I got a sickness. I love playing bad games. I don't know why, but if you hand me $60 I won't buy the newest AAA title with rave reviews. No, I'll go to the depths of the bargain bin and pull out three or four of the most vile pieces of entertainment I can find. Why? Like I said, I'm sick, but boy oh boy do I enjoy this sickness.
When I saw this article go up on Kotaku I was overjoyed. Finally a place to revel in the repugnant and possibly get some leads on terrible games I haven't yet played! So imagine my displeasure (and not the good kind) when I find games like Skyrim, CoD, and the Witcher hit the top of the comments. I know, I know, there's room for opinion and the article qualified "worst game that you ever bought." Who knows, maybe they've been gifted tons of terrible games but the worst they actually bought was Max Payne 3. But I still have to ask....seriously people? Are these the worst you could come up with?
I think part of the problem is with what I call the "Binary Internet Opinion Theory." The BIO Theory states that an opinion on the internet appraising something's value falls into two categories; either it's great and need to recognized as such by everybody, or it's terrible and anyone who likes it is obviously an idiot, paid-off, or a sheep. The problem with this is that there are no nuances; if a game is disappointing or doesn't live up to standards it's the worst thing ever. If a game is enjoyable then it is without fault and any opinion otherwise is an attack on good taste. It's a silly system that tries to paint things in black and white and discourages actual critiques or conversations about a game.
I think there's a whole spectrum of good and bad games. If a game is good, how good are we talking here? Is it OK, great, or fantastic? If you're saying a game is bad, are you suggesting it is merely mediocre or that it should burn in the depths of hell? There are distinctions here that aren't being explored.
I also think exploring this spectrum can give us some insight that goes beyond our personal opinion. I personally don't like the CoD series (or most FPSs for that matter) at all, but I wouldn't qualify them as terrible. At worst, I'd say the latest games are average or maybe mediocre, but definitely not worth vitriolic hate. On the other hand, my opinion Dragon's Dogma is an amazing game that everyone should at least try, but I understand that it probably registers as a good or above average game to most people. I think that by recognizing a more collective opinion is a good start when exploring what is good or bad about a game as well as a way to start getting beyond our own opinions.
We need to have more of a discussion about the things that are good and bad about a game. We also need to understand that even though something might not be in our tastes, it doesn't necessarily make it bad. And most importantly, we need to stop just lumping games into good/bad categories and overreacting. We really explore what we like or don't like about games. That way, we can accurately tell developers what they are doing right and what they need to rethink.
Quick-Quack is a series of short articles by Zachary Long AKA InvadingDuck. If you want, you can follow him on Twitter @ invadingduck . At some point I'll actually get around to playing a good game like The Last of Us, but right now I'm having too much fun suffering through Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard.