Theory: Learn from the Worst Game

The Law of Game Design

Rudolf Wanderone, a professional billiards player, once said, “[y]ou don’t learn from smart people, you learn from idiots. Watch what they do, then don’t do it.” While that’s obviously not advice to be taken literally, there are certainly lessons to be learned from the worst games.

There are a lot of lists of “worst games” out there, and everyone has their choices. I’m a little older, so my #1 worst is a PC game from 1994. Everyone, please welcome . . . Outpost!

Outpost is a great game to study because it doesn’t just do one, critical thing wrong. Instead, it makes a bunch of mistakes, all of them different and potentially interesting.

Let’s dig deep on just one of them: the unguided choice of where to go. Early on the player is supposed to decide which star system to travel to—but as the review points out, the data meant…

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About Jack

BRIEF BIO: Jack Gunter is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and songs. He is the co-owner of Open Door Communications, a copywriter, an inventor, and a former broker and private investigator. He is a naturalist and an amateur scientist and cryptologist. He likes to compose music and to design and play games and puzzles of all types. He homeschooled his children. He lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with his beautiful wife, talented two daughters, his old friend and Great Dane Sam, and his three Viking Cats.

Posted on September 10, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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