I often feel like I’m in a vicarious position. On one hand, I’m a gamer. I like the challenge of figuring out puzzles and levels and the sense of accomplishment when I succeed. On the other, I’m a walkthrougher. I need other people to not care about the challenge and only want instant gratification.
I wish that there wasn’t such a heavy demand for walkthroughs. That today’s youth had the patience and intelligence and drive to want to figure things out on their own. Sadly, they don’t. Kids just want the easiest path from A to B, regardless of how stimulating it is. So I might as well give it to them… because if it wasn’t me, it would be someone else.
I don’t feel bad about what I do; not at all. I do, however, feel a bit sad for those who are so dependent on my videos. I guess, ideally, people would only turn to my content after being stuck on a specific spot or level for a certain amount of time and exhausted their mental capacity to try new things. But, I’ll survive and be thankful that I don’t have to do actual work to make a living.
There are many categories of games. There are the obviously good games: creative idea, good graphics, solid content, well polished. There good games that aren’t well received. There are mediocre games that become popular anyway. There are games that are flat out awful… often 13 year olds first touching Flash and following some tutorial. But what I want to know is why developers decide to go ahead and release games that they know aren’t very good (for whatever reason), won’t do well, and likely will do nothing more than put a stain on their name.
Money is clearly not a reason, as games like this either won’t be sponsored or will be sponsored for very, very little and they’ll never get a payout on the in-game ads (ad companies have a minimum amount before they’ll cut you a check). Neither is notoriety or e-fame. I know that if I created something that I knew wasn’t very good, I’d keep it to myself… why do you think I haven’t posted my stick figure drawings or macaroni dioramas?
There are really only a few reasons I can think of to release a bad game (as opposed to keeping it all to yourself, tucked deep in the recesses of your hard drive). The most logical is feedback. A bad game is often the result of an unskilled developer… feedback is a great way to get unbiased information about your game and you as a developer that can help improvement moving forward. Another is the “why the hell not?” mentality. I’m sure some people feel that just because they made it, and there are sites where they can publish it, we all want to experience it… let me assure everyone that this is not the case. Just because I’ve had ants crawling all over my house doesn’t mean I want to eat them. Finally are those few jaded or naive people who actually think their content is good and just don’t understand why nobody else agrees… and we need to take away these people’s computers.
To give you an idea… there are almost 24,000 games on Kongregate. Around 210 of them (less than 1%) have a 4.00 or higher rating. Roughly 1100 are 3.50 or higher. Only 3500 games are even 3.00 or higher. And on the other spectrum, there are over 300 games at 1.75 or lower and about 3500 of the 2.00 or lower variety. Almost 14,000 are 2.50 or lower. So over 20,000 games were released that weren’t even rated as “average” by the masses (we’ll debate whether the Kong userbase is an accurate representation of the masses another time). Why? Why did these thousands of developers feel the need to upload their game in the first place, when they KNEW (or damn well should have) it wouldn’t be good. I wish I knew, because it really doesn’t make sense to me at all.
So Whorli and I want a TON of TV… yet neither of us watch shows when they air. Instead, we download them and watch them either late at night or the next day. We watch some of the same shows, but we also each watch many shows that the other does not.
What’s bothering me is how crappy most of the episodes have been this season for shows that are established. My take on why it’s happening is that these shows have all been around for 4+ seasons, and they’re starting to run out of new and creative material. So they start adding tons of extra filler to drag plot lines out or have mediocre concepts or the directions just aren’t making much sense.
I understand this. If I had to come up with 50 or 100 ideas for 1 TV show that were all above average at a minimum (and amazing at best)… I wouldn’t be able to do it. But that’s why I’m not a writer for a TV show. It’s why I’m not being paid millions of dollars to come up with brilliant material to fill season after season. Of course, you could retort that that isn’t what the networks care about… they just want the episodes to be good enough to keep people watching, keeping ratings high enough to not cancel, and keep ad dollars coming in. Thankfully, it seems that the general TV audience (excluding those who watch reality TV… there’s no hope for those people) is smart enough to recognize the sub-par content they’re being given… ratings on most of the shows in question have dropped this season from last, and from episode to episode. You can view data from Nielsen.
Some of the shows I’m talking about are Heroes, House, all 3 CSIs, 24 (last season), and Weeds… just to name some. On the flip side, shows like HIMYM and South Park continue to be above average at least.
I’m not sure what a solution to this problem is, but maybe some of these shows should take a look at what LOST did, and set a date in the future to end the series. That will give the writers a specific time table to work with and they’ll know exactly how long they need to stretch plots out (or not, ala the ending to Alias) without boring the audience to tears and leave them wondering what the point of that episode was except character A moving from point B to C.