When do game design decisions become "objectively bad"?

Started by the-pi-guy, Oct 26, 2023, 06:28 PM

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Do you ever see someone complain about a game design decision, and you wonder why it's bad? Or at the very least, you know it's not optimal, but it's also not something you consider to be a notable issue, whereas they do?

People have different expectations about difficulty, especially when it comes in different genres. Sometimes difficulty is a reason why a game is bad, and yet it's frequently cited as why people find the Souls games compelling. (Kitler may disagree to some extent).  When does difficulty become "objectively bad"?  

A lot of people cite blood vials as the major flaw with Bloodborne, and yet it's never bothered me. To some extent I've found the complaints a little fascinating, because one time use items are pretty common in the RPG space. Having a set number of potions throughout a game is kind of unusual. The Dark Souls games basically have it set up that way, and it works pretty well. But I don't think that's a common design decision anywhere else.  


I don't think objectively bad design decisions exist unless you define "bad" with an actual metric.

Like take a whole bunch of the pretentious stuff from The Witness. It's objectively bad at getting everyone to understand the game's point, Jonathan Blow didn't expect there to be so much confusion, but for some players it works wonderfully.

Difficulty stuff is even harder because it's often designed to be "bad." Overcoming frustration and anger can feel great.

(recent video saying the same thing)


I don't think objectively bad design decisions exist unless you define "bad" with an actual metric.
I think design decisions that are logically broken somehow could be objectively bad.

But this is my big motivation for the thread.

A lot of "bad" design decisions seem like they're not objectively bad, but rather just people expect those games to be different somehow.
Like that one TLOU review that I saw, that seemed to be complaining that TLOU 1 was a survival game that wasn't about survival. That seems less like the game had some objectively bad design decision and more just the game wasn't what that person expected it to be. And to some extent, it feels flawed to blame a game for being different/ maybe was meant for someone else. 


Ok here's one.

I think the interaction mechanics in Firmament are "objectively bad." When playing in 2D it feels like the game was designed for VR, yet in VR it feels like a game designed for 2D. They somehow made a system that's worse for everyone.


One shot kills/deaths.