follow in their footsteps.

The Awesome Might of the Daikatana may require kicking and/or cliffs for full functionality
Heroes aren’t born. They are forged. In the crucible of flying through a near endless series of rings.

But we think these games did something right – they were remembered. The fact that they were remembered for highly negative reasons is justified, but they at least evoked a reaction – one of utter disgust, but a reaction that was both strong and memorable. As one of our professors once said – “You have to be memorable in some way – you have to be the smartest, the most aggressive, the most persistent, you can even be the student at the back of the class constantly giving me a hard time – but you have to be something for me to remember your name.”

Making a great, or even a good video game involves not merely avoiding bad game design, but focusing on good, or even great game design. One of the things we wish to do is explore what makes a video game great, good, or merely average – to see what decisions were made during game design that *led* to the game we see, regardless of how it turned out.

In this series, The Sins of Gaming, we’ll go through our own take on several games, going through what we like, what we didn’t like, and what we felt of the game design throughout. We’ll go through MMO’s, single-player games, multiplayer games, educational games, and even serious games – adding our own unique brand of cynicism, game design, insights, and utter buffoonery.

So who are we? We are Rahul Khurana, Matthew Lee, and (occasionally) Kathleen Yin, the founders of our own independent game studio, AFK Studios. In our downtime, we enjoy playing games, but we can’t resist carrying a notepad throughout – or at least taking screenshots of all the funny and terrible moments. And hey, since misery loves company, we thought we might as well share our experiences with you.

For our first few posts, we’ll run through some of our most memorable (not necessarily favorite!) MMO’s, starting with one that succeeded one of the beloved franchises ever produced by Bioware – Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Well, Bioware’s never screwed up a beloved franchise before, so what’s the worst that can…..ooooh right.