Board games, video games, and tabletop role-playing games fall under the loose umbrella term “games.” While not entirely related, there are many overlaps within the notion of play, and each game medium can provide a wide array of experiences.
Additionally, games can often have flaws. No form of entertainment is without its drawbacks, and some games – be they card-based or computer-based – have aspects that potentially ruin the entire experience.
Looking where even great games break down can reveal something about game design and writing. All games contain flaws, whether the weak spot is balancing the first turn of a tabletop game or creating exciting fight mechanics for a Japanese roleplaying game. Some flaws are inherent, while others are imposed by misguided design ideas that didn’t need to be present. However, flaws can be instructive.
10 Skies of Arcadia’s Broken Encounter Rate Is Hard To Overlook
The best role-playing game on the short-lived Sega Dreamcast, OverWorks’ 2000 title Skies of Arcadia tells a story of air pirates against a Spanish-flavored empire. Its bright palette and soaring music created an instant contrast to the muddy colors and synthesized soundscapes of the PlayStation era Final Fantasy games.
However, the game had to deal with a staggering encounter rate. This resulted in frustration with its excessive grind, and player characters often ended up over-leveled for the last few bosses. The game remains charming and well-loved, but its battle system has not aged well, putting a damper on the entire gaming experience.
9 Pokemon TCG Gives A Huge Advantage To Players Who Go First
Based on a popular Nintendo series that needs no introduction, the Pokemon Trading Card Game is easily the most accessible introduction to the hobby. However, its game mechanics give the first person to make a move an incredible advantage.
Pokemon TCG, over the years, has tried multiple mechanics to blunt the advantage of going first. In the current game rules, the first player does not have the ability to play Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums, but barring the second player having the right combination of cards to successfully deploy a “donk,” a first-turn knockout, going first is virtually always better.
8 Sonic The Hedgehog Slows Down In Marble Zone
The Sonic the Hedgehog series is well known and much loved for its fast pace and highly momentum-based gameplay. When Sonic moves at top speed, he can bypass whole sections of some levels or leap high to find hidden secrets.
Sonic’s speed is the key to the series’ popularity, which makes it shocking that in his first outing, after the breakneck thrills of Green Hill Zone, he slows down into a more traditional platforming maze in Marble Zone. It’s Labyrinth Zone, however, which adds the worst horror of the game: Its terrifying Drowning music.
7 Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Tried Too Hard To Level The Playing Field
From its inception to today, one thing consistent with Dungeons & Dragons is that the game favors higher-level magic-users. After a punishingly-hard early game, magic users in D&D are rewarded with godlike powers by the time they reach the apex of the game’s level chart.
The 4th edition of the game sought to level the playing field by defining roles and creating classes that could fill each niche for each style of play. However, fans griped that the new edition was trying to be too much like World of Warcraftand Paizo’s Pathfinder stepped in to fill the undiminished demand for 3rd Edition-style material. Eventually, the Wizards brought it out Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition in 2014 and won fans back.
6 Super Mario Bros. 2 Was Incredibly Hard
Super Mario Bros. 2, the 1987 sequel to the Famicom Disk System, is famous for its extreme difficulty. It was so hard that Nintendo’s famous QA guru, Howard Phillips, called it “undeserved punishment” and demanded a more accessible sequel.
When Super Mario Bros. 2 saw a Western release in 1988, the game Nintendo released was a ROM-hacked port of Doki Doki Panic, a Famicom game made to promote Fuji TV’s Yume Kojo festival. Fans slowly learned that Japan had gotten the “real” Super Mario Bros. 2and in July 1993, Nintendo finally released it in Super Mario All-Stars as Super Mario Bros .: The Lost Levels. Expert Western gamers finally got the chance to test their mettle on the most challenging levels Nintendo’s designers could create.
5 Apples To Apples Is Spoiled By Its Imitators
Apples to Apples, the original game of weird analogies, with art by John Kovalic of Dork Tower fame, is a fine game that is replayable endlessly due to its randomness and the size of its deck. It’s a great card game for all ages and is expandable multiple times over.
However, the immediate response to it, Cards Against Humanity, took the same concept, gave it an 18+ edge, and took the implicit guard rails off. The result is a game that many people find more fun and interesting than the original.
4 Mass Effect 3’s Endings Make The Games Less Important
Mass Effect 3 is an appropriate conclusion to an epic game trilogy. It brought together all the threads of its two sequels’ narratives and tied them into a thrilling third chapter. Moreover, its ever-escalating sense of dread sets a tone for other games to follow.
To ship on time, something had to give. Unfortunately, the multiple endings of the game, which promised to make all of the player’s decisions through the preceding hours of gameplay matter, were criticized as “the same ending, but different colors.” The decision permanently damaged the closing chapter’s reputation, and may have tanked the launch of the fourth game in the series, Mass Effect Andromeda.
3 Monopoly Is A Lesson Without A Resolution
For many people, Hasbro’s famous board game Monopoly is the only board game they play. A justly renowned classic, the game’s simplicity made it an ideal game to teach children old enough to understand turn-taking and money – the mechanics of a board game.
Monopoly was originally designed by Lizzie Magee, a social activist seeking to use board games to educate – as many did at the time – about the dangers of rent-seeking behavior. Adapted by Charles Darrow into a game wholly about buying and selling real estate, the lack of a resolution intended by Magee rendered the game into a slow grind with no clear end.
2 Castlevania II’s Translation Damages The Game Experience
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a side-scrolling action-platforming role-playing game released in 1987 on the Famicom Disk System and in 1988 on the NES. More so than the original Castlevaniawhich was more of a pure platformer, Castlevania II set the basis along with Metroid for what would eventually become the “Metroidvania” subgenre.
Unfortunately, the translation of Simon’s Quest was putrid, even by the day’s standards. Cryptic wording and awkward transliterations of the Japanese text into English resulted in a barely comprehensible game.
1 Duke Nukem 3D’s Crass Humor Can Make It Hard To Stomach
The first two Duke Nukem games were run-and-gun platformers for PC. Duke Nukem 3D is a cornerstone of the first-person shooter genre. It takes the next step beyond the likes of Doom and Hexen and defines the roots of the FPS genre along with those other iD Software offerings.
However, the game’s sense of humor makes it difficult to play today. Transgressive for the time it was released, Duke Nukem 3D hasn’t aged well. Its humor depends on the main character being rewarded for sexist behavior; how players respond to this will essentially control whether or not they enjoy it.
NEXT: 10 Modern Video Games That Have Already Aged Poorly