Is it wrong to like bad games?

I know that this is totally subjective and I know one man’s good game is another man’s bad game yadda yadda yadda but hear me out because I’m going to be honest here… I … sometimes… like… bad games. There I said it. Phew I finally got that out-of-the-way!

Don’t get me wrong. I love good games too, like your Killzone 3’s, your Black Op’s, your Mass Effect 2’s, your Heavy Rain’s, your Uncharted 2’s etc. but there’s something rather thrilling about finding a niche game that nobody else likes and finding something redeeming about it, something good about it. Okay so your probably wanting to know what kind of games I’m on about… well this is where it all boils down to preference.

I LOVED Deadly Premonition. Not a good game on a technical level, but an incredible game in terms of writing, ambition and sound design. It had extremely mixed reviews on release and scored a lowly 65 on Metacritic but I love that game so much words simply fail me. For me, it was a sort of breakthrough game. Sure, the visuals are undeniably budget but the vision, ambition and story comes close to a sort of artful “soulness” that you seldom find in some of the big budget games that sell millions upon millions.

I LOVED Aliens vs Predator. Yeah, the recent one by Rebellion. Sure, it felt unfinished and rough around the edges but it still captured some of the atmosphere of the franchise and it sounded exactly like the films. It’s not a particularly good game as its buggy as hell but I still found myself really enjoying it.

I LOVED Silent Hill: Homecoming. For me, this game is in the top three Silent Hill games (2 and 1 precede it). I know a lot of fans hated it but it had a fantastic story and it captured the Silent Hill atmosphere and vibe really well. It may not have had the subtlety or attention to detail that the Team Silent games were renowned for but I still very much enjoyed this trip to the foggy lakeside town. The music, like in all Silent Hill’s, stood out especially and I really liked the central character and the unsettling monster designs. It may not be a bad game per se, but I feel its extremely underrated and no-where near as bad as people make out.

Maybe its human nature to try to side with the underdog. I mean, I know some games get bad reviews, but I still feel like I should always give them a chance. What I really hate are these people who I would like to call “Metacritic snobs” who say things like “that only scored a 75 on metacritic… that’s a rubbish game!” Have they played it? Hell no! Metacritic acts as this sort of judge, jury and executioner. And in all honesty I admit to be being guilty of doing it. I have been a Metacritic snob. And I am sorry. But I wholeheartedly believe that Metacritic doesn’t tell the whole story. I can totally understand why Metacritic exists as games aren’t cheap and it does give you a vague understanding of how a game has been received by the critics, and whether a game is deemed “bad” or “good” by the media. But its subjective. Like I said earlier, one man’s bad game is another man’s good game. Fact. And at the end of the day, if you like a game no-one else likes then surely you’re the real winner. Right? Now where’d I put that copy of Two Worlds 2?

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  • Wrex Steele

    I completely agree. For some reason I loved Naughty Bear. I still play it to this day. There’s always something crazy in our tastes and sometimes, something just fits.

  • Dylan C

    Absolutely! It sometimes pays to dig a little deeper to find that game that just clicks.

  • Big Winters

    Don’t be ashamed of it dude! I loved Deadly Premonition as well! In fact, ive slowly built up my collection of bad games, the pinnacle of my collection being a Italian version of Michigan : Report From Hell, that game defies logic AND reason.

    I think the reason I do it is because I like picking out flaws, and thinking what I would of done in this situation. If I can learn something from these bad games, have some fun playing them and better my chances of being a games writer, then there aint no shame there.

  • Dylan C

    Thanks for the comment Big Winters. Just saw the trailer for Michigan: Report From Hell. Will definitely have to check it out!

  • Boomstick.

    Yeah I entirely agree with you mate. I for one am a massive fan of Castlevania 64. Though many reviewers hated it, and it’s reviews ranged from average to crap, I enjoyed every second it. The atmosphere, the enemies. All brilliant to me!

  • Dylan C

    Cheers Boomstick. In many ways games can be alot like movies. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a b-movie or a film that the critics disliked. Sometimes these kind’ve movies are more satisfying than the hyped up Hollywood blockbusters!

