Bad Games - PAX Prime 2013

Bad Games
PAX Prime 2013

We’ve all played “bad” games, but what truly makes a game “bad?” Is gaming beauty not in the eye of the beholder? Is one’s miserable experience not simply subjective opinion? Is there such a thing as an objectively “bad” game? More importantly, however we define the term, do bad games serve a purpose? Much as how without evil, there can be no good, without the worst of gaming, how could we possibly recognize the best?

It turns out that the problem is not in defining what makes a game “bad,” but in what makes a game a “game.” Some games are great at certain things, but terrible at others. Candyland teaches children colors and counting, but is a terrible candidate for a serious tournament. Dungeons & Dragons is great for that heroic fantasy adventure, but not so much for your future cyberpunk transhumanist court drama. Silver Surfer serves as a lesson (and a warning) to future game designers the world over.

Join us for a lively discussion of the worst of gaming, what that truly means, and what we can learn from “bad” games. You may find that some of the worst games ever made can be some of the most fun you’ve ever had.

Definitions of Game - Orthogame and Idiogame

Excerpted from Beyond Dungeons & Dragons at PAX AUS 2013, we take on the definition of the word "game." Following on from Garfield's "orthogame," we propose "idiogame" for another class of what all fall under the umbrella of "game." If an orthogame is " a competition between two or more players using an agreed-upon set of rules and a method of ranking," then an idiogame is roughly "a series of interesting decisions that produce a personal outcome."

We Chose Optus (Poorly)

In the preshow for Beyond Dungeons & Dragons at PAX Aus, the audience was quick to inform us that our decision to go with Optus for our data plans was... poor.

Judge Anime By Its Cover

Judge Anime by its Cover
Anime Boston 2013

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, but anime is a whole different ball game. What if we reviewed anime SOLELY by their covers? Would these reviews be accurate? If so, why? Anime, moreso than other works in other media, seem "truer" to their marketing material, and it is our hypothesis that one truly can "review" anime to a great degree soley by their covers.

Overheard at Anime Boston

Overheard at Anime Boston

This was overheard in the audience while we were preparing to present Judge Anime by its Cover at Anime Boston 2013. It turns out there is at least one person out there who's tastes are dictated by how obscure something is.

PAX Prime 2012 - A Competitive Test of Skill

PAX Prime 2012: A Competitive Test of Skill

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"A Competitive Test of Skill," the second of these, is a treatment of one particular class of games: competitive games where "skill" determines the victor. But what is skill? How do we determine what "skill(s)" a game is actually testing? What does fairness mean, and can it be measured? This is a deep examination of versus games from a variety of perspectives.

The Penny Arcade Expo is a place where gamers of all stripes come together, and while the competitive ones do pay at least subconscious attention to the idea, most don't really consider what it means to play, and more importantly, to try to win, games. We've lectured on this at previous PAXes (How to Win at Games)!

For more GeekNights lectures, see our Convention Lecture Youtube Playlist!

PAX Prime 2011: Highlights - Spy vs Spy and Sopwith

Rym and Scott of GeekNights (www.frontrowcrew.com) presented "Discover the Forgotten Masters" at PAX Prime 2011. Discussing many largely forgotten games, including Sopwith, Spy vs Spy, Aerobiz, Outlaw, Metal Marines, and more, they consider what can be learned from these lost treasures, both for game players and game designers.

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