  • Niytemare

    Dude, I’m right there with you. I prefer to look at a game and find reasons to like it. So many games that are so damn popular like Black Ops (can’t that game ever DIE?) annoy the hell out of me because they don’t have an interesting story. Not everybody likes playing games written specifically for multiplayer, and to me, a good game starts with an engaging story. Haven’t played AVP yet, but I loved SH: Homecoming and anything related to Silent Hill in general.
    Yes, Deadly Premonition was wonky, with a bit of squirrelly AI and some not so amazing graphics. But that game was like Twin Peaks if the writers for Silent Hill had directed the show instead of Lynch. I played all the way through it and was constantly amazed in the level of story that they’d conjured up. It’s like they took what was broken in Alone In The Dark 5, and made a reasonable attempt to fix it AND make it better. Hell yes. AitD5 FAILED, in which there is no recovery. Not because of the story, but because they made no effort to fix what was not working.
    DP is weird as hell, but truly mysterious, and if you’re a patient, open-minded gamer, you’ll love it.
    They need more games like this and less f’ing Call of Duty.

  • Dylan C

    DP is one of the most fascinating games of this generation. It has a je ne sais quoi that is lacking in games today. I really hope there is some kind’ve sequel/prequel on the way. I played AitD5 and enjoyed bits of it. The controls were a bit clunky but I admired its ambition.

  • Alan

    All I can say is that the reason why I didn’t like Silent Hill: Homecoming is it felt like it was trying to be Resident Evil. Now, Resident Evil is one of my favorite series along Silent Hill…but Homecoming was less about the ambience and the atmosphere and more about dodging hits from enemies and timing your attacks perfectly. That’s never been what Silent Hill was about. Silent Hill’s monsters were more there for aesthetic value, sure you could fight them but mostly they were fairly easy to run past and they just mirrored the main character’s mindset, the main demon, etc. I can see why you loved it, it did have its moments of brilliance and its not the worst game I have played. But its the worst Silent Hill game I have played.

  • Dylan C

    Alan I can totally see where your coming from. Homecoming’s emphasis on action was one of it’s major missteps but there were moments in the game where the best solution was to just run. Particularly the parts where enemies kept respawning (lacklustre design choice me thinks) I think Homecoming’s story resonated with me more than some of the other silent hill’s which says alot as I believe narrative is where silent hill outshines it’s competition ie. Resident evil et al. All silent hill stories are so intricately woven and walk that rare and very fine line between art and video game entertainment. Thanks for commenting!

  • Ron B

    Why would there be anything wrong with playing a game that other people didn’t like? Last I checked playing video games was about having fun, not about what other people thought and following that.

  • Dylan C

    Ron B, of course games are all about having fun, i didn’t say otherwise…I think you missed the whole point of my article… My article was meant to be a celebration of those rare games that are deemed bad by your friends and/or critics but YOU enjoy them despite some minor blemishes… Like I said in the article, one man’s bad game is another man’s good game, thus it sometimes pays to dig a little deeper when looking for a new game… Reviews can be misleading and your friends may hate a game that you may love so they’re advice maybe misleading… The best way to find out if a game is fun is by PLAYING them… So I think gamers should try and keep an open mind with video games rather than dismissing games BEFORE ACTUALLY PLAYING THEM which is something a lot of gamers do… But dude you’re absolutely right – games are first and foremost all about having fun! I feel there’s tonnes of fun games out there that gamers may not ever play because they’ve judged and condemned them before actually playing them…

  • Alex_D

    Games I love that received bad reviews:
    Unreal 2 The Awakening,
    Area 51,
    Blacksite Area 51,
    Gothic 3 (after applying the community pack).
    All of these games rate A++ IMO.

  • Edgarska

    I agree, i loved the first halo.

  • Grenadeh

    You had me until you said Black Ops was good. It blew. Almost as bad as every CoD that has a number after it (CoD 2 was good though).

  • Miguel Marfori

    Hell yeah. I totally go with you dood.
    I play lots of games people either find it hard to play or hard to understand, There’s something about bad games that really rock in so many ways.

    As a friend of mine says, “Dood, you should all kinds of games!”
    That’s why I still play Katamari games. From the first up to the latest (Touch my Katamari).

    Hmmm… you know, I might just start playing some “bad” games too.

    I think there’s also an opposite to it too: Hating good games. I definitely don’t like GTA: Chinatown Wars despite the good reviews it gets.